How IoT Can Be More Practical in 2022
The Internet of Things is an exciting concept, with nearly limitless potential to improve our daily lives through connected technologies. With the amazing impact it continues to have on industries across the globe, IoT is ever-evolving and requires its proponents to constantly be thinking ahead.
As such, it’s no surprise that much of the IoT has been built on the back of exciting innovations and big ideas. Yet with 90% of enterprises hedging their digital transformation plans on the back of IoT solutions, Soracom Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Kenta Yasukawa believes that the future of the discipline is a bit more grounded.
In fact, he has labeled 2022 as “the year of practicality for the IoT.”
A Maturing Industry Learning From Experience
In an article for the Fast Mode, Yasukawa opines that now that IoT has become a proven commodity, developers need to tie their innovative ideas to more results-based thinking. Though big ideas will always have a home in IoT, experienced developers have a better understanding of what does and does not work.
“Some innovators may now be on their second or third IoT project and they have become increasingly savvy about what it takes to deploy an IoT solution successfully,” said the Soracom CTO. “These experienced players enter even early discussions armed with a sophisticated list of questions they might not have asked in early days.”
A 2021 report from Aruba Research found that a remarkable 83% of organizations that have deployed IoT technology noted a significant rise in business efficiency. In his article, Yasukawa outlined three key elements to achieving that kind of success with an IoT deployment.
Go to Market Strategies are Essential
The first point raised by Yasukawa is that development teams need to think more holistically about the challenges in bringing an IoT solution to market. They must learn from previous and ongoing projects how to best streamline their offerings in a way that ensures deliverables in a timely manner.
Yasukawa uses the example of connectivity providers. Once thought of as a “set it and forget it” relationship, experienced developers now better understand the power of these partnerships when goals, means, and capabilities are aligned. As such, price is no longer the prime focus of a well-thought-out IoT project when it comes to connectivity. Questions around API functionality and network security have more weight on these kinds of decisions.
Teams developing IoT solutions should rely upon this education of sorts to better inform every step of their project, all with the goal of market viability at the front of mind.
Connectivity Will Always Be Key in IoT
Of course, any practically minded IoT developer must have connectivity in mind when plotting a future project. The coming years will see connectivity options grow, with Yasukawa identifying comparatively cost-effective low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite options as meaningful expansions to the marketplace.
Yet as he has previously discussed in a blog for ToolBox, Yasukawa notes that future deployments likely won’t rely upon any one connectivity solution. Instead, a blended network of multiple connectivity technologies managed by a single IoT platform will increasingly become the norm among large fleets of devices.
“Companies can continue to use cellular connectivity to cover land while satellites can cover everywhere else,” he writes. “While that sounds like a management nightmare, solutions are now emerging that make it easy to seamlessly transition from one connectivity type to another, blend internet connections within a single IoT network, and manage this process through a single pane of glass.”
Managing Total Cost of Ownership
While these other factors are important to an IoT deployment, it is the total cost of ownership that Yasukawa claims to be most essential. The truly successful companies will be the ones with a more concerted eye on everything from hardware and software development to connectivity and deployment costs.
The question of whether to bring on in-house engineers or rely upon outside vendors is another major cost consideration for companies. While a skilled engineer is certainly a value add in the long term, those skills are certainly not cheap. Deciding if the ability to more easily create custom solutions for tasks like device authentication and provisioning or cloud integration is worth the salary of an individual or team of engineers can be difficult when weighed against the potential profitability of a project.
Other cost factors that will play an important role in the success of IoT solutions include global connectivity costs, lifecycle management, encryption, and device management.
”A poor decision in any of these areas can cause costs to spiral,” said Yasukawa. “Improperly designed systems are difficult to scale and often need to be completely re-architected, potentially doubling or even tripling TCO.”
A Bright Future for IoT
Yasukawa ends the article with a sense of optimism for the future, noting that many innovators are already employing these strategies to great effect.
“This decade has already seen giant leaps forward in understanding the IoT and that is demonstrated through the wide variety of applications and use cases that have emerged,” he writes. “In 2022, IoT innovators will become even more practical about the IoT and continue to grow in their knowledge.”
Check out the full piece on The Fast Mode, here.
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