CAUTION: Novice IoT Integrators should take great caution in assuring proper planning & preparations are considered to understand the fundamental design principles of integrating complex wireless-IoT radio technologies prior to blindly jumping into their IoT design project!
I wanted to create a turnkey IoT product development company offering new IoT companies lacking the necessary resources/know-how to develop sophisicated IoT products on their own, a reliable path to the global market place.
Note: Following the “IoT Critical Path Process Workflow" Substantially Minimizes NRE Costs/Risks!
M2M Certified Story
M2M Certified was founded November 12, 2009, initially as a wireless design & certification consultancy agency to assist M2M/IoT device developers/integrators overcome the critical challenges necessary to achieve successful product certifications and global regulatory approvals.
The idea to form M2M Certified came from working first-hand with these same M2M/IoT device developers/integrators at one of the major certification laboratories observing their painful disappointment with nearly a one hundred percent (100%) failure rate during their initial attempt at submitting their products through the official certification process.
Throughout the entirety of my wireless technology career, I took great pride in working directly with customers helping them overcome complex wireless development, technical and operational product/system related functionality problems. However, I very quickly realized this same mindset does not exist within the certification laboratory environment. In-fact, certification laboratories self-interests lay solely on making repeat business, capitalizing on inexperienced novice M2M/IoT developers/integrators failed efforts resulting from improperly designed/tested products.
This certification laboratory mindset/philosophy did not set well with my digestion working in a business atmosphere whose primary objectives were not necessarily to deceive a customer, but not necessarily eager to help them either. Not that this is necessarily their responsibility either, the fact remains that still to this day at the beginning of 2023, the official certification laboratory process is the major bottleneck responsible for a nearly one hundred percent (100%) failure rate of new M2M/IoT devices attempting to enter into the commercial M2M/IoT marketplace on their first attempt.
Thus, early on at the beginning of M2M Certified, I realized aligning with key wireless design partners would be instrumental in helping our customers design a complex wireless M2M/IoT device capable of successfully passing the official certification laboratory process on their first attempt.
Along the way, I also realized a number of other critical skillsets, services and solutions were required to assist new M2M/IoT companies with their entire End-to-End (E2E) business planning, logistics and overall operational execution strategies, sending M2M Certified on a path to develop its own unique Wireless-M2M/IoT supply chain for the future.
Today, M2M Certified possess the resource capabilities to develop largescale industrial size IoT infrastructure projects combining multiple innovative new breakthroughs in IoT technology advancements, supporting public/private 4G/5G cellular connectivity projects, advanced GPS tracking & monitoring applications and renewable/clean energy solutions, just to name a few.
Establishing a Concurrent Engineering (CE) design process is critical when developing wireless-IoT devices to ensure all elements of a product’s life-cycle; from design, functionality, production, assembly, global certification testing, maintenance, environmental impact, and finally disposal and recycling are planned at the very beginning of the design phases.
Planning your design/certification activities concurrently will significantly increase productivity, product quality and will allow you to discover critical design flaws early on, otherwise resulting in costly redesigns and delays from failures encountered during official global certification testing processes.
The Critical Path in a (CE) design process is important to understand, ensuring all the design elements are taken into careful consideration at each step.
CX design is the activity of planning and organizing people, technology, infrastructure, communication and components of a service. In the Critical Path, CX design is adapted to ensure products will be user-friendly and relevant to the customers, while being sustainable and competitive for the IoT business case.
Service and Product development will ensure architecture, technology selection and cost targets will meet requirements by prototyping and using computational models. It is critical to design and validate products to meet operations and mandatory certifications to avoid critical and expensive re-design in a later phase.
Certifications and Regulatory Requirements planning is critical to be started in parallel with Development to keep development cost targets and timely delivery of solution. Depending on design and target markets, required certifications must be completed and mandatory regulations met, before being able to start operations and avoid liabilities.
Designing and controlling the process of production and operations of the IoT Service. Ensuring that business operations are efficient, high quality and effective in terms of meeting business requirements. Supervising production and the provision of service to ensure quality and overall cost of the solution offering.
The following product characteristics have to be taken in to account very carefully in the early planning stage of the product development phase:
Although IoT is a very popular term well-known by many, 74% of companies still fail in their IoT initiatives. (Cisco, 2017)
Despite these alarming numbers, a significant portion of organizations in the Manufacturing, Healthcare, Retail, and Energy sectors see IoT as critical to their overall success. IoT continues to rise in popularity by 90% in 2020 (Microsoft, 2020). Creating successful IoT solutions have become even more critical today than ever before and now the Pandemic is driving one in three organizations to increase investment in IoT, specifically safety and security with efficiency, optimization and productivity dominating the top reasons for adoption to IoT overall.
Research has determined the critical reasons for the challenges and failures companies are encountering in their transition to IoT are the following:
Key Challenges: Technical complexity, lack of budget and skilled resources to implement/manage!
Failures: One third of IoT projects fail at the Proof of concept phase due to the cost of scaling, lack of clear business value/ROI and/or absence of necessary technologies!
There is a clear connection between the challenges with starting and actual reasons why companies fail in IoT
Companies perceive the right resources (human and financial) as their biggest challenge, but lack confidence in their abilities to acquire the necessary skills to create and operate successful IoT solutions. This limits their ability to completely grasp an IoT solution's true potential and restricts their ability to develop fact-based budget estimates. One of the primary root causes of failures in IoT today is the disconnect between business and technology.
Two critical success factors of business IoT solutions and services to facilitate the deployment of successful IoT solutions exist. However, it's still a challenging task, requiring multiple integrations of several complex environments to connect different business processes with technical concepts. Unfortunately, the rampant hype continuously focuses on the new (and expensive) technologies in areas like sensors and wireless-connectivity rather than teaching companies the need to focus on generating value for the business with today's technologies.
IoT requires a new kind of thinking with a holistic approach!
Creating IoT solutions that focus on the customer is crucial to success. Above all else, companies need to establish harmony between understanding the end customer's needs, meeting the business objectives, and tempering their expectations of what technology can achieve. Building an IoT solution for your business should not only impact what technologies your company uses, but it should also affect how your company does business.
Build the right team to get started
Having a team with a holistic experience in business, technology and design is extremely important to bring successful IoT solutions to market! Collaboration between disciplines ensures companies have enough information and perspective to reduce technological complexities and often, the latest technology is not right for the IoT solution. If companies don’t have all the necessary skills in-house, they should partner with companies who can help them deploy IoT to ensure the success of their business.
Implementing the right business tools, processes and methods to foster your team's/stakeholders' abilities to achieve a more collaborative mindset will empower them to work together with greater efficiency to build a better product faster.
Service Design for IoT
Service design in this context is a holistic approach to creating value for the business. It prioritizes the solution first, then considers the processes, tools, teams, and technology to realize the service. Selecting the right methods is foundational. These steps will ensure your success with IoT.
Pinpointing the right technologies to the key areas of your business to mobilize to deliver the planned product or service is fundamental to Service design. After all, you are building more than a product. You are improving the services your business provides. This is a bold undertaking, and relying on qualitative and quantitative research to deliver data-driven insights is the support you need to progress with confidence.
Focus on value generation, not technology
Technology is developing at a furious pace and new technologies are continuously replacing one another. The latest tech comes with much hype and often under-delivers in added value. Rather than prioritizing tech, your organization should consider focusing on the tangible value that your IoT Solution can deliver to your business?
Don’t lose the big picture
IoT solutions are part of your overall business with digital and physical touchpoints. It is not enough just to design a single feature or process no matter how well you think you are doing. You must keep your focus on the overall bigger picture throughout your entire design/development project and treat your IoT solution holistically.
Take small steps and plan all elements of your design phases concurrently - (Rome wasn't built in a day)
With this in mind, your IoT initiatives should develop at the same rate at which your business evolves. Be sure that any short-term solutions align with your long term plans to avoid heading down a path towards failure. By achieving this, you will notice that IoT is serving your current business processes while generating new ways of working and identifying new growth opportunities.
With holistic Service Design, you can innovate and evaluate new growth opportunities based on facts!
There's no reason to approach an IoT project differently than you handle your business. Although, Short-term results are essential to garner support and maintain momentum, in parallel you need to plot out a long-term strategy. Thus, it is critical to take small concrete steps to develop and deploy IoT to help your business today while constantly measuring the impact of your IoT solution with corrective actions that will ensure your success for tomorrow. This long-term approach enables you to plan your investment wisely and will allow you to monitor the overall impact IoT has on your business and how evolving new technologies will keep you competitive.
Like anything new, it takes time for the market to adapt, which is why your services need to be designed with intent and deliberate caution!