Forgotten IoT business case killer

“IoT will disrupt business models!”

Companies have to change, the discussion starts.

Just connect the thing and get it on-line!” is often asked to product- or business developers who have to define the use cases which will be used as input for developers.

During customer and user interviews the primary IoT functions are defined: “We want to receive alarms, read the status, control the assets and verify the communication. All secure of course! Oh, by the way the product needs to be ready in 4 months and we need to have a demo next week for the investors.

During this phase the business case is made: “Hurray!” Thanks to the low volume of IoT data traffic, the communication costs fit perfectly in the TCO spread sheet. The customer TCO is good, margins are fair.

In the meantime the dev team is working on the prototype and comes back from the first scrum-cycle with the question: ”How secure do you want to have it?

The answer is: “Secure enough and…when can we ship?

This scenario happens to 80% of all mobile IoT developments.

Without going into details, short time-to-market and security requirements imply that the software/firmware of the remote asset need to support the ability to be upgraded remotely.

The use-case “firmware-over the air update”, or simply “firmware OTA” is often forgotten or simply ignored. Most of the time such a functionality requires lots of data transfers; 99% of all software developers don’t optimize their remote firmware to be based on tiny patch updates. It is too complicated.

Lessons Learned:

Ask in an early stage: Is security for the remote assets critical?

  1. If yes, are future software upgrades during the life span required?
  2. If yes, does the communication infrastructure support it?
  3. If yes, do the cost fit in the business model?
  4. If not convinced yes, explain and ask your dev-team to investigate various smart firmware update mechanisms.

‘Moore’ data often implies more costs.

If you forget…your IoT business case…

might get Disrupted.