Why “fast launch” is crucial for IoT startups
Timing is everything. Trends are changing in a blink of an eye and a period when your idea could stay relevant is limited. Innovative startups must work hard and make smart decisions to survive on limited budgets because the competition is only getting stronger.
A fast launch is a vital thing for startups; so to deliver your product as quickly and effectively as possible, you need to rely on two main factors: the right people and the right tools.
How do we know that? For 13+ years we have been helping international projects to become successful in their respective industries. Now we want to share our experience and highlight the main things you should consider when launching your IoT solution.
The first crucial thing that sets the tempo, quality, and direction of the development process is picking your way to run things. The choice between remote and in-house teams is not that simple, and sometimes this is a big question for many companies today.
Building an in-house team means that you will have complete control over the management, recruitment, and progress processes. Specialists located in your office will have a detailed and nuanced understanding of your vision, goals, processes and day-to-day operations. But qualified experts could be unavailable in your region or over your budget for the moment. When the main point is launching fast, the time you spend building your office dream team could cost you in the long run.
Here are some tips from Andrew Chen on hiring people for an office team. Andrew is a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm. In the past, he led Rider Growth at Uber, advised and invested in numerous startups, and has been writing for over ten years.
- Hire T-shaped people, not just specialists. That means trying to form your team with experts that are broad in different areas and have one area in which they have specific knowledge. People who are interested only in one particular field could become useless if you change your strategy.
- Try to form a team of doers. That means that they are action-oriented from the start.
- Have at least 10 candidates for every role. That helps you learn to understand who you need for this job and why.
- Try to set up at least a “3-day working interview” with a candidate to see how he will fit your team. Skillset trivia on the basic interview will get you nowhere.
- The intelligence of a candidate is just one trait. His passion for your project, his goals, and motivation are just as important.
On the other hand, the remote team makes the hiring process faster. You will use their work when you need it, and you know how much it costs. If you require some specialized skill quickly (and the situation can change any second), you could easily find the right person for the job. The same goes for necessary hardware and software for a certain goal. The remote team may lack the insight of the in-house team, but the specific expertise to solve challenges is an advantage. When you hire an outsource team, there may be a risk of failing to achieve the release schedule on their side. You are not sure if the person you hire is doing his job, or if this person even exists. The remote team is lacking transparency in management and communication and that could make you worry.
The Right Tools
How to select the perfect IoT platform (Checklist + ShortList)
The second most important thing for the successful launch of your IoT solution is the right set of tools. It will be a good starting point to determine the IoT platform that supports thousands or even millions of connections at the same time and gives you access to control the interaction between devices. Let’s try to figure out what you should consider while finding a perfect platform for your needs:
How do you evaluate the platform’s range of connectivity? Keep in mind not only the current business situation but also future expansions.
Type of Connectivity
What method do you really need? What solution will suit your IoT project needs? The wrong pick between cellular or Wifi may cost you a big price in the future.
Experience on the market
The IoT industry is growing while trends are changing. A vendor who could survive at least five years in a constantly changing environment would be a great choice.
Make sure that the platform supports remote monitoring, asset management, and predictive maintenance – the most common features. If you have to work with different vendors, you will need to spend more money.
The regional coverage of the platform is a great thing to consider. Does it fit your current business needs? What about expansion? May it put some restriction on your global plans?
Sometimes devices could send 1000 messages in a second, and it could cost you a lot of money if you are using cellular. Make sure that you will have the ability to control services, and pause them at any moment.
Privacy and Security Issues
Rigorously check how the platform has handled security issues in the past. It is one of the main things in IoT solutions and vendors should take care of it.
Making it simple
Can the vendor make API access easy for your team? Device diagnostics, firmware updates, and interaction with the cloud shouldn’t create problems for your engineers.
Ease of Data Access
Try to understand how you will integrate data gathered by IoT platforms with your current cloud services and devices. The platform should match your plans for the obtained data.
How can vendors help you make the development process tangible? Does it provide access to domain experts who could clear things up for you?
Understanding the IoT Platform
Find out how an IoT ecosystem operates to know all of the advantages and disadvantages you can expect during the development of your product.
Expansion of the IoT Platform
What are the plans for the expansion of the platform and how can you benefit from it? You should check the platform’s IoT roadmap to seek additional advantages in the future.
“Software only” is bad
Avoid vendors who won’t help you with building hardware devices, if they work only with the software side that may be a big problem.
Will it be easy for you to reach out, manage, monitor, and segment IoT devices that are currently operating? How does the platform provide access to it?
Simple updates and bug fixes
The vendor should make OTA Firmware Updates nice and easy for you. Find out how he addresses this issue.
This short list of IoT platforms will help you complete the journey of picking the best:
- https://www.particle.io – claims to be the only all-in-one IoT platform on the market that contains everything to power IoT platforms on all stages.
- https://www.salesforce.com – is making IoT accessible for everyone taking customer satisfaction to new heights.
- https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/internet-of-things/azure-iot-suite – helps to improve your business by gathering and analyzing data, enhancing productivity, optimizing customer engagement, and creating new income streams.
- https://artik.cloud/ – easily enables devices to communicate with other devices, apps, and cloud services.
- https://cloud.google.com/solutions/iot/ – an intelligent IoT platform that unlocks business insights from your global device network.
- https://www.ibm.com/internet-of-things – leading IoT platform that puts smart to work maximizing the value of your connected assets.
- https://www.ptc.com/en/products/iot – is the IoT end-to-end platform that companies utilize that are serious about industrial innovation.
- https://xively.com/ – as a part of Google Cloud Platform’s product family makes the IoT more nimble, more impactful, and more profitable for your business.
- https://thingspeak.com/ – this IoT platform helps analyze and visualize your data with MATLAB.
- https://www.carriots.com/ – end-to-end IoT platform that helps you drive the digital transformation.
- https://c3iot.ai/ – a software platform for digital enterprise transformation.
How to select perfect development board (IoT hardware requirements for deploying your IoT project)
There is a reason why custom development is essential for IoT project. Devices are built to function in very specific ways and contexts. Every case is unique in its own way. Generic hardware could work at the prototyping stage, but with each iteration, you will focus on developing custom PCB components. During the process of development, you’ll have to consider the following hardware requirements:
Security is the first and foremost thing to consider at all stages of the development process. Even at the prototyping phase, the data from the devices must remain safe. Requirements of the security issues include: securing the ability of each device to encrypt and decrypt data at the set pace, ensure authentication with upstream services, and applications for embedded software development libraries. Also, it is very important is to pick devices that are supporting a secure connection to the IoT network, avoid spoofing thanks to stable authorization control mechanisms and sender identification, and have a built-in function for OTA-updates and security patches.
Ease of development impacts the time you need to launch your IoT device. Keep in mind the importance to have the most detailed, deep, and accessible API documentation, development tools, and support from hardware manufacturers or development communities. Save your time and eliminate frustration by picking easy and quick to program, re-flash, and low touch to deploy devices.
The rate at which a device connects for upstream data transmission influences the amount of data stored. Wired and permanently connected devices that transmit a small number of data to an always available server will need less power for processing and storage, compared to a big amount of data and frequent transmissions. A device that needs to save power and connect rarely would demand bigger space for data storage.
Among wireless connectivity requirements for your network are transmission ranges, volume, and rate. Of course, the ability for a device to reconnect alongside fault-tolerance is also very important.
There are plenty of factors that influence a device’s power requirements like the rate of transmissions and amount of sensors. You must determine whether you make your device wired or equip it with a portable source of power. As far as batteries go, you need to check all possible options. What happens to the device if a battery dies? Do you need a rechargeable battery? How often must you recharge it and how?
Size and appearance are not only physical requirements for a device, but you also need to have in mind shock, vibration, or environmental conditions that might occur. Does a device require a durable case? Does it need to be waterproof?
Costs requirements consist of a few variables including expenses on hardware and components, operating costs, as well as licensing and other fees for device drivers. Off-the-shelf boards and SBCs seems like a good option on the initial stages of development, but custom hardware devices are less expensive in the long run when you need to scale up your network.
How do we know it?
We used these principles building SmartOffice – a white label-ready system for control and analysis over environmental parameters of a workplace equipped with facial recognition controlled access systems and automated room booking. In just seven months our dedicated team delivered a custom product that instantly transformed our working environment. Are you interested in a custom IoT development team, or do you want to discuss how your business could benefit from implementing IoT solutions? Feel free to contact us, and we’ll get back at you. We used these principles building SmartOffice – a white label-ready system for control and analysis over environmental parameters of a workplace equipped with facial recognition controlled access systems and automated room booking. In just seven months our dedicated team delivered a custom product that instantly transformed our working environment.