3 Steps to IoT Deployment

By Michael Lamp

Developing a product has a lot of front-end work. But once it’s on the shelf, it’s usually a matter of marketing generation one and coming up with evolution for generation two. Deploying an IT solution takes some maintenance with patches but usually operating systems have standard certifications an in-house team can deploy when they are pushed out by a manufacturer.
 
With IoT, you almost never deploy and forget. Deployments are never static.

In order to set your IoT deployment up for success, however, you need to start well at the beginning to get your project to a strong conclusion. We break this process down into three steps:
 
Consult
Once you’ve decided whether you are building or buying your IoT infrastructure, you’ll need to consult with the internal or external team running point on the project to map out the exact journey your IoT deployment will take. Ask yourself questions like: What does it need to return in order to afford its cost? What’s possible a roadmap? What do you have that’s ready for an IoT deployment in-house?
 
A good point person will then perform a readiness assessment. An engineer with a brilliant idea versus an entire organization ready to go forward with an implementation are at two different development stages.
 
Here, try to calculate cost, value and ROI. If you need to prove ROI to top brass within an organization, a pilot program could serve as a litmus test for validity of an idea as well as a foundation for a strong business case for the resources you’ll need to turn an IoT dream into a reality.
 
The right executive buy-in buys you the resources, time and support you need to move into the next phase.

Develop
In the develop phase, you should clean up the initial plans created in the consult phase to optimize for performance and cost as well as to find the fastest, most profitable route to market.
 
Here’s where boards get developed, the cloud platform gets built out and the analytics framework is set. It’s also when all the business relevant features are configured from analytics, cognitive services, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Then, you’ll tackle UI/UX of all consumer facing web platforms and applications, the data visualization that might be needed as well as ensuring device management and connectivity is well thought out throughout the life of an IoT deployment.
 
Deploy
Hopefully during the consult phase you also thought about how all the parts of your IoT solution will be deployed. Ensure that either your internal or external partner has the capabilities to install, support and service on premise during the crucial weeks and months of initial implementation.
 
Here’s where forward stocking for backup hardware, technical customer support, and tech support for Wi-Fi or cellular networks, gateways, web interfaces, apps and your new cloud platform all come into play. Make sure you don’t get caught just hiring anyone to install. What if it breaks during the process of installation? What if a critical piece is stolen days before deployment?
 
Security and data privacy plans laid out in the consult phase and created during development also come full circle in deploy. If someone’s hacked a protocol, it’s not as simple as the way an IT patch is distributed (software update, and voila it’s fixed!). Each functionality needs to be enabled and tested for interoperability when things change. How does that new software communicate to the cloud platform? Then how would they communicate to devices?
 
No matter who’s on point, don’t rush through the three steps
Whether this process is done with a homegrown in-house team or by buying an IoT infrastructure that’s customized to your business need, the consult-develop-deploy process is crucial to creating an environment where a new IoT solution can succeed.
 
Wondering what questions to ask to get your deployment started? See what enterprise-level concerns and most common security use cases you need to consider.

Michael Lamp is Director of Americas IoT Business Development at Avnet. Working alongside Avnet’s IoT team, he is focused on assisting customers to create secure and connected products. At Avnet, he strives to make technology relevant to customers; he has held positions in Applications Engineering, Management, and Technical Marketing. Michael’s 20-year career in technology ranges from automation systems to communications infrastructure, as well as experience in computer forensics for E-discovery. Michael holds a degree in Computer Engineering from Boston University.

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