The best way to begin implementing an IoT solution is to start small – but what exactly does that mean, and why is it important?
In this post you will learn how to plan your first IoT solution by looking for a simple problem that IoT can solve quickly, and why that ensures success.
How to Start Small
When we say to start small, that means don’t try to create a “big bang” solution. It’s natural to want to solve all your problems at once or make a huge impact on the market. But the driving goal in integrating IoT into your business should always be improving how the business runs. Successful businesses tend to grow gradually over time, and implementing solutions to solve business problems the same way allows the process to mature and evolve over time. So, always begin by defining your desired business outcomes and requirements. You can think big as you consider how this will improve your overall productivity and grow over time, but then start with something simple as the first step.
Find a Simple Problem to Solve
The best way to figure out where to start is to pick a problem to solve. Perhaps you run a manufacturing plant with pools of cooling water, and your pumps are often down or not functioning properly. This can be the problem you want to solve.
In order to do so, you’ll need to ask yourself some problem-solving questions such as, “Do I know how much uptime/downtime my pumps have?” or, “Can I monitor the motor speeds of my pumps?” You can even ask questions such as, “Can I view my data remotely?” Perhaps you have meters on your pumps track their performance, but you need an employee on site at all times to monitor them.
When you focus on one problem, you can define factual questions that will help point to a solution.
A lot of companies get lost at the implementation stage. . While they have identified one problem they wish to solve, they may be unsure of how to begin solving it. Just remember: focus on the simple problem. It’s easy to get confused when , as one problem is related to others, but you will be able to solve those later. Talk with an IoT expert. Ask them to help you parse out the issues and ensure you aren't over-complicating your project.
Ensure you have the best people on the job. Find IoT experts to work with and assign employees that have the desire to improve your operations and who are open to change. A great way to ease everyone into this change is to pick an off-the-shelf solution. There’s no need for custom solutions in IoT when you are first starting out. Custom solutions are expensive and can end up evolving into large-scale projects before any basic implementation. PTC’s Thingworx is a great example of an off-the-shelf solution which is designed with manufacturing in mind. It is user-friendly enough that anyone can use it, from the shop floor to the top floor.
By solving that one simple problem, you’ll have achieved your initial success, and created a model for solving future problems.
Implementing an IoT solution may seem like a huge undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be. If you think big but start small, you can avoid many of the common pitfalls. Focus on how IoT can help the business, and find the right people to help you. Reliable employees who want to grow with the company in combination with experienced experts will ensure you can get your first solution out the door. If you have questions or need advice on how to get started with IoT, feel free to give us a call at 412-923-3002 and one of our experts will be happy to help.