IoT is not just reserved for everyday products. Internet of Things technology is currently utilized in almost every industry. Curious about the IoT forecast from your industry’s perspective? Then check out our post “How IoT is changing the world”.
However, if you are already sure you want to invest in IoT solutions but are not quite clear on how to tackle the implementation of this technology, this article is definitely for you.
From a technology partner’s point of view, we will walk you through how we approach the end-to-end development of IoT solutions for our clients and what you can expect when working with us.
Whenever IoT technology springs to mind, one may picture a small-sized device that performs pre-programmed integrations with its environment and sends the collected data via a wireless interface to servers connected to the Internet, i.e., the cloud. Advanced analyses of aggregated data are performed in the cloud, which, for instance, allows us to foresee equipment failures or even optimize our training in order to achieve better results.
Here are five technical areas to take into account when designing any IoT product:
The way we can look at it is that each of these blocks is a separate piece of a jigsaw. You can task a partner with implementing just one of them or the full package. All of this hinges on the partner’s competence and technical capabilities. And depending on the path you and the engineers cooperating with you pick, particular stages may be shortened or skipped, e.g., if you decide to use ready-made solutions available on the market.
As for any sort of project, you will need to decide from the get-go about which methodology to run it in. We have found from our experience that in most cases the very best methodology for running IoT projects is Scrum.
Working like this enables successive iterations as business needs and circumstances change to create an innovative product. When a client approaches us with an idea for an IoT product, they tend to hold a vision for their solution, although they don’t have fully-defined needs in terms of the system or even the visual appearance of the device. New ideas also emerge during product development. They are brought to life and beta tested so that the solution can best meet market requirements. Running a project in a methodology other than Scrum, in such a fast-changing environment, would be tricky.
A proven method for gathering your expectations and clarifying project assumptions, which we apply in Solwit, is the Product Design Sprint. The goal of this workshop is to get as much information from you as possible on your vision of the product – be it either a device or a system that you would like to create in collaboration with us. So, this is where the first drafts of the solution are created. It is also a chance to juxtapose your expectations with the current technological possibilities and to determine the stakeholders of the project. You will meet with our business analysts and engineers who facilitate the definition of the precise scope of the product and will be responsible for its implementation.
Now that we know your expectations, it is time for our engineers and architects to get to work on IoT product.
It all starts by drawing up processes for each of the five areas: hardware, software (mobile and/or web application), cloud services (Cloud), and data analytics (Big Data). We make the necessary demos or Proof of Concepts and tests to verify the assumptions and technical solutions developed during the product workshops (Product Design Sprint). Once the concept is created, we then present you with the initial ideas of the solution in question.
A project IoT roadmap and product backlog with individual milestones are created, as well as batch documents for areas with metrics that will be tracked within the project. On top of that, you will be briefed on how any potential risks will be prevented by our team.
This phase, subject to your needs and the results of the work of testers and developers, will be repeated. It is also a good time to revise the budget and modify the architecture plan and project assumptions. So let’s see what’s next on the menu.
At this stage, you will be given updates on the progress of each area of the project and reports on the PoCs being implemented – hardware, software, cloud, or analytics (depending on which piece of the puzzle you hand over to us to complete). Additionally, you and your engineers will be invited to participate in periodic demo and status meetings of each component, so you can have full insight into progress and oversee whether the work on your IoT product is heading as planned. We act transparently so that you have a full overview of the project at all times. Plus you can stay on top of things, as meetings are held regularly throughout the collaboration.
So, what happens next? Well, at this point, the project of creating your IoT product reaches a stage where we can actually physically test it. Arguably, this might be the most significant milestone from your point of view, as this is when new functionalities created by our engineering teams will be passed on to beta testers (only trusted users that you specify). The beta testing process assesses how well the product meets users’ expectations and market needs. Bear in mind that some real gems of external testing can be found in the feedback from actual users. This feedback is then shared with the whole team and, based on it, together with you, the decisions are made regarding the future progress of the solution. This step is also repeated during the design work.
So, this step comes in the final phase of the project and is reached when the IoT product is ready to go live. At this point you get the final versions of all kinds of documentation and, depending on prior agreements, we carry out various types of training for your staff. We support you all the way through production deployment or the transfer of test and development environments to your infrastructure.
Now your ready-to-run IoT product is prepped to hit the market. As with any innovative solution, it may require a new version or maintenance. If you opt to continue working with us, we will put together the right team for you and set new goals.
If you are looking for a technology partner to create a dedicated IoT solution – get in touch with us! You can choose to commission us to build a complete product or just a part of it (concept, software, tests, cloud, or analytical services).