How to Get Started with Internet of Things (IoT)

The key to launching your first IoT project is to start small.

Internet of Things (IoT) devices are taking the manufacturing world by storm. Back in 2017, at the Industry of Things World conference, we were proud to take the stage along with Dell Technologies and Microsoft to share how Dell Technologies approached their first couple of IoT projects. And that was 2 years ago! Since then, we have continued to help clients launch IoT initiatives.

Talking to clients, we’ve realized that many companies feel overwhelmed by all the options and opportunities that IoT presents. So, we have come up with 5 tips that we believe can help you and your company easily and efficiently get started with an IoT Project.

1. Learn the basics

Blog_7.17.19Before you even start your IoT project, you need to develop a basic understanding on how IoT technology works. Take the time to learn how other businesses use IoT to solve problems and educate yourself enough to ask questions, such as:

  • What are the common use cases for IoT? (e.g. Preventative Maintenance, Asset Tracking, Environmental Monitoring, Remote Monitoring, Compliance Reporting, etc.)
    • Does your IoT project fall under one of these use cases?
  • What are the important technology choices and options that I need to consider?

2. Identify the purpose

Going back to the first question, IoT is incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of ways. There is simply no way you could list all the possible use cases, but there are proven methods that provide continuous, recurring value for the companies that use them. Common, widespread IoT use cases include:

  • Preventive or Predictive Maintenance — You can connect your machines or equipment and receive alerts the minute something starts to go wrong.
  • Asset Tracking — IoT technologies allow companies to monitor their constantly moving assets (like equipment or vehicles) in real time. With increased visibility, they can solve problems before they occur.
  • Environmental Monitoring — IoT sensors can be used for commercial farming, water monitoring, and more. By protecting valuable resources, companies can deliver recurring value for customers and their business.

These IoT capabilities have proven to help businesses increase revenue with their IoT projects. Of course, you must pair these business models with the questions in step one to create an IoT project that delivers continuous, recurring value for you and your customers.

3. Selecting the right IoT solution

Before starting your IoT project, research the best IoT platforms, tools, and applications that could help you successfully implement your IoT product. Selecting the optimal framework is a critical part of an IoT project, and the right platform will be capable of growing with your business and adapting to technological advancements. When examining IoT platforms, these are the types of things you should be examining or looking for:

  • Hardware
  • Device Management
  • Connectivity
  • Method of connectivity
  • Type of service

4. Find an IoT partner

To jumpstart a successful IoT project in your business, you will need to understand how the technology works and what it can do for you. Each industry is best served by a unique set of IoT applications and tools, and a good IoT technical partner, like MCA Connect, will help you determine your needs, define your expectations, and avoid the pitfalls faced by companies that attempt IoT deployment on their own.

5. Starting small is the key to starting an IoT project

So many people envision using IoT for these massive million-dollar MES replacement projects, where the IoT sensor is used to route materials down the assembly line. Getting funding and approval for a project of that scope and scale is going to be very difficult and comes with a lot of risk.

Instead, I would encourage you to find a very small-scale project that has low expense, low risk and high value to the organization. And rather than thinking about IoT in terms of having the device “take action”, think about the data you’d like to collect. How can you use that new information to improve efficiency?

Have you done an IoT project yet? What advice would you share?

If you think your company is ready to implement IoT into your business processes, contact us and one of our IoT experts will be happy to discuss your needs.

Author: Brad Smith, Director, IoT & Analytics

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