So you want to create your own Internet of Things project, but got stuck at the very beginning? We are here to give you a helping hand! Follow the guide on how to create an IoT product, and get ready to share your achievements with us later!
IoT is one of the most popular concepts of the last few years in many industries. Retail, healthcare, logistics, and agriculture are just a few to mention. Looking for ways to use the Internet of Things in other businesses? You can learn more about how beneficial IoT can be in this article.
Every business tries to implement the Internet of Things technologies, and the world demands new developments as never before. So let’s not keep it waiting and dive into the process of creating your own IoT solution!
What is the first step when starting your work on a project? Research, research, and even more research. You can never overestimate the value of investigation, as it can save you a ton of time and resources later. So, first of all, you need to know about all the risks development of IoT project can bring.
What are the risks of IoT development?
As 2017 Cisco survey states, ¾ of IoT projects do… and fail. What is the main reason for this? As these companies’ members themselves explain, it is because of underestimating the complexity of creating an IoT product.
If you have a clear vision of the product you want to develop but did not think it through, prepare yourself for disappointments. Skipping the R&D phase does no good for any project. Most of the IoT companies that failed, focused on what final product they want to create, but not on what problems should it solve.
In case you think you have a clear vision of the connected product and don’t want to spend time on research, your chances to succeed are low.
It may sound obvious and self-explanatory, but it actually is a very important issue. According to the Cisco survey, people tend to value IoT but do not trust it due to security reasons. As every IoT product shares a huge amount of data every day, you can never be careless about the security matters. Make sure security is your number one priority, other way get ready to losing customers.
You can learn more about the struggles of developing an IoT project in this article. In it, we describe every step of creating an IoT startup based on our own experience.
Now when you are familiar with the risks that IoT development brings, we can move forward. If you did not change your mind about getting into this, let’s look into the steps to take when creating an IoT product.
1. Learning the basics
If you are a newcomer to the IoT industry, the first thing you need to do is to get a basic knowledge of how IoT works. Take your time to learn the ropes on the real-life examples of how other projects were created. Look at both successful and failed products, as it will let you see you both sides of IoT development.
Ask valuable questions
When you don’t feel yourself a dummy in IoT anymore, it is time to get more specific. Try asking yourself as many business-oriented questions about your product as possible. Such as:
- What specific problem will my product solve?
- What are the common ways to use IoT today?
- Under which category does my project fall?
- Will my business model cover all the recurring expenses on connected devices?
- What technology choices should I consider?
2. Determine your use case
Answering the first question from the list above, you need to look into the way IoT is used today. Are there specific use cases in your industry? Great, take note of everything, and don’t stop analyzing until you are 100% sure what IoT use case suits your idea the best. Internet of Things technologies can be used in a variety of ways, but here are some of the most common ones:
Monitoring the environment
The agricultural industry is one of those that use IoT technologies the most in recent years. No wonder, as environmental monitoring with IoT solutions is here to stay. Just a couple of examples of use:
- A farmer that wants to keep the temperature around the plants on the same level.
- Scientists that investigate hazardous fumes.
- A mother that watches the air quality around her child.
All these examples fall under this category. So, if you go with environmental monitoring, your products might interest a huge variety of businesses and/or customers.
Did you notice how many smart home devices are out there now? The idea of a house that runs everything by itself made smart metering one of the most demanded IoT solutions. Who does not want to track the consumption of energy, or leaks of water, right? As AI gets better with time, smart metering also gets connected with forecasting. In the result, a lot of customers and need for new ideas.
For many automated industries that heavily rely on machines, it has been a game changer. IoT tracks all the equipment and notifies the user when something is wrong. The minute the problem occurs, the customer is able to solve it.
There are many other ways of implementing IoT technologies, we listed only the most essential ones. You can learn about trending use cases in 2019 in this article.
3. Choose an IoT Platform and tools
So now you have learned the basics and found out what use case suits your product the best. Next step — selecting a platform and tools. Once again, try looking at the successful IoT projects: what applications did they use? What platform and tools made their project grow? Be careful when choosing a framework, as it may have a great impact on your whole development process. If the framework was chosen correctly, it will grow along with your business and evolve as the project changes.
When it comes to selecting a perfect IoT platform to fit your needs, these are the things you should consider:
As any IoT product relies on hardware solutions, choosing the right starting pack should be your top priority. Are there any mechanical/electrical parts that can make your life easier? Check if you can find any trusted and certified components/sensors/PCB/etc., so you can start with customizing the starting package, but not from scratch. Will it save you time, resources and effort? Definitely.
Which type of connection does your IoT product require? Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB, or Bluetooth? Will it change with your business growing? Consider these things carefully, as it may have an impact on your product’s outrun.
Does your product provide an end-to-end solution (includes everything: hardware, software, and connectivity), or is it a pure connectivity platform? So, basically, where your use case and business model meet — it’s what your type of service for customers will be.
4. Choose an IoT Hardware
IoT development modules and boards are the most important part of every IoT project, as it is a base of the connected product itself. Since the IoT emerged, the hardware became more complex. When creating a prototype, you may start with the simpler ones, but be ready to shift to more complicated kits, as they will help your project grow.
Does it really matter what development kit to use when prototyping? Short answer: yes, it does. For those who want to know better, let’s dig deeper and see the differences between two of the most popular ones.
|Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized single-board. It displays all the data to a monitor, and you can use standard keyboard and mouse to operate it.||Arduino is a microcontroller motherboard. Basically, it is a simple computer that can run only one program at a time. The biggest plus is that it is very easy to use.|
Can be connected to Bluetooth and the Internet (by Ethernet or Wi-Fi).
|Arduino uses additional shield to connect to Bluetooth and Internet.|
Python, C, C++, Java, Scratch, and Ruby
Area of usage
|Intense calculations, performing multiple tasks.||
Simple and repetitive tasks (e.g. reading environmental data and sending it to social media pages, opening and closing door etc.)
Basically, development kits are simplified versions of mass production modules that are used for prototyping. Most developers use them only for PoC, but if your use case allows, it can also be in the permanent version. If you are not sure which development kit to choose, check this in-detail comparison.
5. Create The Prototype
Here comes the final stage of your development. The truth is that testing your concept in practice will reveal all the good and bad things about the project in general.
The prototype should deliver the value
Think of the prototype as of the core idea of your product brought to life. It should be centered around the benefits it brings the customers, not around the fancy features that can help sell your product. So it is all about building a useful and necessary solution for the users.
The prototype does not need to be production-ready
You have already thought through all the cute little design features your device will have? Well, you’d better keep it for later, as there is no need for such when prototyping. Your hardware should not be all perfect, as well as software should include only the necessary characteristics. Probably after the prototype stage, your plans will change and overall concepts will change also. So why to worry about prototype be production-ready, when it will change later in the development?
Don’t underestimate the importance of software
When prototyping, don’t forget to focus on the software side of your product. The mobile or web application will be an important part of the user experience. Make sure to take your time to keep it simple and easy to understand. Don’t see the software only as of the support of the hardware, but as the first thing, your customer should fall in love with. Of course, you should not spend too much time on the application, but rather try to think of the experience you want your customer to get. Ask yourself what is the main value your product delivers and how it can be presented through the software?
IoT already proved that it is here to stay. So why not to try joining the movement and try bringing your own IoT product to life? Make sure to subscribe to our blog to get even more guides, and get ready to becoming an IoT expert!