If you’re considering developing an Internet of Things (IoT) platform, you’re probably wondering whether you should build it in-house or outsource it to a third party. While both approaches have pros and cons, this article will focus on the technical aspects of developing a complex IoT platform in-house.
First, let’s define what we mean by an IoT platform. An IoT platform is a comprehensive technology stack that includes hardware, firmware, operating systems, data storage, communication channels, cloud resources, edge computing, and backend services. Developing an IoT platform from scratch is a massive undertaking, and it requires a significant investment in hardware, software, and personnel with specialized technical skills. Additionally, ongoing maintenance costs can add up over time.
Pros of Building Your Own IoT Platform
The most significant advantage of building an IoT platform in-house is the ability to customize it fully. If you have a unique IoT product idea that doesn’t exist yet, then building your platform can be an excellent option. You’ll have complete control over the solution, and you can customize it to make it a good fit for your industry and business. Everything from the data collection to the end-user experience is yours to modify, merge, and maintain.
Another advantage of building your own IoT platform is leveraging in-house tech expertise. If your team has the right skills and know-how, from electrical engineering to IoT development to cloud administration, then putting great minds to building something unique can pay dividends.
Lastly, investing in technology R&D is inherently worthwhile. Contributing to open-source projects can help further collective knowledge and improve the world. By building your platform, you’ll have the opportunity to advance state of art in IoT.
Cons of Building Your Own IoT Platform
Building your own IoT platform also comes with several disadvantages. The most significant drawback is the high cost. It’s challenging to build an IoT platform for less than what it would cost to adopt a commercial one. Depending on how much you want to build from scratch, the cost can easily reach the millions before you have a minimum viable product. Additionally, ongoing maintenance costs can add up over time.
The second disadvantage of building your own IoT platform is the time to market. Developing a platform from scratch takes much longer than buying something ready to go or at least something prepared to tweak and adjust. Prototyping, developing, debugging, and troubleshooting always take longer than you think, and it’ll probably be a year or two before your product is ready for manufacturing.
Over that time, your company must shoulder all the costs without seeing any return. You’ll also bear the opportunity cost of devoting time and resources elsewhere.
The final disadvantage of building your own IoT platform is the higher risk. IoT development is a complex process riddled with challenges. Even seasoned IoT developers encounter problems all the time. Building an IoT platform entails risks that range from improper security practices to failed GDPR compliance to misconfigured firmware that leads to bricked IoT devices. Realizing any of these incidents can spell instant disaster for a project.
Conclusion: To Build or Not to Build?
Deciding whether to build an IoT platform in-house ultimately comes down to finances. While there are many benefits to building your platform, they usually don’t justify the high cost. Innovators are crucial in the IoT ecosystem, including engineers who work on the most foundational infrastructure to those who develop the high-level IoT applications with which our users interact. What is clear, however, is that specialization and collaboration are the keys to success, so we want to pick our battles wisely.
If you’re considering developing an IoT platform, consider the technical aspects carefully. Building your platform can be rewarding and worthwhile, but it requires significant resources, expertise, and time. Outsourcing the technological development of your platform to a third party can be a more cost-effective and less risky option, especially if you don’t have the necessary resources or expertise in-house.
When considering whether to build your own IoT platform, carefully weigh the pros and cons. Consider your technical requirements, your budget, and your long-term goals. Building your platform in-house may be the right choice if you have a unique technical vision for your platform and the necessary resources and expertise. However, if you’re looking for a more cost-effective and less risky option, outsourcing the technological development of your platform to a third-party provider may be a better fit.
When choosing a third-party provider, it’s important to consider factors such as their experience, expertise, and reputation in the industry. Look for a provider that has a proven track record of delivering high-quality IoT platforms, and that can work closely with you to tailor their platform to your specific needs.
In conclusion, developing a complex IoT platform in-house with a focus on technical aspects can be a significant undertaking, and it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons carefully. While building your platform can provide a high degree of customization and control, it’s also more expensive and carries a higher risk. Outsourcing the technical development of your platform to a third-party provider can be a more cost-effective and less risky option, especially if you don’t have the necessary resources or expertise in-house. Whichever path you choose, remember that specialization and collaboration are the keys to success in the fast-moving world of IoT.
Related Book Review
Build Your Own IoT Platform: Develop a Flexible and Scalable Internet of Things Platform is a must-read for IoT developers and development teams in small to medium-sized companies. The book provides step-by-step guidance on building an IoT platform that is agile, scalable, and cost-effective. The author highlights the must-haves and nice-to-haves of an IoT platform, focusing on how to make the former. This book emphasizes designing a platform scaled incrementally without disrupting the current work state. It covers the essentials of IoT platform development, including interconnectivity, flexible architecture, and redundant communication. Building your own IoT platform saves costs and provides a satisfying learning experience. Basic to intermediate programming skills are required.