How to Pick the Right IoT Partners

JM Group
11 April 2017
 

"If you disassemble a modern drone, VR headset, or IoT device, you'll find mostly smartphone components."

-Chris Dixon of a16z

Every business and organization, large and small, will be touched by IoT over the coming years whether it’s smart buildings, transportation, logistics, healthcare, retail, manufacturing, finance, energy utilization or something else. Some will be able to make it a major competitive advantage and others will just do what their competitors are doing.

Typically, the need for one or multiple IoT specialized partners comes from one of these three needs:

  • The organization has a problem that could possibly be solved using IoT technology
  • The organization has a bunch of connected devices stemming out of different initiatives that need to be managed and/or data output that is not yet structured
  • The organization is working on an IoT approach/strategy

But with 300+ vendors claiming to have the right “IoT Platform” for your business, where do you begin? How do you pick the right IoT partners?

Here’s a 3-step guide based on our experience:

1. Define the Problem

Too many IoT projects start with a technology or solution being tested and implemented. Just like with any other IT projects, the greatest ROI comes from identifying and solving business problems.

So, start by identifying problems that the business, customers or employees are experiencing and look at how these could be solved with technology. Use tools such as DMI Active (DMI’s methodology based on Design Thinking, Lean UX and Human-Centric Design) if you don’t already have a long list.

Once you’ve identified problems, explore them to really make sure that you understand them before jumping to solution solving. Prioritise the solutions based on factors such as business impact, complexity and cost.

Example:
A pharma company that provides hardware to hospitals for patient treatment wants to better understand how the product is being used (utilization, location, results, etc.). This could give insights to product improvements, maintenance schedules, selling more equipment, training needs and more.

A beverage company finds out through data that they are missing out on 10% of revenue from existing customers due to inventory running out before the weekly delivery. The delivery team says they need to increase the amount of trucks and drivers to solve the problem, which will increase cost substantially. Would it be possible to solve this problem with better utilization of existing trucks and drivers with the help of vehicle tracking and predictive analytics?

2. Test Concepts and Solutions

With a clear problem definition, it’s time to start looking for solutions.

Integrating IoT in a new product will take time. Typically, the roadmap for any hardware combining connectivity is at least 12-18 months and it’s difficult to do anything about this. The challenge is simply the combination of hardware design, software development, building and testing a prototype, and taking the product to mass market production takes time. And at the end of this cycle there’s another 6-12 months’ lead time to make major changes to the product.

We believe that organizations should always attempt to test the concept/solution before embarking on big implementation and integration programs. And if it’s still necessary due to time pressure, then run the proof of concept in parallel as input to the core implementation program.

Some of the 300 IoT platform providers, or one of the additional thousands of sensor and connected device suppliers, will be able to provide you with solutions that can easily be prototyped. Select one or a couple of them to evaluate. Run a proof of concept rather than pilot if possible. The pilot can be integrated into the implementation.

As per previous articles on prototyping, make sure that end-user feedback is integrated every step of the way.

Also, clearly define the success criteria for the proof of concept and final implementation with KPIs that can be used to track progress towards the core objectives every step along the way.

Example:
Let’s go back to the pharma company above. To connect the device itself and integrate sensors will take at least 2 years including development, certification, security auditing and more. The company wants to test if tracking the device usage will really be worth the effort. To start with, they identify 3 different solutions with sensors using sound, motion and electric circuit measurements and does a proof of concept with all 3 in parallel. The proof of concept is implemented and evaluated in less than 2 months and achieves the desired results.

3. Choose the Best Solution Fit for You

Now the problem has been identified and a solution has been prototyped and proven to work.

Now it’s time to answer the question in the title of this article. How to choose a partner that can help implement the solution.

Pick a partner with relevant industry experience for the problem/solution (assuming there is one) to manage risk and minimize time to market. With hundreds of IoT companies in the market, most are specialized in specific verticals or use cases. Put together a list of the top 5-10 companies and select the ones to invite for a RFI or briefing. Make sure to keep the first implementation limited to the top 3-5 use cases really required and no more.

For companies that lack in-house competencies in IoT UX design, integration, development, connected analytics and security, it might be a good idea to pick a partner to help with the end-to-end implementation. This will vastly increase the chance of achieving objectives within the desired timeline.

Finally, launching the solution is only the start of the journey. Once implemented, use the data output, customer feedback and other results to optimize and improve.

Example:
A furniture manufacturer has identified an opportunity to improve time to market by end-to-end tracking of its products from manufacturing to stores. The concept has been proven with an early proof of concept. Now it’s time to choose a scalable solution. A list of the top 5 suppliers of IoT for logistics and supply chain applications is put together including Alien Technology, Cargo Sense, Xerafy, Arviem and maybe DHL as one of the top IoT-powered logistics companies. Cargo Sense is selected based on fit, cost and time to market.

In Conclusion

Always start with the problem, then test the possible solutions and finally work with best of breed partners to implement, evaluate and continue to optimize and improve.

Magnus Jern, Chief Innovation Officer, www.dminc.com

 

BLOG

Focus Your Planning - Tax Year End

With the run-up to the end of the tax year fast approaching, have you taken action to avoid missing out on the valuable tax-saving allowances and opportunities that would otherwise be lost? Below is a ten point tax checklist on valuable relief and exemptions: Ensure you have made use o

10 March 2017

HOW TO PICK THE RIGHT IOT PARTNERS - BY MAGNUS JERN OF DMI

"If you disassemble a modern drone, VR headset, or IoT device, you'll find mostly smartphone components." -Chris Dixon of a16z Every business and organization, large and small,will be touched by IoT over the coming years whether it's smart buildings, transportation, logistics, healthcare, retail,

11 April 2017

Why Work in Recruitment?

What used to be viewed as a less than desirable career option is increasingly becoming the profession of choice, made attractive by its image as a fast-paced people business. In this blog we take a look at why choosing a career in recruitment has become so appealing. Competitive Salary and

22 February 2017

The Countdown has Begun. Are you ready for GDPR?

(GDPR) General Data Protection Regulation will be enforced from May 2018. If you manage Personally Identifiable Information (PII) for EU citizens, this regulation will impact your business. The following infographic, brought to you by Xceed, explores what you need to know about GDPR, including

31 May 2017

Never Accept a Counter Offer - Here's Why!

You have decided to leave your company, having accepted a new position elsewhere.   You hand in your notice to your boss who swiftly offers an attractive pay rise.  Do not be flattered into accepting this offer!  Statistics show that the majority of people who accept such offers

31 March 2017

The Countdown Has Begun. Are You Ready For GDPR?

(GDPR) General Data Protection Regulation will be enforced from May 2018. If you manage Personally Identifiable Information (PII) for EU citizens, this regulation will impact your business. The following infographic, brought to you by Xceed, explores what you need to know about GDPR, including

01 June 2017

The JM Group Overview

Why use The JM Group?  A summary of our offering and an introduction to The JM Group including services offered, sectors covered, functional coverage and client testimonials. 

12 April 2017

Are you progressing to plan with your IT platform implementation?

New core IT platform implementations are complex, challenging and often one-off change events, that your own team have not been through before.  The programme organisation, workstreams and activities involved can be extensive. How do you implement a new IT platform within budget and with min

13 June 2017

Don't make your sourcing strategy the wrongsourcing strategy!

Faced with fundamental IT challenges, including digital transformation, cost reduction, scaling IT capacity and managing operational risk, what do you do about outsourcing and insourcing? Do you make it all or part of your IT Estate? There is an ever increasing number of outsourced projects taki

05 June 2017

The Technology Divide is Growing, Don't Leave People Behind

The Digital Divide (Source:ReadITQuik) The internet has been a great force in creating a more equal society. Today 3.5 billion people have access to the internet in some form. It has democratized information, communication and education, created millions of businesses and touched on and improved

09 May 2017

Don't Make Your Sourcing Strategy The Wrongsourcing Strategy!

Faced with fundamental IT challenges, including digital transformation, cost reduction, scaling IT capacity and managing operational risk, what do you do about outsourcing and insourcing?  Do you make it all or part of your IT Estate? There is an ever increasing number of outsourced projects

05 June 2017

Are you progressing to plan with your IT platform implementation?

New core IT platform implementations are complex, challenging and often one-off change events, that your own team have not been through before. The programme organisation, workstreams and activities involved can be extensive. How do you implement a new IT platform within budget and with minimal

13 June 2017

Specialist Coaching for Executive Stress

Prolonged, excessive stress can cause top talent to suffer from work-related ill health – either operating at reduced capacity far from their potential, or absent from the organisation entirely due to sick-leave. This group of highly-talented, responsible people are less likely to ask for help

31 May 2017

They've taken my idea! It's ruined before it's started!

By Viren Lall, Managing Director of ChangeSchool.org In our teaching at different London universities, we are often asked ‘How do I get an original idea for my business? Every time I check, my latest idea has already been done!’. A fundamental principle of entrepreneurship is that

16 May 2017

They've taken my idea! My business is ruined before it's started!

By Viren Lall, Managing Director of ChangeSchool.org In our teaching at different London universities, we are often asked 'How do I get an original idea for my business?Every time I check, my latest idea has already been done!'. A fundamental principle of entrepreneurship is that everythi

16 May 2017

Tech Trends 2017

From augmented reality to 3D printing, we highlight some of the key tech trends that we think will make a lasting impression in 2017. Blockchain – currently popular within the financial services industry, this technology is rapidly expanding to other areas to verify the integrity of crit

22 March 2017

How to Pick the Right IoT Partners

"If you disassemble a modern drone, VR headset, or IoT device, you'll find mostly smartphone components." -Chris Dixon of a16z Every business and organization, large and small, will be touched by IoT over the coming years whether it’s smart buildings, transportation, logistics, healthca

11 April 2017

Retirement Planning - A Slow Start Can Be Costly

Planning for retirement is just one area in which, with the benefit of hindsight, many people wish they'd taken action earlier. How often in life do we look back and wish we had done things differently? According to a recent study, two in five pensioners regret retirement-planning mistakes

03 May 2017

Executive Stress - A Modern Day Malady by Cathy Harris

"I'm not sleeping, I can't think straight and I feel overwhelmed. And I'm worried that if my colleagues find out how I'm feeling, they'll think I'm incompetent"... Sadly, I commonly hear these complaints in my specialist coach-counselling practice. Not untypically, a corporate manager will arrive

08 March 2017

The Technology Divide is Growing, Don't Leave People Behind - By Magnus Jern

The Digital Divide (Source:ReadITQuik) The internet has been a great force in creating a more equal society. Today 3.5 billion people have access to the internet in some form. It has democratized information, communication and education, created millions of businesses and touched on and improved so

09 May 2017
Top