There can be a variety of challenges to overcome when developing and deploying a successful IoT solution. Whether it’s a logistical barrier for your deployment, unforeseen expenses that can impact your total cost of ownership, or locational obstacles that push your connectivity beyond its limits, there is much to consider. Luckily, with some forethought and planning, many of these issues can be navigated before development begins, providing a smoother ride to deployment.
One challenge is deducing whether or not the skillsets needed for end-to-end development can be found in-house. If your objective is to program a device with a sensor that transmits data up to the cloud, where it will be stored or visualized by your cloud-based application of choice, you may need to bring in someone (or perhaps more than one person) with those individual skills if they do not currently exist on your team.
Another obstacle is security. For any IT project, security should be a top priority, and ensuring that your device is secure from any outside access once it is in production is the first step. Most IoT devices are shipped with insufficient security measures, so ensuring that those backdoor options are closed is important. You will also want to protect your data from end to end. Is it being encrypted while being transmitted to the cloud? Are you sending data from a device that has access to the internet, or are you utilizing a VPN to secure that connection? These are important questions to ask yourself before you get too deep in development and need to change course.
Connectivity is another consideration, as once your device has collected the data from your sensor, how will you transmit it to the cloud of your choice? Will it connect via a hardwired connection? Is it close enough to a source to connect with Bluetooth? Is there a readily-available Wi-Fi connection, and if so, are you confident in the security level of that network? Or are none of the above viable options, and a cellular connection is required to send data. Does your device have an on-board SIM slot, or do you need an external dongle to add that connection? If you need to utilize a cellular connection, is the signal strength needed to obtain a connection readily available, or do you need an external antenna? Having the foresight to plan ahead can help avoid future headaches.
Are you designing your application to connect to a particular cloud provider, or are you planning to allow easy integration to multiple cloud providers to increase the scalability of your application? Development with the idea of being cloud agnostic will allow more flexibility when it’s time to choose which provider to use, particularly if the preferred provider presents some unforeseen obstacles.
Of course, your project won’t get far if you don’t consider cost. What is the total cost of ownership of your IoT solution? Keeping in mind the aforementioned obstacles, what is the cost of developing your cloud-based solution? Do you need to hire additional resources, or does your team have the skillset to complete the project end-to-end? What is a reliable and cost-effective way to connect your device? Can that connectivity be utilized everywhere your device will exist? Is making the product in-house the fastest and best way to reach deployment, or are there external resources that have already figured out the best way to do some part of your application?
This is not a comprehensive list of all considerations to take into account before starting your IoT project, and there are many intricacies about each step to consider. However, plotting out your course of action before diving right into development can help alleviate a lot of headaches during the development process. Are there any other additional challenges that anyone is facing within your IoT development?