How to Get Started Building Your IoT Solution Today – Five Tips from Industry Leaders
At Microsoft, we’re committed to helping businesses capitalize on the enormous opportunity that The Internet of Things presents, but since the term “IoT” covers so much terrain, we understand it can be hard to know where to get started.
There are often numerous questions about security, standards, and deployment, and the two big problems we get asked to solve for is: where do you focus your attention when it comes to IoT and where do you start?
At our recent IoT in Action event in San Jose, we spent time talking to IoT experts within Microsoft and at partner companies like Arrow, Avnet, Advantech and … (Rajat can give you some others that were at the event) who are already seeing success with IoT. We asked them for their thoughts on how to get started with an IoT solution.
Here’s what they had to say.
- Understand the platform first
It’s important to know what IoT can and can’t-do for you. Many companies don’t see the true value of investing in IoT because they don’t understand how to stand up a platform to build off and evolve their IoT application
So, choosing a partner that can show you the way their platform works and how it can be integrated into your everyday business process is crucial. Does it need a consulting partner? What devices and machines need to be connected? And what happens to the data once it flows in?
Delve into our IoT site on Microsoft.com to find information, case studies, white papers, and educational videos that will help you understand IoT better and help you make informed decisions on what to do next.
- Know your strength and where you’re going
Every company has a core strength. Find yours and you’ll be able to generate actionable data and learn from it. How do you identify your core strength? Ask yourself what vertical you play in, what type of customers you serve, and what they need that an IoT solution could cater to.
A large number of IoT initiatives don’t have a plan that defines what it’s going to look like in the end, who your audience is, and how you’re going to monetize your IoT platform. You need to decide early if the purpose is for cost savings, new revenue models, or increased customer engagement.
Once again, ask yourself, “What’s my value proposition and what do I bring to the table?” There are a lot of different applications within IoT, so you should be able to articulate your value to your ecosystem partners and be able to find ways that you can turn those elements into a viable solution.
“What vertical do you play in? What experience have you been creating over the years? What types of enterprise or customers do you serve? What are your partner assets?”
“Get started where you have a core strength, a core set of value props that you can deliver.”
- Rodney Clark, VP IoT Sales, Microsoft
- Predict the intent of your customer
The IoT industry leaders we spoke to suggest that winners in IoT will always be those who gather, analyze, and understand customer intent and can predict what they might do next.
For instance, while you can get data and analytics on how many times someone walks into your store by installing an in-store sensor, it’s another thing to interpret that data to get inside the head of the customer to understand why they are there and what they might do next.
The best place to begin before you start to figure out your customers is what your end goal is. It’s not enough to have the latest piece of hardware or software; it’s what you do with it.
- Be very selective in the area of IoT you pursue
There are lots of paths to get you to where you want to go, you just have to figure out a final destination. These range from IoT operating systems that fit your device of choice or large, robust cloud services that give you the bandwidth and security your product or service requires.
Which one serves your needs? Once again, it’s important to partner with the right people, whether it be a gateway provider, a cloud partner, or an integration partner who understands the area you want to pursue.
Once you know your niche, you’ll start to gather the right team to help you excel in your business with the end customer in mind.
“Don’t try to boil the ocean. Be very selective about what you do, and stay focused on connecting with the right partners in the ecosystem.”
Manik Rane, Managing Director, Grail Research.
- Make a commitment and find partners
The best way to commit is to start with a goal in mind: are you going to increase revenue, try to save costs, or engage customers? Then, commit! Once you commit to the enterprise level, you’re ready to find other partners that exist in your ecosystem that is ready to commit to you.
“Decide what you want to do, set up your goals, and then commit to it!’
Tom O’Reilly, GM, IoT Device Experience, Microsoft
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