How to prepare for a successful launch of IoT technology
Digital transformation and IoT integration seem to be at the top of most organizations' priority lists, but preparing for a successful implementation can be challenging. Every company has its own operational needs and budgetary constraints, making a one-size-fits-all approach a potentially costly liability. Instead of looking for catch-all IT management solutions, organizations should focus on creating deployment plans that detail each stage of the project's life cycle, from early adoption to ongoing support. Considering roughly 75% of IoT projects fail, according to a survey from Cisco, having a clear vision and comprehensive roadmap is essential to future-proofing business-critical technologies and applications.
Creating an IoT deployment roadmap
The first step to creating a detailed IoT roadmap is to understand the common pitfalls that cause other businesses' implementation projects to stall out or fail. According to the aforementioned Cisco study, the five primary challenges that derail IoT initiatives include:
- Running over budget
- Difficulty securing cross-team integration
- Limited in-house IoT expertise
- Poor data quality
- Uncertain time to completion
Almost all of these issues stem from the planning phase, illustrating just how important it is to nail down the details before rolling out a new fleet of sensors or integrating cloud-based asset management platforms into existing workflows. IT leaders should first determine their budgetary needs, level of internal expertise and the time it will take to install, configure and launch IoT devices. This will provide a valuable baseline that can help benchmark the success of new deployments and identify inefficiencies that could impact project timelines. Depending on the size of the deployment, IT professionals may need to create a new set of policies and controls that are specific to IoT devices.
"A lot of these deployments are early, small and often under the radar of central IT," said Paul Miller, senior analyst at Forrester Research, in an interview with ZDNet. "As they become more mission critical, there will be a very real need to ensure that they do comply with things like data policies, privacy policies and security policies."
Beyond evaluating an organization's current computing and data storage policies, IT administrators must also understand how IoT technologies will be used in real-world contexts. This insight can ensure the deployment is focused on delivering specific capabilities and functionality to end users, rather than a patchwork of unrelated features.
Preparing for an IoT launch
Although every IoT deployment is different, integrating new technologies will always cause some degree of disruption. For example, installing a fleet of IoT sensors in a manufacturing plant may require production to be completely shut down for hours, even days. For knowledge workers, rolling out new platforms can lead to unplanned downtime and dropped productivity, especially if end users have no prior experience with the application. Planning for these oversights is crucial for developing a proactive IoT implementation roadmap and making adjustments to the delivery schedule on the fly.
In a recent Forbes Technology Council post, several industry experts shared their tips and strategies for streamlining the launch of IoT technologies. While these recommendations may not be relevant in every scenario, incorporating professional insights into the planning phase may help keep the project on time and under budget.
- Design agile architecture: Ensuring IoT systems provide accurate, real-time data is crucial to the success of any implementation. While organizations may decide to create rigid networking environments to support their IoT tech, it's recommended that they leave some wiggle room. According to Tom Fisher, senior vice president of business development at SAS, companies should avoid installing hardened architecture "until it's known how much and what types of data need to be brought back from edge devices."
- Integrate IoT monitoring tools and processes: IoT devices are notoriously vulnerable to all sorts of cyber threats, which is why endpoint security is a top concern. To offset these risks, IT administrators must be able to discover new IoT devices added to the network, and monitor them for both availability and performance. As noted by Thomas Caldwell, chief technology officer at Techniche, "some level of cyber hygiene should also be put in place" including CIS-20 controls.
- Treat IoT as an "internet of systems": Although many view items of IoT tech as standalone devices, they are more akin to a network of endpoints than siloed pieces of hardware. An effective IoT environment, therefore, will be able to share data between devices as well as a centralized management platform or data storage facility. As Fay Arjomandi, founder & CEO of mimik technology, Inc. explains, rolling out new IoT capabilities "takes a systematic approach... to enable interactions between these entities, processing of data at the edge and generation of knowledge to the cloud."
No matter how large or small your next IoT project may be, it's important to prepare your networking infrastructure to handle the increased data storage and processing demands. Perle offers industrial-grade connectivity tools that can support your IoT integration at scale. Our LTE routers and gateways can support the deployment of IoT sensors and devices in the harshest conditions.
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