Building an IoT Product involves several technical and operational parts. A typical IoT Product starts with an IoT Consultants preliminary research. Now when you have decided to develop an IoT product, you should first list down the features that you want to have in your final product and then before even going for IoT Consultancy, you should have a list of questions with you so that the IoT Consulting company or IoT Consultant can prepare a better technical and feasibility reports.
Given below are a few important questions that you should ask your IoT Consultant or IoT Consulting Company before signing a contract for IoT Implementation services:
- What are the IoT consultant’s experience in the industry and your specific type of project?
- How does the consultant plan to collect and analyze data for your project?
- How long will the project take to complete, and what is the expected timeline for each milestone/deliverable?
- What platforms and tools will be used in the project development process, and how experienced is the team using them?
- What are the risks and potential challenges involved in deploying your IoT project, and how will the consultant address them?
- How will you measure success, and what are the key performance indicators (KPIs)?
- How often will you be updated on project progress, and what reporting mechanisms will be put into place to ensure transparency throughout the process?
- How much input will you have on key decisions made during development, and how flexible is the consultant for changes or additions to your original plan?
A quick explanation of each question is discussed in the following pages.
1. What are the IoT consultant’s experiences in the industry and your specific type of project?
Each IoT Product is different, and an IoT Consultant should have adequate knowledge of the industry you are targeting. For example, developing a Smart Home IoT device require knowledge of smart home technologies like communication protocols, hardware gateways, network architecture etc., while a Smart Outdoor Environment monitoring sensor node requires knowledge of low-powered devices design experience, manufacturing experience for outdoor devices and an understanding of how EMI(Electromagnetic interference) can affect the device operation. You should always ask an IoT Consultant whether they have done projects in the industry you are targeting or not.
2. How does the consultant plan to collect and analyze data for your project?
This is a very important step. The IoT Consultant or an IoT Consultancy Company first understands your requirements, collects the related data, reads about similar products already available in the market, and then starts documenting their research. This is often called a Preliminary Research Report, which covers many aspects of the projects, including technical and operation details. Your IoT Consultant should share a plan of how they will collect and analyse the data and what sources they will be using.
3. How long will the project take to complete?
The IoT Consultant should divide the project into multiple milestones and assign a timeline for each milestone. You should always ask for a detailed timeline for each milestone and the unexpected roadblock delays that might occur during those milestones. Unexpected roadblocks could arise in the hardware design and manufacturing process when you have to source the components from different vendors, while in software, the unexpected roadblock that might delay the project could be the migration of the development environment from one production server to another due to server malfunction.
4. What platforms and tools will be used in the project development process?
As a software product designer, when you go for IoT Implementation Services, the IoT Product design or consultant company should always use different platforms and tools to speed up the development and streamline things. A few tools and platforms that increase the productivity of the teams during product development are:
- Slack: Intra-team and inter-team communications with different channels for each part of the project.
- Jira/OpenProject: Bug and Issue tracking tools that track issues throughout the project development life-cycle. The tasks can be assigned to different team members, and the teams’ productivity can be monitored easily using such tools.
- Github/Gitlab: Software Version Control system to track the changes made in the software. It adds an ability to revert any changes to a previous timestamp when required. Moreover, such tools help when different developers are working on a common codebase.
5. What are the risks and potential challenges in deploying your IoT project?
There could be potential risks involved in IoT Product development. For example, if you are making an IoT Device(a LIDAR) for autonomous cars, you will need to test it and testing an in-development product could pose damage risks. Other than risks, there could be several challenges involved in product development. Nowadays, we see a shortage of ICs, so your consultant should be aware of all such challenges and risks associated with your product and give solutions to overcome those challenges.
6. How will you measure success, and what are the key performance indicators (KPIs)?
You should know how exactly the IoT Consulting Company or your IoT Consultant will measure the project’s success. They should give you a list of KPIs. For example, a KPI for a smart internet-connected speaker can be defined as 100 units sold to 100 different customers with 80% happy customers after using the smart speaker for 3 months.
7. How often will you be updated on project progress, and what reporting mechanisms ?
This is one of the most important questions that you should ask your IoT Consultant and our IoT Product Development Company as well. You should be notified about the project’s progress regularly and be aware of all the roadblocks arising during the development. The IoT Product can only be successfully implemented if there is transparency between the client and the product designer.
8. How much input will you have on key decisions made during development?
You should always know beforehand that product development involves multiple design iterations in the hardware and software parts. A client and IoT Product Consultant should have a mutual understanding of how you would provide inputs and how the design team will incorporate those changes in the product design process.
If you’re considering implementing IoT technology, it’s important to partner with a consultant who understands your industry and can help you navigate the many challenges and opportunities of this complex technology. By asking the right questions, you can ensure that you select a consultant who has the experience and expertise necessary to help your organization realize the full potential of IoT.