The unprecedented lockdown of millions around the world has created a challenging and shifting environment for businesses. For organisations operating in more technical spaces, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), it might feel like remote working will curtail any project you might have been planning.
Fortunately, this absolutely isn’t the case and while the current environment might impact some activities – such as manufacturing and supply chain – there are plenty of other things that you can be doing. Here are three ways that you can forge ahead with your IoT project from home.
Scrutinise your business case
What is your actual business case? This might appear like an obvious question but it’s very important to address this from the outset as it has big implications on the type of connectivity, power and security hardware you use.
If, for example, you are looking to launch a Point of Sale (POS) device, you’ll need a consistent, high-bandwidth connection and enough power to be able to accommodate the volume of data that it will be sending. After all, POS units – like card machines – are in constant use during key retail hours and store owners can’t afford for them to go down. They also need to be sending data in real time so retailers and coffee chains, for example, can have a live view of sales to make stocking and resourcing decisions accordingly.
This is a world away from smart meter manufacturers, who tend to create devices that send small packets of data infrequently and, accordingly, need a significantly lower power requirement.
As such, there are variety of plug and play solutions to satisfy businesses entering the IoT regardless of where their device sits on the spectrum. This is a useful time to really scrutinise your business case to make sure you’re provisioning it for success.
Create a best-of-breed marketing plan
Once you’ve pinned down your business case, it’s time to start building your marketing plan. Most businesses entering the IoT will have a finite budget for marketing and will likely be entering an already competitive environment. With that in mind, it’s important to get your go-to-market strategy right.
Establishing your audience is a key place to start. As a POS manufacturer, for example, you might be looking to target buyers in big retailers but also small business owners running a handful of coffee shops. It’s worth considering that across the business landscape, you will be looking to appeal to both non-technical executives and/or technically-minded buyers – so it’s important to ensure that any strategy involves engaging and educational content that bridges any knowledge gaps.
For any marketing strategy, it’s also worth being mindful of the wider environment at play. Certain IoT devices have faced their fair share of questions about privacy and security in the past – think Alexa – so it is important to make sure that your strategy nods to any pre-existing concerns in the market. And remember, trust is the most important string to a marketer’s bow.
In terms of how you activate your marketing plan – whether through press, social or more traditional marketing methods – that will depend on your budget, audience and product. Regardless of the medium though, all of your communications should underline your unique value proposition, tell a story and, most importantly, be authentic.
Plan the financials
Another key, but often overlooked element of IoT projects are the costs owed over the lifetime of the device. The current remote working scenario gives business owners and executives a good opportunity to ensure they fully understand the financial commitments of such a project; beyond the upfront manufacturing costs, hardware and connectivity, it’s vital that they get to grips with the associated costs for running the device over its lifetime – including being connected to the Cloud for its entire service life.
While the current environment makes launching an IoT project tricky, there are lots of things you can do now to give it the best chance of success when it does go live.
We’ve also created a video series for new entrants to the IoT space, which give beginners an overview of connectivity, security, how to use existing resources to build your project, as well as a few other key areas. For more information on how to launch your IoT project, check out our IoT Masters series here.