IoT is a promising future-proof domain expected to reach 50 billion devices globally by 2030. Simplifying daily routines and business operations, IoT is useful in biotech, consumer electronics, smart home, sports tech, agritech, healthcare, automotive, and multiple other industries.
If you have an idea for an IoT device and would like to implement it, but still lack credible information about this domain, read Lemberg Solutions’ guide to the myths and business opportunities in IoT by Olga Lysak, our Head of AI Business Development and representative in Germany.
What is IoT?
IoT is a network of several devices that communicate with each other and deliver data to users over the Internet. IoT devices often use sensors for collecting data about the state of a machine, environment, or person. This technology also enables task automation, ensuring their completion without external intervention.
Lemberg Solutions has a proven track record of helping businesses from all over the world build their IoT products from conception to production. Based on our experience in delivering IoT solutions to 50+ clients, LS knows all the ins and outs of building an IoT device and is ready to dispel all popular myths about IoT.
Which IoT solutions already exist?
Have you ever thought that everything you need has already been invented? We’ve all been there, yet more and more IoT devices keep appearing to simplify our lives in extraordinary ways.
Let’s take a look at some of the existing IoT solutions:
- Smart home
Example: Smart Wi-Fi thermostats
Wi-Fi thermostats make your home even more comfortable by allowing you to control the temperature in your house remotely. We started this project with business analysis of client’s thermostats, considering their performance in terms of UX and UI, cloud connection, and data transfer. Our team rewrote embedded software for the updated Wi-Fi chip we had introduced. LS’ engineers also developed a solution for the legacy device. These changes enable higher Wi-Fi module reliability allowing final users to enjoy a secure and stable connection.
Home-based patient monitoring has never been easier. Our team built an IoT and AI telemedicine platform that enables caregivers to monitor the chronic respiratory diseases of their patients more efficiently. It consists of smart edge devices tracking sounds 24/7 at their homes to detect symptom-related noise.
- Industrial IoT
Predictive maintenance for industrial machines is becoming even more accurate with machine learning and ultrasound technologies. Lemberg Solutions’ client aimed to create a device that would determine when a rolling bearing has to be replaced, based on its condition. Our team developed an ADC prototype using a Raspberry Pi 4, applied the client's algorithm for testing, selected a kit that would process sound within the specified time, and adapted the provided script to diverse single-board computers (SBCs).
- Automotive solutions
With our innovative solution, electric vehicles and devices get safer. LS’ team developed improved State of Charge and State of Health algorithms enabling 96–98% accuracy. Using such sensors as temperature, current, battery chemistry, and capacity, our algorithms ensure correct driving range determination, prolong battery pack lifespan, and reduce the risk of fire incidents.
- Sports tech solutions
Revolution in sports training has already arrived! Our client aimed to create a device providing isotonic, isokinetic, and eccentric training that would enhance muscle definition 50% more efficiently compared to other devices. Starting from developing a 3D model and configuring the motor drive system to converting electrical parameters into information about a user’s performance, LS engineers developed a fully functional device within a strictly limited timeframe.
How to start an IoT project?
- Make sure your idea solves a problem
IoT projects that take customers’ needs as a basis are usually the most successful ones. To make sure your IoT idea addresses customers’ pain points, try to analyze the most relevant challenges of today. Here are just a few of them:
- It’s complicated to create cross-sector value — knowledge and information may not be shared properly
- Remote control of devices is becoming an urgent necessity — smart thermostats, telesurgery, and other innovative areas require development of brand new IoT solutions
- Multiple constraints result in growing social gaps — an aging society, regional depopulation, etc.
- The search for necessary information becomes increasingly difficult — analyzing huge amounts of data is inefficient
- A large amount of physical work is performed by people, creating multiple constraints — human limitations may affect your results
- Hire a reliable team
There are several ways to build an engineering team:
Find local developers on your own
This option would enable you to control the whole process on your own and have direct access to your employees. However, building your team from scratch locally also has several significant drawbacks, as you’ll have to gain insight into the recruitment process; additionally, you’ll have to structure the whole roadmap on your own, while management of your team will take the major part of your work time.
- Find a vendor experienced in implementing complex IoT solutions
By cooperating with a reliable engineering company, you gain access to their unique expertise and acquire a broader perspective on your IoT product development. The vendor will also help you to structure the right tech stack and choose software engineers with appropriate specializations. You will also be able to avoid tricky pitfalls while building your product, as well as delegate management routine so that you can focus on high-level business objectives.
- Attract funding or use your budget
There are two options to finance your IoT product development process: your savings or external investments. You can also combine these by attracting investments at any point of the development procedure — be it the ideation, early-stage development, or commercialization. Among external investment options are venture capitalists, partner financing, angel investors, crowdfunding, grants, and others.
- Develop the architecture of your solution
Your device should be based on the combination of hardware and software components that together constitute an IoT architecture. At its core, architecture is the backbone of your future device and will determine several things: how the hardware part behaves; network configuration procedures; data storage and gathering processes; and the organization and functionality of the whole system.
- Build (and present) an MVP
Developing an MVP helps to validate your idea and check its relevance and consumer demand. At the same time, it enables you to avoid the potential risks and make any necessary corrections before the official release of your IoT device. Your timelines might be strict, so it would be more efficient to cooperate with a tech consulting company, and in this way, you’ll meet your deadlines and receive funding to proceed with full-scale production.
Common myths about Internet of Things
- Product-market fit is inevitable if your product solves one problem
One of the toughest objectives for an entrepreneur is to dig beyond the challenge your potential customers are looking to fulfill and find out how your solution will change their feelings, average day, state, and possessions.
- Marketing and sales teams shouldn’t necessarily work together
In reality, inconsistencies between sales and marketing teams can lead to poor sales results.
- Too complex MVP realization
Becoming familiar with your device should be easy for users, so make sure you don’t overcomplicate the MVP version of your product. This also means you don’t have to fit all the features in the first release.
- The prototype should be costly and built with top-notch materials
If the prototype is quite expensive, the investment costs for mass production might well go beyond the budget limits.
- It’s crucial to attract investments from a global player
You can start small, and throughout your journey, you’ll find investors that fit your type of product and business perfectly. However, this doesn’t mean every prospective investor must necessarily be Miele or Mercedes.
- WiFi is the best connectivity option for your IoT device
WiFi isn’t available everywhere and before choosing the right option for your particular case, try to analyze the following factors: range, bandwidth, and power consumption. Among alternatives are Bluetooth, Mesh networks, LPWAN, Broadband cellular, etc.
Bringing a brand new IoT device to this world is no easy task — you’ll have to think through every detail, starting from articulating your precise idea and proceeding to building and releasing your product for mass production.
If you want to build a successful IoT device and would love to get some expert advice from an experienced engineering and consulting company, don’t hesitate to contact us! We’ll get back to you shortly to discuss your needs and requirements.