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The Joy of Six:
6 steps to a successful IIoT project
Creating even simple IoT systems that deliver results and ROI to your business can seem more whack-a-mole than to-do-list, but following some simple steps from the outset can get you up and running in no time
Setting up and running an IIoT project is an evolving process, largely because there are so many different factors involved — meaning there’s no single step-by-step guide that will work for every IoT initiative — but you can identify some key steps, before you even start to roll out your project.
Here are six crucial tips for getting your IIoT project off the ground:
1. Define the project’s goals
Identify the outcomes you’re looking for, putting them in direct or indirect monetary terms – reduced costs in unplanned downtime, reduced energy costs, increased asset availability, market differentiation (better products, longer life), competitive pressure, our customers need/demand it, etc. (state negative impact). This will help drive the value proposition, which is absolutely essential to gaining executive sponsorship.
Put another way: what do you expect from your IIoT project? It’s easy to get carried away by the potential of this new technology, but if you are clear on the value and you don’t define how and where it’s going to be used, you can waste a lot of time and money wandering through unknown territory.
2. It’s not proof of concept, it’s proof of value
IIoT concepts have been proven over and over, technically most things are now possible, but pilots and initiatives often fail because their aim is to prove technically what can be done, instead of the value that would be created when it IS done.
You would never buy a car without knowing how many miles per gallon it uses or its top speed. So why do we spend so much time and money on digital projects where we don’t know the value it will create? The good news is, tools like Konektio’s AssetMinder® can provide you a proven way to find and deliver value using IIoT technology.
3. Drive efficiency in your ecosystem
When a company decides to embark on an IIoT project, the first step is to engage with the ecosystem. Businesses that do not have the IT/OT skills should find partners and providers that can guide them on the journey. Companies that do have some suitable skills, will have a team of willing and enthusiastic engineers that want to get this done, but probably don’t have the experience needed. Listen to your internal teams but contrast the view with those who have done it before.
IIoT projects are very much about getting the right people in place, so make sure you have enough resources available at all times. You should consider outsourcing some elements of your project if you feel your team is stretched too thin. For example, if you don’t have a lot of experience with MQTT or other messaging protocols, then consider using an MQTT specialist rather than trying to do it yourself (and risking failure).
4. Don’t reinvent the wheel
There are plenty of off-the-shelf solutions available today that can help businesses build their own IIoT solution from scratch, so a good deal of any potential solution already exists. For example, our SaaS product AssetMinder® collates real time asset data and delivers actionable insights – helping you understand your business and make data backed decisions that deliver fast ROI. The market is bursting with sensors, comms hardware and software platforms that deliver IIoT solutions at scale – avoid the temptation to ‘do it all in-house’!
5. Future proof your scale and security
When you think about your IIoT project, you need to consider where it will be in a few years. You might have a proof of concept, or you may already be in production. But how many devices and systems are involved? Do you see yourself at 100 products in the next few months or 1000s of devices in the next few years?
The answer to this question will help determine how much automation you need and what type of technology to use. It will also help determine if you need to hire new people to support your project.
6. Make your solution end-to-end from the start
Finally, after choosing a solution provider and deciding on the best technology for your needs, it’s time to build out your solution end-to-end from the outset; some people start with the hardware (logical, if you have a product to connect) and some start with the software (when the skills are at hand) – but you need to take a holistic approach from the outset, as each element of the final solution is likely to take a similar amount of time to define, build, test and deploy.
These six steps may seem simple, but they could be a great way to kickstart the IoT project that will improve your workflows, empower your teams and deliver value to your business – and bring all your stakeholders on board.
Founder & Chief Innovation Officer
“Data is only really useful if it’s in context, that’s how you turn information into insight”
With many moving parts, a IoT project can seem a very daunting ‘blank page’ when you start planning — but asking key questions about its purpose from the outset can help you break it down into achievable, implementable stages
“IIoT concepts have been proven over and over, technically most things are now possible, but pilots and initiatives often fail because their aim is to prove technically what can be done, instead of the value that would be created when it IS done”
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