The Internet of Things (IoT), also sometimes referred to as the Internet of Everything (IoE), consists of all the web-enabled devices that collect, send and act on data they acquire from their surrounding environments using embedded sensors, processors and communication hardware. These devices, often called “connected” or “smart” devices, can sometimes talk to other related devices, a process called machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. This technology allows for a level of real-time information that we’ve never had before. We can monitor our homes and offices remotely to keep them safe and efficient. Businesses can improve processes to increase productivity and reduce material waste and unforeseen downtime. Sensors in city infrastructure can help reduce road congestion and warn us when infrastructure is in danger of crumbling.
However while this may sound simple enough, its proper deployment is anything but that. An IoT deployment is a process. Unless a business undertakes and completes each part of the process, the deployment will be rich with problems as well as data. Around the world, businesses of many sizes are hitting roadblocks because their IoT deployment is delayed, stalled, refused to work as designed, failed to pass regulatory requirements or didn’t deliver the expected results–sometimes all the above.
- Planning- The first step to a good IoT deployment is its planning. This is more about the vision that the management team has in mind about the project than the actual technological aspect of IoT. The management team needs to have a clear grasp of what they and the project have to deliver or the project will be doomed to a premature and unfinished end.
- Designing- After setting business goals, designing a compliant network that will deliver them is the second stage. A thorough network design and specification needs to cover the schematic of the network, the choice of components, their locations and identify any issues that might crop up at any point.
- Certification- Cellular based IoT deployments also require certain certifications and clearances for the network as well as the devices on it. Ensuring devices are approved is vital to get the regulatory and carrier sign-offs that mean your deployment can go live.
- Testing- No deployment can go live without a thorough period of testing. Testing should not just be about the technology. It is important also to check against the original business goals.
When this process is complete you get to the fifth and final stage where an IoT deployment begins a digital transformation, improves operational efficiency, cuts costs, drives revenues and unlocks profitability.