Build or Buy? Key questions to ask before building an IoT Platform
The opportunities made possible by the Internet of Things (IoT) are growing.
Devices are constantly collecting and transmitting data in a wide variety of industries and markets. In the coming years, internet-connected everything will increasingly and positively impact our daily lives.
Capturing this raw data and integrating it with key business tools provides businesses with deep analytical information about their IoT products, such as average device lifetime, maintenance needs of machinery, or common user patterns. But this process needs infrastructure that is cost-effective, secure, scalable, and timely, so that you can start harvesting these insights and taking action as soon as possible.
The question is, do you build the infrastructure with a developer team in-house, or use ready-made infrastructure in other platforms to capture your data? It’s an important consideration.
Before you decide, you need to think about these critical elements. With IoT expanding so quickly, businesses can’t afford to rely on ad hoc solutions. You need to think about longevity, scalability, and ROI.
Time to market
Systems built in-house usually take at least 6-12 months to get off the ground. If you’re using your current developer team, there’s likely to be a lot of research and potential setbacks to get through before you have the stability you need. That leaves almost a full year of value that you’re missing out on.
Your competitors aren’t waiting, they could be getting an easy advantage. Using a ready-built platform means you can get that actionable value sooner.
Looking after an IoT platform is a task that requires a specialised set of skills and knowledge. Hiring a developer team that is able to not only build, but maintain your platform long into the future is going to be a serious challenge. It takes a minimum of three focused people to support and troubleshoot an IoT data platform effectively.
If you’re not hiring new talent, those three people are being taken from their current projects, slowing down your business goals.
If you do choose to hire new people, competition for those developer resources is fierce. Third-party platforms should already have experienced developer teams keeping the platform stable and secure.
Benefitting from the insights gained from your data analysis, your business and device deployment will more than likely grow. That means the speed and volume of device traffic will also grow. You need to make sure your platform has the ability to handle the increased workload with real-time streaming and batch processing.
If you use a platform that isn’t able to scale, you might encounter one of many pitfalls, including having to rebuild your system in mid life cycle. You may find that you want to switch providers. Some vendors will have clauses that lock you in for the long term, making a switch painful, if not impossible. Portability is the key. Make sure that your data stays your own. You might even want to look at options for hosting an outside platform in your private cloud for more sensitive data streams.
Privacy is an ever present concern in the IoT world. The privacy implications associated with the data collected from people and things around the world is an important consideration. Some geographic areas have specific rules about where this data can be hosted. For example, data collected in the EU has to stay in the EU.
You need to consider where your data will be hosted, and whether you’ll require your infrastructure to support the sandboxed hosting of data in separate geographic regions. Rather than building server instances for all your business regions, take advantage of the infrastructure already built.
With privacy issues come security risks. IoT devices represent a new and large surface area for attack. Your platform needs to have bullet-proof security for your sensitive data now and in the future. Make sure that you, your developer team, or your chosen IoT platform is using the most current strategies and technologies to protect data from attack.
Analysis & Visualization
There are a huge range of data analysis tools on the market that help you to visualize the data and extract actionable insights.
Your platform needs to be able to normalize the data that is important to your industry and integrate it with the tools that will give you relevant insights. Your platform should be able to adapt to different industry and device requirements as well as integrate your data with the full scope of useful data analysis tools available.
Don’t leave your data storage and protection as an afterthought. IoT data goes from interesting to critical faster than you think. You need to consider how you’re going to store, protect, and analyse data so you can get the most from your IoT investments sooner rather than later. Your competitors might be already doing it! The insights that your data could provide are ready to be discovered right now.
Speak to our experts about how you can get started on the Buddy IoT Data Graph straight away!
As a scalable and flexible cloud-based system with multiple server instances around the world and the ability to easily integrate with the world’s favorite analysis tools, we’re ready to start turning your raw device data into key actionable business insights to make sure you’re using IoT for maximum impact. Check out some key questions you should consider when evaluating whether to build or buy a platform.