All great products, services, and solutions start with a why—a cause, a belief, a purpose. If you know why something matters, the how you do it and what you do follow on.
And providing people, businesses, and organisations with IoT solutions is no different.
Why you need a why
It’s not enough to explain to an end-user how an IoT solution works, or what it’s made up from. Instead it’s important to answer why an IoT solution matters.
This requires a change in the way we think about how people purchase products and services. Often, an end-user isn’t looking to buy what you do, instead what they’re really looking to buy is why you do it.
Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why, presents this scenario best when talking about Apple’s success:
Apple says, “We believe in thinking differently (why). The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly (how). We just happen to make great computers (what).”
In the instance of IoT we believe in the value of connecting everything (why). We do this by delivering actionable insights through the data we collect (how). We provide you with all the tech you’ll need—the sensors, the connectivity, the portal (what).
When planning any IoT solution it’s therefore important to first know why you’re doing it to ensure your how and what are fit for purpose.
Furthermore, in execution, having the leadership of the business on side is a vital ingredient in the success of IoT projects—and knowing the why from the start can help them get on board with the bigger picture.
The Big Data Cycle project: Why
More than 80% of people living in urban areas that record air pollution are exposed to toxic air quality levels that exceed the World Health Organizations limits. London is no exception, breaching its legal limit for toxic air for the entire year in the first five days of 2017. The success of monitoring, forecasting, and controlling air pollution to protect public health depends on cities like London creating networks of IoT enabled objects across their infrastructure.
In our recent Big Data Cycle project our why was two-fold. Firstly our purpose was to show the value IoT can provide to cities and councils in protecting the environment. Secondly there was an opportunity to survey the impact connected cycling can have on athletic training.
The Big Data Cycle project: How
We set out to do that by collecting data in regards to both my training for RideLondon100, and the surrounding environment my bike would pass through.
Bicycles, just like the one I used in the Big Data Cycle, present an excellent opportunity to increase the reach of smart sensors and provide real-time maps and statistics on air pollution levels. A greater understanding of environmental points could be used to improve air quality through a number of initiatives, including more accurate and efficient tree planting, or rerouting traffic to ease congestion.
In training and in competition, IoT is fast becoming the go to tactic in helping world champions win sporting events. Performance metrics collected by IoT devices such as speed, movement, and location can help cyclists plan, fine tune, and improve strategies for training—so much so that I was able to leverage IoT analytics to improve my mile time by 11 seconds.
The Big Data Cycle project: What
Our sensors, connectivity, and portal would enable us to collect all that data. In order to decide what we needed, we had to solve three key challenges:
What would be the most appropriate devices for the both the physical situation and the type of data we needed to collect?
One of our devices—provided by our IoT ecosystem partner WRD Systems—is one of the most configurable and flexible tracking and monitoring platforms available, was small enough to be installed into the frame of my bicycle.
The other, an IoT 4G enabled GoPro, enabled the audience of The Big Data Cycle to engage with the project on on a whole new level, bring them on the road with me via live-stream.
— Pangea Connected (@pangeaconnected) 30 July 2017
What type of connectivity would give us a persistent and reliable connection over the full hundred mile route?
Pangea multi-network SIM cards roam across all four major U.K. networks, meaning I always had high speed connectivity for seamless and accurate data collection.
Without access to recharge points, we needed a battery that could support all our power requirements for around six hours. It was also important to make sure the equipment is as lightweight as possible to not impact on the race time. A lightweight additional 2000mAh battery that’s slightly larger than a lipstick was chosen.
The analyst Matt Hatton of Machina Research perhaps summarises the importance of why in IoT best—if it’s about anything it’s about data. Businesses should ask “What business objectives do I want to achieve, and what data do I need to gather in order to do it?”, rather than “What can I connect?”.
The template we use for an IoT project is a process of 5 simple steps:
- Data – what you need to achieve the why
- Define – devil is in the detail for planning the how
- Design – don’t’ forget power!
- Devices – now bring the what with all that tech
- Deploy – and celebrate!
There’s no set formula what an IoT project should look like, so a clear understanding from the outset will make a significant difference to the commercials and thereby the success of the project. The right partner with the right understanding will be able to source the most appropriate devices, connectivity, and management for the most relevant solution—rather than bolting disparate products together.
Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how we can help you deploy a successful IoT project using our IoT ecosystem.