Where Do I Start? Building a Commercial IoT Solution

Commercial IoT is Hard

Commercial IoT Dining

The current state of IoT suggests that a new initiative or project will likely go through a lengthy pilot or proof of concept phase. Gartner has indicated that ~80% of PoCs do not make it to production. Why? These IoT initiatives are exceedingly complicated, even for technically advanced teams. The technology is new and successful network architectures newer. Many projects come to resemble science projects more than enterprise IoT initiatives.

A commercial IoT project often begins with the purchasing and sampling of IoT sensors and devices used to collect and send edge data to a gateway, where it is processed and sent to a cloud service. This is a ‘device up’ approach to system design. The Technical Lead for the project purchases a variety of sensors to test and builds a stand-in gateway using a Raspberry Pi or similar.

The robust Raspberry Pi is easy to purchase and a flexible computing device, which can make it appear as though a project is getting off to a good start. From here, however, the project begins to slow as questions arise around scale, security, connectivity, power, support, and other important considerations. The DIY Raspberry Pi gateway runs into common pitfalls and mis-steps. The Pi hardware quickly requires hardware and software add-ons and additional programming and expertise that can be tough to find but required to support a stable PoC.

Avoid Complex Integration

Complicating the PoC situation further, commercial IoT initiatives typically have more than 25 disparate components – from a range of vendors – involved in the complete solution. Each component needs to be selected, negotiated for, purchased, installed, integrated, and maintained securely. The landscape is vast, each component has its own complexities and getting them to interact has proven to be a huge challenge.

Successfully exiting the PoC phase requires a thorough understanding of how the system will scale to production level – a task more complicated than teams anticipate. Based on the team’s PoC experience, the prospect of replicating buildup, installation, deployment and ongoing management hundreds or thousands of times can be understandably daunting. In this situation, the choice of starting point may need to be re-examined.

As you look toward your IoT project it is wise to schedule more time than you think you’ll need for solution research. Start by clearly identifying the business result you are aiming for, and the physical or environmental data required to support that result. When you are ready to start collecting edge data it’s time to start researching hardware options.Try starting from a data-down or cloud-down perspective (instead of device-up) and your choice of sensors will be more narrow from the start (See blog post: Selecting Smart Building Sensors ⟶).

Get Started Faster with Rigado

Here at Rigado we have unique experience helping IoT teams build effective, scalable solutions for commercial and enterprise IoT applications. We help move our customers move efficiently through PoC and into successful full-scale production.

We highly recommend simplifying at least a portion of IoT complexity by choosing a secure, scalable edge data solution like Cascade instead of a DIY approach. Doing so will allow you to focus on your unique IoT applications, rather than wasting time on the ‘heavy lifting’ required to create and support your own edge infrastructure. It will also reduce your time-to-market, risk, and total solution cost while eliminating many hardware and security concerns.

Ready to take the next step? We can help. Connect with our Solutions Team today!

For more information on Raspberry Pi versus a commercial-grade IoT Gateway as your PoC hardware, check out our white paper: Raspberry Pi to Production

You can read more about commercial IoT here.