IoT must-haves and failures. What do you need to know to create a unique gadget?


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IoT startups pop up every day, along with VR and AI initiatives. If you want to join the fray, you need to learn critical factors that can make or break your idea. What is IoT, and will it bring you success and revenue? Let’s find out together!

Is it too late to make money off IoT?

Internet of Things (IoT) is the network that connects various devices, household appliances, and industrial equipment and allows them to exchange data and cooperate. In 2017 the number of IoT devices exceeded 8.4 billion, and in 2020 this number will reach 30 billion pieces.

IoT gadgets include smartwatches and fitness trackers, smart home sensors, self-driving cars and more. And while many niches are over-saturated, other windows of opportunity become available. So if you create your own app to go with a wearable gadget that will solve the users’ problems, you will enjoy significant profits.

IoT is similar to EdTech industry. Both have attracted the attention of Internet giants and startups in recent years, and they share enormous untapped potential. So if you are not ready to join the IoT race, check out our previous article to find out whether EdTech is the next big thing in IT.

IoT success must-haves

If you wish your IoT startup to be successful, you should:

Create Gadgets That Solve Problems

There are many outlandish IoT devices on the market, from electronic pet toys to Twitter-enabled fridges. However, most of these novelties are soon forgotten as they do not solve real-life problems of their users. Instead of creating something trendy or exotic, concentrate on the needs of your target audience and the ways you can help solve their problems. Practical solutions, like Xiaomi MiHome gadgets or Philips Wake-up Light, are increasingly popular because they address struggles and make lives better.

Leverage Existing Solutions

There is no need to reinvent the wheel or Wi-Fi when you can use what’s already there to shorten your “time-to-market”. Using existing solutions might not be the best long-term strategy, but it is a lifesaver for startups working on MVPs. Instead of cutting down on the functionality until your product is worthless, cooperate with other companies developing complimentary gadgets. It’s a win-win solution, like Libelium offering cloud solutions for IoT, Smart Cities, and machine-to-machine developers.

Prepare For Scaling The Project

Trying to get the product to the market within the tight timeframe and with limited resources, startups often give up scalability. However, when the big break happens, companies struggle to meet the growing demand and fail. Address scalability concerns at an early stage, both regarding hardware and software limitations, and data processing possibilities. This will allow you to increase the profit margin, get actionable analytics and attract more users.

Use Open Industry Standards

To ensure interoperability of the ever-increasing number of IoT gadgets, use open industry standard, like DDS, XMPP, OCF, and others. Instead of locking your products in a proprietary network, allow them to connect and operate freely with other gadgets. Otherwise, you will waste resources on integration efforts further down the road. Even established electronics producers, like Microsoft, Canon, and Samsung joined the Open Connectivity Foundation to ensure their smart devices support interoperability.

Research And Address Compliance Early

Think of the market you are about to enter and the regulations that apply to your product. Which compliances do you need to secure before launch? Federal Communications Commission (FCC), General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and IATA handling labels require careful planning and budgeting. Without compliance, you will face lawsuits and fines.

This is just an overview of several critical elements successful IoT products possess. You can incorporate some of them into your device and complete it with unique and creative features to set it apart from the competition. Just make sure you test these features before introducing them to the final product.

Formulating an idea for an IoT project is easy, seeing it to completion is anything but. Many companies drop out of the race long before the launch and more go bankrupt within the first year after the start of the sales. To ensure success, entrust the IoT programming to professionals. If you are not an app developer and don’t have an in-house team, learn how to choose the right custom software development company.

Throughout their short history IoT devices have often failed, because of several inherent troubles. Avoid these if you wish your project to succeed:

IoT failures you don’t want to repeat

Security Issues

News outlets have been raging about security issues in IoT devices for years now. From dolls and baby monitors to laptop cameras and RFID chips in your passport, most gadgets possess critical security issues that might cause a world of trouble for their owners. Moreover, IoT devices provide a vast network for hackers to launch ransomware or DDoS attacks. To ensure the safety of the code IoT devices rely on, seek advice from cybersecurity specialists and employ advanced safety approaches and protocols.

Lack Of Trust

The latest Facebook scandal proves that people are getting tired of their personal data being used unscrupulously. IoT gadgets provide tons of information that can be used in marketing to target specific audiences and even control their behavior. And while collecting and using this data can secure a substantial profit, users might not be forgiving and loyal after you lose their trust. To prevent this issue, minimize users’ data collection and be honest about the ways you use it.

Cloud Failures

There is no need for a sizeable onboard memory chip when all the data of the IoT device can be stored in the cloud. As a result of global cloud reliance, the takedown of one of the largest cloud providers can cause $50 to $120 billion in damages around the world. And while a cloud problem for an automatic pet-feeder (Petnet) might not be critical, a loss of cloud connection for a security system can lead to burglaries and other crimes. Whichever IoT device you develop, do not rely on a single cloud provider, instead use several services that can ensure a stable connection with no downtime.

National Internet Restrictions

Due to an increasing amount of international cybercrime attacks many governments are ready to implement restrictions to wall-off national networks and protect their citizens from ransomware and viruses. With specific sectors of the Internet cut off, your IoT device can turn into a useless piece of hardware. Consider your potential market at the onset of the project and take national Internet regulations into account to ensure users enjoy uncompromised functionality.

This list of epic IoT fails is not complete. We have chosen the critical factors that cause startups to fail. If you’ve tried your hand at IoT and learned valuable lessons, we will be grateful for your perspective. Add your IoT fails in the comment section to help others avoid similar mistakes.

Proper project management will help you avoid most of these IoT mistakes. We’ve shared our experience as a web development company and described the primary steps of project management in a previous article.

These Internet of Things epic fails, and must-haves should help you start your IoT project and succeed. If you need software development services to make your idea happen, reach out to FreshCode. We’ll be happy to help you develop and launch a successful IoT project.

Alex Slobozhan
Chief Sales Officer at FreshCode. I have been working at IT company for 5 years, organizing a transparent development process of creating new apps and implementation of SaaS, ERP, CRM technologies. With a master's degree in Spanish linguistics, I work in the sphere of international communication, marketing, and business strategy.


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