How to make an IoT project succeed

“IoT is about people, not technology”. It’s a one-liner often heard, but what does it really mean? At HERO IoT we believe this single sentence makes all the difference between failing and succeeding in an IoT project. In this article we’ll explain why that is and how it is applied in practice.

If we take a look at the Internet of Things applications of today, we see a lot of businesses that are experimenting with IoT technology. The reasoning behind it is often because they see that competitors are also talking about it and are maybe even bragging about how far they are with IoT. While in reality, a lot of these organisations didn’t get further than experimenting and rolling out a proof of concept.

By starting with experimenting with devices, doing some prototyping and rolling out a proof of concept, IoT is approached from a technology perspective. Succeeding in this is not the hardest part as IoT devices are widely available and many require only little engineering to get it to work. But that’s also exactly why this approach ends after the proof of concept stage. To go behind that, a different approach is needed.

The value approach

As with any other system or service you’re implementing within your organization, the question with IoT is what value it will bring and if it fills in the need or solves a problem you have. Let’s look at the example of a company that has a service organization that maintains the machines of its customers. Maintenance is needed when the machine has run for 100 hours, so the organisation decides to remotely monitor the running hours of the machine. It seems like the problem is solved by implementing a device that reports the actual running hours, but let’s dive a little deeper in the process.

In order to plan maintenance, the planner has to be aware of the running hours of the machines. But by only knowing the running hours, the problem is not solved. We can not expect the planner to check the running hours of all machines everyday. What the planner actually needs to see is which machines are due for maintenance and when.

Suddenly not only the actual amount of running hours, but also the running hours at last maintenance and knowing how many hours the machine runs per day are needed to accurately plan the next maintenance. This extra information is called metadata. The metadata allows for the planner to give the measured data context. Only with this context, the system has value for the planner. Without this, having remote monitoring might even have a negative effect: the planner now has another system to watch and check. Instead of adding value, the system is a burden for the planner to do his job. 

What the planner needs is an application that analyzes the data, visualizes it, and shows which assets need his attention. When approaching a project with the end goal in mind, we focus on the added value. After that, the IoT technology specs will follow.

It’s about people

As the saying goes, a man is only as good as his tools. And this is particularly true for IoT. As the example above shows, value is added by looking closely at the planner and his job and analyzing how he can benefit from technology. In the end, organisations revolve around people. Even if we would have all the systems in the world, it’s still the people that control them and run the business. Implementing IoT successfully starts by analyzing the needs rather than experimenting with available technologies. 

Unlock your potential!

After reading this you are probably wondering how the people in your organisation can benefit from IoT. At HERO IoT we have seen several organisations and have successfully implemented multiple IoT solutions. We can help you with exploring the opportunities, making a strategic IoT roadmap, finding the right solution and implementing it within your organisation. Call us or send us a message if you want to learn more!