Every business is unique, and so are the IoT projects that help those businesses thrive. One company wants to automate data collection and reporting. The next seeks to reduce equipment downtime with predictive maintenance. A third needs to cut costs on supply chain monitoring. And manufacturers in all sorts of verticals are ready to add IoT functionality to whole new product lines.
The promise of IoT leads to wide-ranging benefits—which means there’s no one-size-fits-all playbook for IoT success. But every IoT project faces challenges. Estimates for IoT project failure range from 58 percent up to the much-cited 76 percent (which, as we’ve written, is an outdated figure). The one thing everyone seems to agree on is that IoT is hard to deploy successfully—and that’s especially true for cellular IoT systems, which introduce the added factor of mobile network operators (MNOs) into the mix.
Despite the difficulty, IoT is worth the struggle. Connected devices can transform your business, radically cutting costs, boosting productivity, and expanding the value of the products you create. The question isn’t whether you need IoT; it’s how to effectively navigate the path to launch (and beyond). Luckily, the answer is simple: Ask for help. With the right professional services, you can design, deploy, and maintain cellular IoT systems and products that surge far past the competition.
Here are the five key professional services you need for success with any cellular IoT project.
IoT Strategy and Advising
You know where you want IoT to take your business, but it takes deep expertise to figure out how to get there. Start your IoT journey by building your company’s internal knowledge base. Look for advisory service providers with a proven track record of success, and start by attending their webinars and virtual training workshops.
As your IoT IQ grows, the path from concept to execution will become clear—and once you find a match, the consultants who start you down that path can become valued guides to get you past the finish line.
Device Design and Prototyping
Manufacturers need high-level expertise to bring IoT functionality to their products; don’t make the mistake of trying to figure it out as you go. Look for partners with expertise in both hardware and software design. They can help you create intellectual property that’s designed for production from the start.
Of course, controlling costs is essential to manufacturing success. Find a partner who can take you from idea to implementation; one that will help you to design, prototype and build a product that meets your business needs; and one willing to recommend product alterations that limit future spending and keep production timelines to an absolute minimum. The quicker you get a production-ready design, the faster you go to market. Don’t hesitate to ask about timelines during discussions with IoT designers.
With a strategic plan in place—and the right IoT device design—you may think you’re ready to go to market. Not so fast. Cellular IoT devices require extensive behavioral testing to avoid a problematic launch. Find an onboarding partner that can test at least the following IoT elements in real-world scenarios:
- Reliable connectivity. Connectivity testing isn’t just about moving data under the best of circumstances. In the real world, networks go down. Devices disconnect unexpectedly. Test cellular connectivity in both standard and exceptional situations to make sure your system responds accordingly.
- Optimal battery life. It takes a fair amount of power to stay connected to a cellular network—and complex technical factors play into device battery life. Choose an IoT onboarding service that can optimize firmware performance and more during the testing phase. That will cut down on energy requirements, limited battery change-outs for the entire device lifetime.
- Exception handling. On the bench, your device behaves very differently from when it’s in use and out in the field. Operational simulations at the onboarding phase can reveal hidden flaws in hardware and software design, allowing you to fix them well before launch.
MNO Certification and Compliance
Cellular connectivity relies on standard protocols for communication between networks and devices. The global mobile connectivity organization GSMA maintains certain standards; so do MNOs themselves. To ensure cellular IoT success, work towards eUICC and MNO certification for all IoT devices and systems. Look for a specialist IoT partner that can provide certification testing and ensure your devices are compliant with regulatory, industry, and MNO standards.
IoT Deployment Assistance
Launching an IoT system or product line goes way beyond the device, SIM card, and MNO relationships. Find a connectivity management platform that bundles in deployment services like training, reporting, and integration into manufacturing lines.
It’s also important to plan for future flexibility. Choose a partner that can help you manage changes that occur months or years down the line. In short, deployment isn’t a one-time event: It’s an ongoing collaboration between your company, your IoT service partners, MNOs, and, ultimately, your customers. Look for service providers who take this long-term approach to IoT deployment.
It may be challenging to adopt cellular IoT, but with a bit of assistance, you can realize tremendous benefits. These five professional services can knock down the barriers and ensure a successful IoT project that meets just about any business goal. All you have to do is ask.