In other words, you need a big vision, but you don't want to "bet big." Make small bets to test your thinking. This can involve creating a prototype, a minimally viable product or jointly developing a project with existing customers and partners.
Rossman suggests four methods that can help you articulate your roadmap:
- The future press release. Develop a simple but specific product announcement. This forces you to clarify your vision, Rossman says.
- A FAQ for your IoT plan. Forecast some of the questions you're likely to get about your product and create a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document to answer them.
- A user manual. Develop a preliminary user manual for your IoT device. It should address the end user. If the product includes an API, you should also build a user manual for the developer.
- A project charter. Write a project charter. This is a written project overview that outlines the key facets of the project. It should help you understand the resources you need to undertake the project, what the key milestones are and the schedule.
Part 3. Identify and map your IoT requirements
The last step is to identify and map your IoT requirements — the technical capabilities you need to make your solution a success.
"Companies use many different types of approaches, such as use cases, user stories, process flows, personas, architecture specifications and so on to document their requirements," Rossman writes.
Regardless of the requirements methodology you settle on, Rossman says it's important to answer questions around insights (data and events), analytics and recommendations, performance and environment and operating costs.
For example, under 'insights,' it's important to answer questions like these:
- What problem, event or insight is the end user solving for?
- What insights would be valuable to the customer?
- What recommendation or optimization using the data would be valuable to a customer?
- What data needs to be collected?
Analytics and recommendations questions might include the following:
- How responsive will "adjustments" or optimizations need to be (specify in time range)?
- How complex will the "math" be? Write the math equation or pseudologic code if you can.
- Will notifications, logic, "math," or algorithms be consistent and fixed, or will they need to be configurable, updated and managed?
Performance questions might include these:
- Estimate the amount of data transmitted over a period of time (hour, day).
- What are the consequences of data not being collected?
- What are the consequences of data being collected but not transmitted?
Environment and operating requirements questions might include these:
- What operating conditions will the device and sensor be in? Temperature, moisture, pressure, access and vibration are example conditions.
- What device physical security needs or risks are there?
- Will the IoT device or sensors be embedded within another device, or will they be independent and a primary physical device themselves?
Costs questions might include these:
- What is the cost per device target range?
- What is the cost per device for connectivity target range?
- What is the additional operating cost range the business can support for ongoing operating infrastructure?
"As you build your plans, remember that though IoT can provide key pieces to the puzzle, it's no golden ticket," Rossman writes. "Simply creating an IoT solution will not bring you success. However, if you focus on providing strong value to your customers through new or updated products and services, improving company operations or creating new or more-efficient business models, you'll be much more likely to find success."
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