Jun 25, 2021

The system integrators role in an ever-growing and complex low power IoT market

Alexis Leibbrandt

This article covers the role of system integrators in the complex world of low power IoT technologies and how they can help innovators launch successful IoT projects.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a complex endeavor

This realization will be made by parties who take the leap toward utilizing the emerging possibilities of IoT. Not only are there a lot of components to be connected to make a project successful, but there are also a massive amount of IoT providers out there that more or less claim the same features and abilities. No wonder innovators wanting to build smart solutions end up confused in the sea of different technologies and subcomponents that form an IoT system.

Components to make an IoT project successful

As we see there are at least 5 technical components that have to be stitched together to one solution and eventually be integrated with the existing system architecture at the end customer. Can this “village” of solutions lead to confusion - you bet so!

A complex landscape: the system integrators home turf

Looking at the IoT landscape today, there are very few established quality standards (if at all) and these are usually difficult to differentiate for someone new to the IoT ecosystem.

The IoT market with all its diversity, complexity, missing quality standards, and fogginess seems to be tailor-made for modern system integrators. It is the perfect playground where experienced software gurus can play out their aces, sifting out the golden nuggets from the valueless rocks, and provide not just a winning solution for their customers, but especially the lead in integrating the new IoT technologies and possibilities in their existing systems like ERP, CRM, or BMS. Furthermore, system integrators are often experts in leading the customer through the development of their own IoT solution and strategy, from running the first concepts to full integration and roll out of the new solution(s).

Planning for success - right from the beginning

The early involvement of a system integrator will allow the project to be directed towards success early on, in its lifecycle. Right after the requirements' definition, there are quite some decisions to be made regarding cloud, network, hardware, and security. Laying the right foundation early on will prevent bad surprises later in the project when it will be harder to correct.

If enterprise-grade IoT projects get stuck, it is nine out of ten times because of a badly designed and thought-through business case. Even if you have partnered up with a highly skilled system integrator, the project will only learn to fly if you have a clear business case backing it up. We have seen over and over again that companies that start on their IoT journey without a clear business case lead to IoT projects getting stuck after the proof of concept (POC) phase. Before starting a discussion with a SI, one has to make sure that the project relies on a clear business case that defines how the collected data will improve business performance and open up new revenue streams. A clear plan will also help you to identify early on what internal resources you will need to consider to make the project as smooth as possible. Here again, can an experienced system integrator be a guiding force to stay on track. Especially when dealing with new technologies that seem to offer endless possibilities, it is very important to focus on the key outcomes and deliver those in excellence. It is often tempting to widen your scope and with that lose traction. In this case, a senior project manager with experience in complex project structures will be your rail to stay on track with your project.

Accepting the challenge

We are living in a new era of technical solutions that offer a level of complexity and variety of possibilities like never before. This complexity will hold big opportunities for those integrators that are willing to take the challenge and dive into emerging technologies. Of course, these new technologies also ask for an open and curious mindset. Being among the first movers does bring some risks, demands you to invest in your knowledge and expand your skill set. The current new era of communication technologies is for those who are willing to look beyond the established markets, to see the great upsides of massive IoT.

As a provider of an enterprise IoT platform that delivers a plug & play experience for a big number of low power technologies, that can be deployed into your cloud infrastructure, we would wish for more system integrators making the bold step towards low power IoT, embracing the new possibilities and to create winning solutions for the end customer.

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