The Internet of Things (IoT) has opened the doors to many new business opportunities that would seem like science fiction just a decade or two ago. The ability to embed miniature, network connected sensors and microprocessors into just about anything presents businesses with a myriad of possibilities to better understand and grow their enterprise. Obtaining the maximum value from this new source of business capital may be the difference between being a leader and an also-ran in your company’s industry.
As the IoT continues to grow and the number of endpoints increases, more companies will be looking for ways to make it work to their advantage. Unfortunately, the road to successful IoT projects appears to be littered with cast-offs and spectacular wrecks. In May 2017, Cisco reported that 3/4 of IoT projects failed, with many never getting past the proof of concept phase. A dismal 1/3 of all completed projects were still deemed unsuccessful.
So despite the desire to make use of the Internet of Things to help their businesses the majority of projects fail. Let’s take a look at 5 reasons why this is happening.
Lack of Expertise and Direction
Running into a lack of expertise in a new and growing technological field is to be expected. Unfortunately it can also lead to expensive failures as companies try to put together a strategy and tactical plan from the existing corporate structure. As the field matures and successes are mimicked by other enterprises, this problem will lessen.
A problem that goes hand-in-hand with lack of expertise is operating with less than a clear understanding of the desired goal. Many IoT projects are started and built without a definite business goal in mind. The technology needs to be deployed in a manner that addresses a problem or potential enhancement of your current environment. Ideally, you want to know what you would like to see from your collected data.
Complexity of Cross-Team Integration
Having the ability to gather information from customers, goods, and supply lines leads to a large amount of data that needs to be analyzed. Various internal teams may want to use this data in different ways. Being able to view and organize this data in ways that further the business goals is critical to your IoT project’s success.
The software resources you employ to process your data is key to your success. You want to use software that allows the flexibility of working with your IoT endpoints and creating data views and reports that add value to your enterprise. To this end, companies like Open Automation Software can play a pivotal role in the viability of your project, as it offers the utility and flexibility to manage the complexity of cross-team integration.
Budgetary and Time Constraints
The concept of the Internet of Things crosses boundaries that can exist in the corporate world. While it may seem that the likely candidate to lead the project is your IT department, many other parts of your company may be heavily invested in the project’s outcome. Marketing, finance, and production control are just a few areas that stand to benefit from a successful implementation.
So who is going to pay for this? Budgets need to be well thought out before the project is undertaken. This goes for budgeted human capital as well as the financial aspect. Manpower needs to be adequately provided for all aspects of the venture, and realistic milestones set in order to monitor its progress.
Insufficient Quality of Data
The quality of the decisions that are able to be made with the data collected from the IoT is directly related to that data’s quality. Though a large number of sensors are employed in any IoT project, the quality and accuracy of that data can vary based on the equipment and data storage techniques used.
This ties into the budgetary concerns. As newer and more precise sensors are developed, is your company willing to bankroll the rollout and replace less powerful equipment? Is there adequate staff available to maintain the sensors and keep them in working order? If there is hesitation in answering these questions, then this is another potential failure point for your company’s engagement with the Internet of Things.
Security is at the forefront of everyone’s mind if they are involved in the Internet, the IoT, or computing in the 21st century in general. Those in the IT field have been conditioned to take security seriously and vast amounts of money are spent in attempts to secure computer networks from intrusion. Despite the best efforts of security professionals there are still regular reports of vulnerabilities that have been exploited by hackers.
The Internet of Things has led to incredible growth in the number of network attached devices that need to be secured. The website internetofbusiness.com talks about a number of instances where everyday devices that are connected to the internet were used in security exploits. In one case, known as the Mirai botnet attack, cameras and DVRs were used to bring down the websites of Amazon, Netflix, and PayPal among others. Security flaws in a wi-fi enabled Barbie doll made it susceptible to being turned into a network connected surveillance device.
Security must be a high priority from the planning stages of your IoT project. Your IoT devices are connected to your network and to each other, so if one is breached the potential exists that your whole infrastructure could be at risk. Again tying back to resources considerations, manpower is required to keep all devices up to date with current security patches. Lack of security can spell disaster for not just your project, but your whole enterprise.
Can My IoT Project Be Successful?
By avoiding some of the pitfalls described above, you will give your IoT venture a chance of being successful. Proper planning and understanding of the goals you wish to achieve are key factors in your success. The potential gains in mining the IoT make it worth your while to go about it in the right way.
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Founder Dinis Guarda
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