announcement | iot

How to Launch Your IoT Product

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Ryan Kuo

If you attended some of the IoT conferences including IoT World and IoT DevCon, you probably noticed two things about the IoT playing field. First, it is crowded, with smart connectivity expanding into all kinds of markets. Second, it is diverse, with both startups and big players competing in the growing IoT landscape.

According to an IDC white paper , IoT “can enhance business processes, improve operational and overall business performance, and, more importantly, enable those innovative business models desperately needed to succeed in the digital economy.”

A CIO will be tasked not only with bringing the company into this fast-moving arena of new technologies, but just as crucially, ascertaining how to do so effectively and in a way that differentiates the company from the other players seeking a piece of the IoT zeitgeist. This is a daunting task, even if you have prior experience with IoT!

So how does one launch an IoT solution, from the concept to prototyping to production phase?

Set your sights first

Whether you head up a company of 10 or 100, the arc of a successful IoT launch remains the same.

Gartner identifies five stages of the IoT product development cycle: Requirements, Design, Development, Testing, and Production & Support.

In short, these stages involve:

  • Knowing the scope and requirements of the product,
  • Designing the overall system architecture with this knowledge,
  • Developing the hardware and/or software components,
  • Performing feature tests, unit tests, integration tests, and regression tests,
  • Deploying the product as a functional IoT solution.

To this, we would add: Defining your core IoT proposition.

By knowing exactly where and how your product fits into the growing IoT ecosystem, when given the right platform you’ll be able to take your product to market sooner, and at lower risk and cost. Is your product aimed at the consumer realm of connected appliances, or will it function at the scale of industrial IoT? Do you plan to offer a hardware device for smart homes, a software-only solution for manufacturer automation, perhaps an integration of the two for an interconnected building system? The field is wide open.

Source: IDC Manufacturing Insights, 2017

Once your target is set, successfully launching an IoT product means coordinating team members with varying areas of expertise, from hardware engineers and software developers, to customer support and customer acquisition. As development is underway, your team must ensure that the product adheres to best practices, up-to-date standards, and a wide range of protocols—all of which are subject to change in the rapid IoT climate.

At launch, your product must achieve a meaningful and seamless connection to the other networked devices and applications in the ecosystem. Without broader interoperability, your core proposition won’t be heard for long, if at all.

It’s actually this sort of orchestration of multiple parts and players, with an eye on all things working in harmony, that the Internet of Things aims to perfect. If IoT platforms continue to consolidate, as recent trends show, then the days of creating a complete end-to-end IoT solution from scratch may already be behind us.

Use your platform

SmartThings provides an integral backbone for IoT development. It is designed to easily enable communication between devices, apps, and cloud services. Once you’re freed from building custom, point-to-point integrations for your IoT solutions, you can focus on creating value by defining novel ways to move and utilize data.

Our philosophy is that every player in IoT can and should focus on their core strength, whether it is designing smart devices, creating the software applications that make the devices usable, interfacing with external partners that provide added functionality, or laying out the vision for the company. Designing a product plan, developing a prototype, and launching a public beta should be a fast process, since IoT by definition rewards speed and adaptability.

As IDC reports, 60 percent of manufacturers see IoT as strategic rather than tactical—meaning that while they may not be using IoT to solve specific business challenges, they believe adopting IoT can enhance their current products and services, reduce costs, and improve productivity.

We think you can do one better. It’s easier than ever to enter the fragmented IoT space, which is gradually becoming more open and unified. At the same time, opportunities to make a real contribution to IoT, one that adds new possibilities and produces lasting value, are only growing. Why follow the crowd when you can plot your own course?

Sign up now to learn how SmartThings can help you achieve your IoT vision.