Avoid constraints – choose your IoT partners wisely from the start
Many of the informants, we talked to for our whitepaper, mentioned that it is a problem that the IoT ecosystem is very fragmented. This makes it very difficult for clients who want to build and implement an IoT system to get started and to navigate in the field.
As one small software developer put it: “Right now, there is a problem of plenty in the market. There are so many actors offering different solutions, but the customers and clients, and even ourselves, lack an overview of all the actors and what they can offer to which part of a technical setup.”
The problem is that every choice you make when it comes to IoT solutions will have consequences and will determine the products, networks, suppliers you can use. Some products only work with certain networks for instance, and the choices you make when starting out in the field of IoT will have an effect on every choice you make going forward.
There is an outspoken need for an independent actor mapping where potential clients who want to build an IoT solution can get an overview of which actors, competences and suppliers are available for specific functionalities of the system. Alongside the mapping of actors, there is a need for independent and technology agnostic advisors who can help clients navigate in the actor landscape and understand the different parts and components needed to create a reliable system, which serves the needs of the users. The advisor role should be that of a business-to-technology-interpreter who can help translate clients problems into specific technology needs; help clarify the value stream through potential actors and technologies. The advisor should provide the necessary information about different networks, standards, and protocols for the clients to make decisions on an informed basis.
As a smart city representative for a municipality said in an interview for our whitepaper: “I need to know what exists on the market. Right now, so much is going on with IoT, but it feels quite random what we as clients get access to. You happen to meet technology providers at a fair or conference and then you go with their solution without knowing what else exists out there.”
It is important that the clients are able to find the different actors to fulfil the entire value chain in the system, such as accelerators and incunbators, investors, startups, business-to-technology intepreters, business developers, recruitment agencies for front office consultancy, quality assurance specialists, specialists from process industry, domain-specific knowledge, international collaboration, hardware developers, infrastructural owners, municipalities, politicians, large corporations etc.