Not leading with business benefits
It is easy to get caught up in perceptions of IoT as being innovation for innovation’s sake – a new kind of technology that you must deploy because – well – everyone else is. But, like any other new technology deployment, IoT implementations use up precious business resource. You need to be very clear from the outset as to what you are hoping to achieve – and what the benefits to your organisation will be, should you be successful. What problems are you hoping to solve? What efficiency are you hoping to drive? What previously untapped information are you hoping to harness? And crucially – how will these goals benefit your organisation?
Setting an unrealistic timeline
For businesses which are totally new to the IoT, it is not uncommon for stakeholders to have no idea how long a typical IoT implementation takes. They might think a series of connected sensors can be deployed and switched on in a week or so. Alternatively, they might think that an IoT implementation is a hugely convoluted process which will dominate the entire year. Neither scenarios are likely to be accurate – and planning for either of them will lead to inaccurate costings and resourcing, and completely unrealistic expectations from business leaders. Get to grips with the timeline of your IoT implementation from early on – speak to professionals and organisations who have worked on similar projects, and cross-reference to get the most accurate estimate possible.
Not accurately forecasting data flow
Any IoT implementation ultimately aims to help the organisation make use of data. It relies, therefore, on capturing data from throughout the context in question, and transmitting it back to an analytics platform of some sort. However, the rate at which a particular IoT deployment is able to do this can vary a great deal, according to factors like network traffic throughput and types, and data storage requirements which change over time. As such, when you are planning your IoT implementation you need to take the numbers from your proof-of-concept and then map them forward at production size and scale, and over a period of months or years.
Not considering device updates and replacements
A typical IoT implementation may involve dozens, hundreds or even thousands of connected sensors. In other words, it dramatically increases the number of endpoint devices on your network. Every one of those devices is likely, at some point, to require replacement parts, security patches or upgrades, or a full-scale replacement. How will you do this? How much will it cost? What are your expected timescales for needing to do this? These are essential questions to ask – and answer – for a truly long-lasting IoT implementation. On a related point, you need to have a strategy in place for future maintenance and development from the outset. Failure to do so could mean you have wildly underestimated the cost of your IoT project.