What’s the Next Step After “Learn and Teach” IoT?
The real “money” in the Internet of Things business is in the IoT projects themselves. There are many organizations that are undergoing digital transformation and embracing IR 4.0 technologies to remain competitive. In which part of the IoT value chain do you want to be? What kind of career can IoT offer you in the future?
There are several key talents required in the IoT value chain. They are:
- Business Development
- Product Manager
- Solutions architect
- IoT developers – hardware (electronics and embedded software) and software (front-end and back-end)
- System integrators
You can either be on the vendor side or the customer side. You can either develop the IoT solutions in-house or totally outsource them. This depends on your IoT strategy, resource and talent.
Strategy – Some organizations want to quickly develop their IoT solutions to solve their pressing issues. Each day can cost them highly if not resolved fast.
Resource – Projects are temporary – thus building them requires a different set of talents. Why the need to allocate project development resources when you can focus on becoming the end-user and just use the IoT solutions to solve the problems.
Talent – Do you need the talent for other IoT projects or they are only used for a temporary period? Do you need to re-train the current employees with new tools and can you afford the time to build an IoT project?
Steps Needed to Build and Deploy an IoT Solution?
There are 3 steps to start building and scaling your IoT project:
- Think Big Start Small – Keep the final vision in mind but break the big projects into smaller phases. Start with a Proof-of-Concept (POC) to get a buy-in from the C-suite. Show them the impact and benefit of the solution. The IoT solution can be a stand-alone system without the need for system integration. This will reduce the cost and time for project development.
- Integrate with Legacy System – In the early phase, ensure the platform is “open” to ensure they have an Open API for integration. A closed or proprietary system will definitely be very costly. A good digital transformation will enable the data to be shared from various systems and platforms. Thus, Open APIs are required in all systems. This phase will help you to get better insights into the future.
- Scale and Transform – When systems are able to share data and are interconnected, data can be easily aggregated from many sources which can then be used for predictive or prescriptive analytics. At this stage, the C-suite will be more convinced to scale the implementation to other sites. The bigger the size of the deployment, the bigger impact it will have on the transformation. Imagine a 5% savings on RM 100 Million annual operations means a RM 5 Million worth of savings.
Tips to Build and Deploy an IoT Project
There are several simple tips that can help to simplify your journey and avoid any costly mistakes.
- Identify Business Case and Stakeholders – A small IoT project might not be able to show the impact and outcome that you required. However, it will assist in identifying how an IoT solution can help to collect the right data and display them to the stakeholders. This process needs to get the stakeholders involved at an early stage to avoid unnecessary change requests.
- Plan to Scale – Survey the area for network coverage and access to power. IoT devices need to be easily managed and deployed. The data need to be easily aggregated into a single database or platform. Probably to be stored in the cloud for easy access. It can be done with the right IoT platform. This will help you to plan for future expansion.
- Identify the Source of Devices – Do you want to build your own IoT devices or purchase from off-the-shelf? How “open” are the devices to connect to other IoT platforms? Take note that some IoT devices/sensors are very “closed” and can only connect to their own Iot platform or server. This need to be avoided if you planned to scale and make your ecosystem “open”. Custom-made IoT devices can be costly and need time to be delivered but you have the advantage of having full control of the source.
- Connect, Aggregate and Develop the Insights and Applications – It’s incomplete if you just collect and visualize the data. You need to create a custom-made application or use some form of machine learning to process the data further. It’s necessary to use the Open APIs of the IoT platform to extract, integrate to third-party servers, and also use the data to create your own IoT application.
- Iterate to Scale – Sometimes the feedback you received during the POC will help you to improve the solution. Most likely, you will need to iterate the process with feedback from the end-users. Get the buy-in and you will have no issue with a bigger deployment.
Systematic Process in Your IoT Journey
We have shared with you two key processes in your IoT journey depending on what kind of career you want to venture into:
- Learn and Teach IoT
- Build and Deploy IoT Projects
The leap towards IR 4.0 requires a new kind of talent for both business and technical. IoT is seen to be the core of IR 4.0 because it’s the starting point for businesses to collect data. Many have said that “Data is the New Currency“. Like any currency, it has a different value – it just depends on whether the currency can create or improve the economy.