IoT joins AI and blockchain as one of the most exciting technologies of the last twenty years. Add this to the buzz around 5G and it’s looking like IoT is about to experience a surge in practicality and popularity. As a result, more and more companies are rushing their IoT products to market, eager to ride the wave without necessarily putting that much care into their IoT product development. No matter what area of IoT you’re looking at, here are a few general Do’s and Don’ts to guide your product development process.
Don’t: Fixate on cost
Expenses are an important factor in any development scenario, especially as far as managers and stakeholders are concerned, so it’s only natural for it to form part of your decision-making process. However, fixating too much on the cost of your system and optimizing too early can distract you from the actual work of product development and delay construction. Over 50% of IoT projects actually fail at this conceptual stage, according to AVSystem.
Do: Push for prototypes
One way to satisfy cost-conscious management but not sacrifice your development time is to focus on releasing prototypes early on. Developing minimum viable models of your intended products helps you forecast the future of their development much better. A working prototype will tell you what’s easy or difficult to build and how much actual production might cost, plus you can show it to customers for early-stage feedback that can really help your development process.
Oren Ezra of Seebo writes, “Prototypes can be used to test behaviors, software and firmware interactions in advance, that will affect the final smart product. For example, they can help to identify possible conflict areas of the product related to the operation of a microphone, speaker, and location of the Bluetooth antenna.”
Do: Use a platform
IoT platforms give you a head start in building an IoT system, but if you’re serious about your products you will probably need to write your own system software. There’s nothing inherently wrong with IoT platforms, they are great for solving particular problems and giving guidance and a framework for your products.
But, like any off-the-shelf software, they are limited in their broadness. an IoT system that can exist happily on an existing IoT platform is could be too basic and not innovative enough to make waves in the market for some businesses. Writing your own platform allows you to be truly creative with how you set up your IoT system.
If your business is much too busy to develop it’s own platform, make sure you know what you’re looking for in a platform you purchase. Some are scalable, whereas others are more customizable, or secure.
Don’t: Underestimate manufacturing
Often IoT developers get so wrapped up in the intellectual and theoretical part of product design they forget to give proper thought to the actual manufacturing process. Designing and making products that physically work takes trial and error and particular expertise and may require special certifications, all of which often costs time and money. You need to consider manufacturing alongside your development and customer testing stage.
If possible, get into contact with the manufacturers during your product’s development. Ask them about the specifications they recommend for such a product, and whether some features would be feasible.
Do: Use cellular technologies for connectivity
This one is actually a Don’t disguised as a Do: Don’t use Wifi. It’s a simple factor of knowing your audience. While many of your customers will likely expect to be able to connect to your products via WiFi, most companies are not friendly to unknown IoT devices connecting to their networks. As a result, you’re much better off looking at cellular connective technologies like LPWA or LTE-M1, which are low cost and work well with battery-powered devices.
Cellular technologies tend to use less energy, and have already been used for years in the market research shopping scanner devices of companies like Kantar.
Don’t: Assume you know everything
No matter how large your team, no matter how experienced they are, don’t fall into the trap that you don’t have anything to learn. IoT is a complex and ever-evolving field with strands of expertise that spread from marketing to manufacturing and a hundred places in between. In short: it’s very difficult for a team to be consistent IoT experts, and almost impossible for one individual to be. Remember to be humble enough to accept you could learn more. Actively seek out areas you and your team are not confident in and look for training to improve.
However, don’t let this dishearten you. While you may not be experts in IoT, you are all experts on your own company and products. When it comes to development that’s what really matters, both during product creation and marketing. Focus on how your vision and mission are embodied in your products and the details will fall naturally into place.
Akamai Acquired Asavie Provides Mobility, IoT and Cybersecurity Solutions
Akamai revealed on Tuesday that it had acquired Asavie, a company based in Ireland that offers applications for mobility, IoT and cybersecurity.
Asavie has built a tool that supports businesses by positioning assets within private network slices to protect their phones and IoT computers. The organisation claims that to protect networks, it uses machine learning and anomaly detection.
Akamai believes that its purchase of Asavie is part of its 5 G security advancement plan and plans to extend its capacity to protect smartphone and other wireless devices in more and more remote business environments.
Akamai has agreed that the products from Asavie will become part of its product range for Encryption and Personalization Services.
The group announced that it had purchased Asavie in an all-cash transaction that is not supposed to have a material effect on its 2020 financial performance, although it has not announced the exact sum it paid for the Irish company.
Asavie hires over 130 employees, The Irish Times said, and last year the firm posted sales of EUR 23.6 million ($28 million) and pretax income of EUR 1.9 million ($2.2 million).
According to Dr. Tom Leighton, CEO and co-founder of Akamai, “We believe the acquisition of Asavie would help Akamai ‘s carrier partners meet business and mid-market consumer demand for IoT and mobile device protection and management services.” “What’s interesting about the Asavie approach is that it has been shown to be very easy to scale and secure as more IoT devices connect via cellular and 5G.”
A total of 28 organisations have been purchased by Akamai in recent years, including four companies last year. Earlier this year, Instart, a California-based company that offers solutions to enhance application efficiency , customer interface and security, announced the acquisition of clients and intellectual property.
Since 2015, Akamai has posted sales above $2 billion last year and hit almost $3 billion last year.
The Lucrative IoT Opportunity for Communications Service Providers Post COVID-19
As we entered 2020, many Communications Service Providers (CSPs) were optimistic about finally fulfilling the early promise of IoT by harnessing the potential of 5G and Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) to offer a rich source of future growth. Many CSPs understood that to realize this opportunity, they needed to change. Enterprises wanted fuller solutions that would drive their digital transformation faster and that were simple to buy, fast to implement, and simple to consume.
In a recent Analysys Mason study, 59% of enterprise customers would only buy MEC as part of a solution. Solutions require a much fuller set of capabilities that typically come from partners. So, are CSPs successfully managing to offer compelling solutions that accelerate digital transformation for their customers?
The answer: not entirely. Omdia’s quarterly 5G innovation tracker reveals that so far, 32% of enterprises have chosen DIY (to go it alone and build their own 5G solutions), 40% looked to others like systems integrators for solutions, whilst only 21% purchased directly from CSPs. Although it is early days, CSPs must drive this ratio above 50% to make sense of their 5G investments.
The ‘Positive’ Impact of Covid-19
Regardless of Covid-19, the fact that only one in five early enterprise 5G solution deals are CSP-led, proves that the way CSPs want to sell is deeply at odds with the way in which their enterprise and SMB customers want to buy. What’s more concerning is that some of these early large enterprise deals, such as the ones we see in automotive with VW and BMW, cut out CSPs entirely – even for connectivity. Businesses want to buy complete solutions that meet their needs and help them solve business problems, rather than connectivity and separate technology products they need to integrate. This is a multi-billion-dollar opportunity that requires CSPs to collaborate and better understand their customers’ needs, becoming ecosystem-enabled solution providers to satisfy them.
The global pandemic is causing many enterprises to hit the ‘fast-forward’ button on IoT/5G technology solutions. Indeed, 5G investment in China is already recovering because enterprises there recognize the importance of automating processes to guard against a second wave of the pandemic. We expect this trend to unfold globally as Covid-19 makes digitalizing physical assets, automating through industry 4.0, and securing supply chains more relevant than ever.
As Covid-19 resets how enterprises use technology, major verticals including automotive, manufacturing, and logistics will look to rebuild differently. Within this is an opportunity to test the mettle of solutions that harness IoT, 5G, and MEC with AI. In the U.S. for example, 67% of businesses believe that 5G use cases can deliver 11%+ cost reductions over the next three years. Nearly a quarter (23%), believe that 5G use cases could deliver revenue growth of 11% or more. Now is a very good time for CSPs to change their approach to selling 5G and non-5G driven IoT propositions. But are enterprises willing to buy from CSPs?
Enterprise IoT & 5G Market
CSPs are pushing at an ‘open door’: 98% of European, 92% of Asian, and 87% of North American businesses are willing to buy advanced solutions from CSPs. In particular, North American businesses are most positive about the role CSPs will play in 5G, with 96% believing they will do more than provide connectivity. Large North American enterprises say they want to work with CSPs as they can orchestrate ecosystems of partners, manage complex programs, and are perceived to be more flexible than other potential 5G solution providers.
Enterprises, more than CSPs, recognize that building effective IoT solutions is a team sport. They don’t expect one organization to have all of the answers. But they do expect industry players to collaborate to provide solutions to their business challenges. This is where the problem currently sits. Enterprises are looking to buy solutions, CSPs want to sell products – in effect, to organize themselves in a way that best suits how they want to structure their business internally rather than how best to meet customer needs.
Businesses want to find the ‘perfect’ solution to their problem, rather than invent one by integrating multiple products – which is too slow and costly. Instead, they want to buy complete IoT solutions ready to be consumed in a bite-sized way, with no upfront investment and/or risk. It’s not about buying a network slice or MEC product. For businesses, it’s about finding pre-integrated solutions and the best available technologies to quickly drive efficiencies for customers or help them grow revenue as part of their digital transformation. For CSP, it’s about retaining customer relationships and growing revenue.
Even the larger enterprises don’t have the knowledge or capabilities to deal with the integration of new standalone technologies. So, they look to partners that understand their challenges, orchestrate the right ecosystem of technologies and players to deliver solutions that perfectly solve their problems. Covid-19 will only accelerate this trend as it renews pressure to digitally transform faster.
Historically, CSPs have tended not to work in this way. Now, they really need to. One key step is to adopt a more open and collaborative mindset. This includes taking the lead in setting up and managing ecosystems with third-party partners.
Ecosystems are an effective way for CSPs to plug their knowledge and technology gaps, broaden their portfolio of services and solutions, and importantly encourage fresh ideas and new ways of thinking.
For CSPs to monetize IoT throughout the process of enterprise renewal during Covid-19, it will require having industry-specific solutions underpinned by an enabling technology layer that is massively scalable. Strong partner ecosystems will generate powerful network effects around a digital business platform that provides massive economies, frictionless process execution, and zero-touch operation for customers. These architectures and solutions need to be capable of being converted into technology wrappers and services.
IoT Innovation Requires Collaboration
Solving customer problems requires a broader set of perspectives and the exchange of customer insights and ideas for new products or services, as this rarely happens effectively and sustainably in silo. This is the concept behind an ecosystem-enabled solution provider. They bring together a broader set of capabilities around a digital business platform to prototype and test those new ideas with customers. In these new multi-sided business models, a partner ecosystem is key for generating new ideas, bringing new data sources, driving innovation, expanding offerings, and extending into the white space between old industry verticals and growing revenue.
The pandemic we’re experiencing is hastening change. There isn’t a single entity that hasn’t been affected by it. Our global economy is in a holding pattern and budgets are tightening. This laser focus on how to spend carefully will lead both enterprises and SMBs to accelerate investments in automation, remote business operation, and remote working in the short term. While this is process is in motion without a hard timeline, the CSPs that will prevail will be the ones that harness a powerful ecosystem to provide full solutions to problems and in so doing, build much strong and closer customer relationships.
CSPs are poised as ecosystem-enabled solution providers that can foster growth by combining 5G with technology – if they embrace platform-based business models and orchestrate partner ecosystems to satisfy the needs of their enterprise customers. This requires a change in mindset, experimenting with business models, accelerating innovation, and speed to test and monetize new offerings that are co-created with an ecosystem of partners and underpinned by the right IT platform to support these new ways of working.
Consumer Interest in IoT Devices Varies Among Gender, Need
🟥 We’ve all seen a horror movie where a killer finds a conveniently unlocked door, pushes open a window, or breaks a glass windowpane without alerting the unsuspecting residents. Bad news for Michael Myers: developments in smart home technology have made it a little harder for these intruders to break in — in fact, that’s the main draw of this technology for some people who buy them.
🚀 What if, upon hearing a suspicious noise outside, you could tell your phone to lock your doors? Or if you could call the police to your residence simply by shouting the command out loud?
It might make horror movies a little less interesting, but it also makes real people safer. 🔻
A survey conducted by home insurance company Hippo broke down what drives consumer interest in smart home devices, finding varied results among gender and purpose. The survey asked 1,000 smart tech users to share their opinions. ⤵
➤ Women look for safety first; men want convenience ⤵
👉 If life was a horror movie, women might have the upper hand. Survey data showed that women are most interested in purchasing home monitoring systems and technology that will keep them safe. The general consensus was that smart alarm systems are the way to go when shopping for smart home tech.
Men, on the other hand, are more interested in energy-saving technologies that will help lower their utility bills. They’re also looking for technologies that will make their lives easier. When it comes to protection, however, men tend to opt for camera systems.🔻
➤ Overall, convenience is key
More than just scaring away things that go bump in the night, smart home technology has opened up a world of possibilities for people looking to make their lives more convenient. You can unlock your front door with your cell phone, adjust the thermostat without leaving your seat, and ask Alexa for that final recipe step without having to wash off flour-covered hands.
🔺Among homeowners, this added convenience was the biggest driver of smart home excitement — 46% of them said this was why they decided to invest. Also driving smart home tech sales are home monitoring capabilities, 17%; added protection, 16%; and lower utility bills, 16%.👇
➤ Today’s smart homes ⤵
🚩 It’s more common than not for a home to have some sort of IoT device, whether it’s a Google Alexa device or a doorbell with a camera attached. Today’s smart homes have a variety of devices performing a variety of functions. The most common four are the following: 🔽
◆ Smart appliances: Appliances like laundry machines, dishwashers, and refrigerators can be hooked up to a smartphone to alert you when you’re out of milk or let you start preheating the oven before you leave work.
◆ Alarm systems: With a smart alarm system, your phone will let you know any time someone opens or closes a door, a window opens or smoke is detected in your home.
◆ Cameras: Smart cameras can send footage to your phone so you can monitor an outdoor pet’s activity, or make sure no one is snooping around your property.
◆ Smart thermostat: A smart thermostat lets you control the temperature from your smartphone and can let you set the temperature to automatically increase or decrease based on lifestyle patterns or weather.
If it sounds like we’re living in the world of tomorrow, it’s because we are. Smart devices have made life more convenient, safer, and more connected than ever — what once required time and effort can now be done seamlessly from your mobile device.
🔥🚀 With a smart camera that alerts you every time a door or window is opened, good luck to the slasher movie villains of yesteryear.
↘ Source: Emily is a content creator for Hippo. When she’s not typing away at a computer, you can find her hiking with her dog or doing a crossword.
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