In this day and age, it seems like almost everything connects to Wi-Fi or a cellular network. While this connectivity should make everything in your life easier, more efficient, and more effective, it can often be a great inconvenience to product development. You have to try to make sure that any product you’re developing will be compatible will other smart devices, connect to cellular networks or Wi-Fi, and genuinely improve the life of your customer. To accomplish all of this, you need to make sure your product is a part of the Internet of Things or IoT. 

Making the Internet of Things Work for You

Whether you’ve been struggling to develop products that are IoT compatible, hoping to improve existing products, or never even thought about creating an IoT compatible product, you’re in the right place. There’s more growth than ever in IoT, and even companies like Jacuzzi are looking to see how they can improve their products with IoT capabilities. So, no matter your level of expertise or experience with IoT, it may already be a part of your industry or will be soon. It’s time to take steps to make sure you’re an IoT leader in your industry. 

The Internet of Things 

Let’s talk about the Internet of Things. IoT describes a network of physical objects embedded with technology, sensors, and software to communicate and exchange data wirelessly. These products can process real-time analytics and machine learning and are often automated. 

While this concept may have seemed like science fiction two decades ago, now your phone can communicate through Wi-Fi to everything from your thermostat to your car. IoT capability is the direction that product development is moving in, and you want to make sure that your product is a part of that movement. 

The Internet of Things in the Real World 

We tend to see a lot of examples of IoT in our personal lives, particularly with our smart phones, but what about IoT in the professional world? IoT can help benefit almost any industry to be more productive and effective. 

In public school systems, for example, bus monitoring programs have been implemented using IoT. GPS trackers and reliable cellular networks allow schools to monitor where school buses are at all times. This allows schools to monitor student safety, identify which buses are behind schedule, and communicate with parents easily about any route changes or delays. 

Even existing, simple networks can be upgraded using IoT capabilities. Many organizations use phone-trees in which each caller relays information to other, predetermined members in times of emergencies to disseminate information rapidly. This can be used to relay any information, from inclement weather closing a business to an active fire. IoT capabilities can make this process even faster and more accurate. IoT mass alert systems can monitor weather, remotely lock or unlock doors, and send out mass messaging. This system can utilize all different types of communication systems, from social media to text to alert systems. Best of all, all of this can be accomplished with minimal effort. 

Making the Internet of Things Work for You

Solving Your IoT Problems 

One of the serious issues for companies hoping to develop or refine a product to be a part of the Internet of Things is a lack of expertise. IoT is a relatively recent development in many industries but is growing. For example, just a few years ago, the home security industry has rapidly grown in the last decade from an antiquated system of sensors and high decibel alarms to sophisticated, interconnected systems. 

As a result of this rapid change and growth, your company may not have the in-house expertise to design a product to be part of the Internet of Things. That’s where third-party IoT specialists come in. 

Internet of Things specialists, like Particle, are solely focused on developing your product to communicate within the IoT and satisfying your customers’ desire for an interconnected network of devices. Using third-party specialists comes with a lot of benefits. You will benefit from their years in the field and knowledge of what IoT trends are likely to develop in the future. By using third-party specialists, you will also likely save money. The process of hiring, training, and managing in-house IoT specialists be more cost-effective. Additionally, you will benefit from lower resource costs, as third-party specialists can secure superior technology and software for your product without messy negotiations. 

How to Choose an Internet of Things Network Solution 

What makes the perfect choice for your third-party IoT solution? When choosing a company to provide your IoT network solutions, there are a few crucial things to keep in mind. 

First of all, you need a network that will work for you no matter what size your market is. Make sure to choose a network solution that will give your product access to global coverage and can support your operations, no matter the number of products you’re connecting. You want to make sure that your customers are satisfied no matter where they are.

It’s also vital to choose an IoT specialist that will make the entire process as easy as possible. After all, it’s what they are the best at doing. Your job is to focus on product development. Their job is to make your product IoT compatible. Look for a company that will provide a built-in network stack, so you don’t need to waste any time worrying about encryption or protocols. 

Lastly, make sure your IoT specialist has a variety of capabilities. You don’t want to limit your product development to just Wi-Fi and cellular networks. Be sure to choose an IoT solution that can also connect your products to Bluetooth Low Energy and NFC. IoT is changing rapidly, and you don’t want to slow down because your IoT specialist isn’t prepared to handle everything and anything. 

The future of many industries lies in the Internet of Things. You don’t want your product to be the weakest link that can’t communicate effectively with the rest of your customers’ products because of poor design. When developing any product, you take the time to make sure every little thing about it is just right, from raw materials to packaging. In this new day and age, it’s time to add IoT capabilities to that product perfection checklist. 

iLounge author Lucy Bennett

Lucy Bennett is a Contributing Editor at iLounge. She has been writing about Apple and technology for over six years. Prior to joining iLounge, Lucy worked as a writer for several online publications.