3 Key Elements Of Successful IoT Applications
Guest Blog: EBV Elektronik
From wearables over smart meters to Industry 4.0 applications – the IoT consist out of the most diverse and exciting mix of devices yet the success and adoption of any connected device is based on 3 key prerequisites: being smart, secure and connected – everywhere.
Being successful in the IoT requires to be smart in two ways. First and most important the basic idea of the application you are developing needs to be smart. This does not mean that you need to reinvent the smartphone or become a real life Tony Stark – however it means that your product should solve a specific problem better than anyone else can. You can find your niche by identifying problems and needs of small markets, specialised industrial customers as well as groups of people with a specific interest.
In this process it is possible that innovation even means to go back and simplify technology instead of creating something new and complex. A good example is a smartwatch for elderly people. You probably wouldn’t give your grandmother an Apple Watch for a present? It might be to complex, battery lifetime is highly limited and your grannie is probably not on Twitter, Facebook or WhatsApp anyway. For elderly persons the security and convenience of having a nice looking bracelet which they can use to call someone for help, to get an alert when they forgot to turn off the oven and that comes with long battery lifetime might be the perfect fit.
Besides solving a specific problem a smart IoT application requires smart engineering. This means to evaluate the minimum requirements regarding hardware and software for the product and the product lifetime. You will need to find a very fine balanced compromise of technology which is capable of delivering the expected performance while being cost effective enough to be desirable to the end customers.
A common challenge for complex devices like activity trackers is to predict how the software updates will add functionality and new features in the future and based on those predictions if this might justify to implement higher processing power or a more expensive battery pack from the beginning. If you are unsure which hardware platforms to choose in order to create flexible applications and platforms it can be beneficial to consult the experts from EBV Elektronik.
Adequate security is a major challenge. In 2015 some famous hacks for example of a Jeep and the ConnectedDrive of BMW raised concerns if companies are taking security as serious as they should. Let’s be positive and assume they do; there are still many sources for potential threats. In some cases hacks occur by getting access to an application which is connected to a device which is the eventual goal of the hack. In other cases software and firmware are not up to date (which can also be the fault of the user not only the manufacturer), suppliers are hacked or the wrong security technology is chosen.
Sounds like a nightmare? No, with some smart engineering and well-suited crypto hardware most devices, networks and systems can be secured to a certain degree. Yes, we know there is no such thing as a 100% secure system but honestly who would spend thousands of dollars and use expensive equipment to access your activity tracker? On the other hand it might be worth to invest in hacking your door locks – which is why they should and will cost you more than your calories counter.
In conclusion this means you need to invest in security and give it a thought no matter how unimportant or insensitive the data of a connected device might seem. In case of the door lock security is a feature you can use for marketing thus investments can be justified easily. In other cases, for example when developing a smart meter in a traditional metering company with no security engineering experience implementation of crypto technology can be a major challenge. In such a case getting support and advice from experts like EBV Elektronik’s Identification Segment team can help to minimise expenses while implementing state-of-the-art security hardware.
Finally, in order to design a successful IoT device it needs to be connected to the internet. This task might be obvious and seem like the easiest thing to do but taking a deeper look at what connectivity really means in the 21st century it becomes obvious it’s not just taking an existing device and adding the communication hardware. Adding connectivity means to create value. Just because your wearable is connected to your smartphone doesn’t mean it’s going to be a success.
Users are craving a smooth experience. This means the data from e.g. a wearable has not only to be sent to the cloud or your smartphone but also needs to be easy to access and understand. The user experience in the app, cloud, fast data transfer and easy connection process are all part of it.
Connecting a wearable via Bluetooth to a smartphone and adding NFC connectivity which allows users to start synchronisation of the devices by touching them could be a real differentiator.
Whatever connectivity solution you think is best suited for a product you will always need to think of hardware, software, user experience and cloud services in order to get the most out of the internet connection. In many cases it makes sense to work with experts like EBV Elektronik’s RF & Wireless Segment team in order to get access to best in class hardware solutions as well as to an extended third party partner network able to support your products with cloud services and software.
The above is not a guarantee but a prerequisite for success in the IoT segment. This is why EBV Elektronik embraces these key elements in the EBV IoT – Smart, Secure, Connected – Everywhere.
If you want to learn more about how we can create value for you in the future make sure to stop by our booth (stand 49) at the IoT Tech Expo Europe to have a chat with our application engineers, crypto experts and wireless specialists. Further make sure to check out our EBV Maren board which demonstrates both smart connected possibilities with sensors and Sigfox.