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This article was written by Devin Partida.
The Internet of Things (IoT) can be a hugely beneficial type of technology for your business. However, you must consider several things to increase the project’s chances of paying off for your enterprise. Here are five of them.
1. Your Budget
Setting your budget is crucial to help an IoT project succeed. That’s because you must confirm that the money you are willing or able to spend is sufficient for meeting your goals.
When speaking to sales representatives at IoT companies, get the full breakdown of pricing from them so you don’t experience surprises later. For example, are there monthly fees? How much will your installation cost?
If the expense is a sticking point for you, some businesses help justify the cost by letting customers run trials. Representatives from the IoT company often work alongside clients and show them the most effective ways to make the technology work for them.
Additionally, some companies offer IoT-as-a-service models. That approach charges people clear rates for usage. For example, there may be a set rate per month, then charges per device and the amount of data transferred.
2. How You’ll Use the IoT
Using the IoT for enterprise reasons is becoming a more popular option, and getting the most out of it requires deciding which needs the IoT could meet for your company.
An October 2020 report from Microsoft found that 91% of business decision-makers adopted the IoT during that year. Moreover, 90% of those who made the choice viewed the IoT as critical to their business’s success.
IoT implementation is a long-term decision for those leaders, too, because 64% planned to use the IoT even more two years from now.
Survey participants also mentioned the various reasons they use IoT technology. While 47% cited improved safety and security, another 47% brought up operation optimization. Quality assurance came in at 45%, then employee productivity at 43%. Treat those results as inspiration if you’re still ironing out the best ways to apply the IoT at your company.
3. Which Wireless Standard You Need for Sensors
Connectivity is at the heart of IoT technology. That’s why most products used in the enterprise IoT sector feature sensors that measure data or let machines communicate. Selecting the appropriate wireless standard is a crucial step. For example, Wi-Fi and cellular are examples of traditional standards, while LoRa and Sigfox are emerging options.
Test results on Sigfox sensors included using them up to 13 miles from a tower. However, the sensor range is much shorter in urban environments. Additionally, the NB-IoT and Sigfox standards are among the best options for distributed applications, such as those associated with shipping.
When choosing the sensors themselves, pay attention to specifications for battery life, expected range, and the environmental conditions the devices tolerate before you purchase them.
4. The Implementation and Training Timeframe
Before moving ahead with a planned IoT installation at your business, get an estimate from your technology provider about how long that phase will take. The answer will heavily depend on your business environment and whether you already have the infrastructure to support IoT technology.
For example, trying to retrofit older equipment with IoT sensors may take substantially longer than installing new equipment.
Build time into your schedule to train employees on how to work with the IoT technology, too. You may discover that hiring team members or upskilling current ones must happen to give your company the necessary expertise. Understanding the timing required to get the technology installed and educate people about using it will help avoid disappointment.
5. The Ways to Measure Success
Leaders at your organization must also choose the most appropriate ways to measure success. You’ll use different metrics at each stage of your IoT implementation to see if things are moving in the right direction.
For example, during a trial, do a sensor’s range and sensitivity meet expectations? If you implemented the IoT to reduce machine downtime, do you see a measured decrease in the number of hours or days the equipment is out of commission?
If better productivity is one of your targets, keep in mind that it could take some time to see the maximum payoff. Perhaps the IoT data indicates you need to adjust processes to avoid bottlenecks. In such cases, people usually need ample time to learn new ways of working, even with technology to help them.
Let Thoughtfulness Guide Your Choices
These considerations will raise the likelihood that your company will use the IoT in profitable ways. Besides staying mindful of them, you should think about the specific needs and challenges your company faces now and may experience in the future. Doing that will help you get long-term results with an IoT implementation.