How To Choose The Best IoT Company
When you choose an IoT design and development agency to bring your device to life, you are entrusting your business’s reputation to them. Therefore, it is imperative that you find a company that understands your mission and core values and can adequately translate those to a digital platform.
The best Internet of Things companies are able to harness their creativity and expertise, then adjust it to match your vision. If a company is forcing you to change your ideals -- not the other way around -- they are not the right agency to partner with.
Before you start actively searching for an Internet of Things company to work with, understand your internal goals first. What business or consumer-related problem are you hoping to solve with this device? What features do you believe it should have?
While your objectives -- especially the detailed ones -- will surely change as a project progresses and becomes more finessed, it is in your best interests to know what you want to achieve and understand the baseline of what your project requires. After all, not every agency provides every service, and it would be a costly and time-wasting headache to partner with an IoT company that ultimately doesn’t provide what you need to succeed.
At the end of the day, it’s not the agency that will be creating your IoT device -- it’s the group of expertsassigned to your project. Ensure you are confident in their skill set, expertise, and collaborative abilities!
Plus, as you meet with the Internet of Things agencies, ask about the company culture. Are they fostering an exciting, innovative environment, or is the vibe too stark and corporate? Plus, take a look around the office to see their work for yourself. You’ll know when you find inspired individuals who love working together, which will make the entire project much more productive and enjoyable.
As we mentioned, IoT devices need protection against cyber attacks just like mobile apps and websites do. The top IoT companies take the time to develop a comprehensive security system to protect all information gathered by the device AND connected to it digitally.
Note: It’s okay if a company doesn’t have their own specific custom-built security system. The key to look for is a comprehensive plan. Top agencies should have an answer for the best malware protection, integrated security software, and protocol to follow if any system is compromised.
After you’ve determined if a top IoT company matches your brand identity, provides the services you need, and has a strong team of experts, determine how much the project will cost. Although we don’t recommend straying out of your budget, keep in mind that a higher upfront cost can often create a better end result and a stronger return on investment.
Then, document everything in a contract that both parties will sign. Although this step can be tedious, it will alleviate any confusion that could arise during the project and will ultimately protect both parties. Consult your legal department before you sign anything, and don’t forget to include any specific parameters, holds on sensitive information or non-disclosure elements.
Top Examples Of The Internet Of Things Devices
Smart cities are large-scale implementations of many Internet of Things devices through one cohesive network. While the end-goal is to create a more sustainable hub, smart cities optimize culture and society, economy, and environmental footprints.
Many features within a smart city include street lights that gather information and send to citizens (think: where is an open parking spot), smart public trash receptacles that communicate when full, and weather seasons that detect any contamination. Although there aren’t any fully-smart cities yet, locations such as Amsterdam, Netherlands; Dublin, Ireland; and Columbus, Ohio have begun “smart” initiatives.
Vehicle-to-vehicle communication enables automobiles to -- you guessed it! -- communicate with one another while in transit. Cars would share information on road conditions, speed, and other information aimed at lessening the likelihood of car accidents.
And it seems that officials are much more in favor of V2V communication than driverless cars. In 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's proposed regulation for all new vehicles to have V2V communication capabilities. It is tentatively expected that all new cars could have this tech by 2023.
In another real-world example, the Nest Thermostat brought the Internet to their line of thermostats, doorbells, alarm systems, smoke alarms and more. Each piece of home software can be controlled by a mobile app -- and, depending on the device, can even give users a remote view of their home.
In addition, other smart products connect to Nest through the app design, such as Whirlpool washers and Philips Hue lights. Nest incorporated design thinking to truly produce the most user-friendly solutions for consumers’ daily life.
Petnet’s SmartFeeder automates feeding for cats and dogs through a simple device and mobile app controller. The device can determine the best type of food for your pet, how much you have in stock, and can even confirm when a pet has eaten.
The device continually tracks your pets eating habits, and provides reports on any adjustments you should make in quantity, frequency, or recipes. What’s better, the device can also automate pet food delivery, negating the need for pet owners to make a physical purchase and ensuring they never run out of pet food unexpectedly.
Smartwatches are one of the most popular forms of IoT devices, partially due to the immense buzz and popularity surrounding the Apple Watch. The small device can take phone calls, send text messages, track heart rates, manage fitness activity, and even stream music directly from a user’s wrist.
However, the Apple isn't the only wearable tech powering the IoT world. Other watch companies and fitness trackers, like Fitbit, have created their own similar answers to the Apple Watch. Meanwhile,smart clothing quite literally has technology woven into its fibers, inspiring features like weather reports and solar-powered cell phone-charging bags.
Top IoT Companies’ Solutions
Top Internet of Things companies offer unique problem solving that complements design thinking. At its core, design thinking encompasses problem-solving across all industries. It aims to look at issues consumers face and find new, simple, user-friendly solutions through
Both IoT solutions and design thinking search for ways to improve consumers’ everyday lives, creating easy-to-use solutions for common problems. The Internet of Things provides a new way of looking at technology and consumer solutions by adding a digital component to everyday items, which is why it fits so well with the idea of design thinking.
Like any digital presence, Internet of Things devices must be safeguarded against cyber attacks, hackers and data breaches. Luckily, the top IoT companies place a strong emphasis on security business and consumer data throughout IoT development, design and deployment.
In fact, IoT spending has increased exponentially since 2016 and is expected to climb to $3.1 million by 2021. This shows that top agencies are focusing on safety first following the 2016 Internet-wide IoT cyber attack called Mirai botnet, which even affected major companies like Amazon, Netflix, and Twitter.
Service & Troubleshooting
The best IoT agencies have a team of experts on hand to provide assistance for any technical problems that arise with an Internet of Things device. This ultimately improves technical support because the experts who built the app and know it the best can identify problems faster and deploy fixes better.
Having this third-party support can actually save businesses in the long run, too. They won’t need to pay to staff in-house professionals. Instead, their professional partners will remain on standby to quickly find solutions and manage any fallout, while in-house employees focus on other tasks.
An IoT platform is essentially the foundation upon which an IoT device is built. Therefore, it is imperative to build your digital structure on software that can support the functions and features you need while remaining user-friendly for your employees who will be managing the information in the “backend.”
Great IoT agencies can find the right platform for your brand’s needs (such as ThingWorx IoT Platform, Cisco IoT Cloud Connect, or GE Predix). In addition, these companies can manage the solutions a platform provides, including the sensors, communications network, data analysis, end app design and more.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the idea of integrating the Internet into everyday products, essentially making them “smart.” This transformation requires computing devices to embedded into everyday items and often calls for an application to empower consumers to interact with the IoT device.
This is where great IoT companies come in handy. The Internet of Things is new and complex, and developing an application for something like a tiny smartwatch is much different than developing for a traditional smartphone or tablet. Top IoT experts understand the intricacies that accompany developing innovative apps and can guide your company in the right direction with ease and knowledge.
Questions To Ask Top IoT Companies
An agency’s expertise isn’t the only requirement for a successful project -- outsourced companies also need to be organized, able to create a timeline, meet deadlines, and communicate with clients. Ask the questions below to make sure the agency you choose is able to create an informed strategy and provide deliverables on time.
- Where do you find inspiration?
- How will you analyze our business goals and determine a course of action?
- How will you create a project timeline?
- What process will you use to keep the project on track?
- How often will we meet, receive updates, have phone calls, etc.?
Every agency prices their services differently, so before you sign a contract with a great IoT company, make sure you know exactly what you are paying for. Once you have finalized all the details, document them in a contract to protect your brand, project, budget and sensitive information.
- How much do your services cost?
- Do you charge per hour, per month, per results or a flat fee?
- Which services and team members are we “paying for”?
- How often will we be billed?
- Will we be paying for any software, resources, tools, etc.?
- Are there any additional charges we could expect?
- Will you sign a contract detailing all of the project’s information?
Even though the Internet of Things is fairly new, the best IoT companies have experience creating digital items. Ask possible agencies about their prior experience, what they learned from them, and where they see the industry going. If they truly are experts in IoT, they’ll have comprehensive answers for all of those!
- Have you worked on IoT devices before? Tell us about them and the outcome.
- How long have you worked on IoT projects?
- How do you stay on top of the latest IoT trends?
- Which IoT tactics do you believe are the most beneficial to business growth and why?
- What are the most important things you have learned from other IoT projects?
- Where do you see IoT going in the next 5 years and why?
Not every IoT agency provides the same services -- some may consult, others may build on a platform, and certain companies may be all-inclusive. Take stock of what you currently have, assess your needs, then find the company that fulfills your requirements.
- What IoT services do you offer?
- How long have you offered them?
- What system do you have in place for securing data collected on IoT devices?
- Are there any platforms, resources, etc. that you recommend? If so, why?
- Does your agency offer any other services?
The best Internet of Things companies have access to top talent who are experienced in creating various IoT devices -- and these individuals will be the people responsible for creating your device, too. Make sure you ask agencies about the actual professionals who will be working on your IoT device and don’t be afraid to ask for a replacement to ensure you are comfortable with each expert assigned to your brand.
- Which team members will be working on our IoT project?
- What will their role be?
- Tell us about their experience.
- Have they worked with similar companies, industries or projects before? What was the outcome?
- How dedicated will they be to our project?
- Who will our point of contact be?
What Is The Internet Of Things?
Simply put, the Internet of Things (IoT) is the idea of connecting everyday devices to the Internet. These devices can be more scientific in nature, such as heart monitors and pacemakers, or more accessible and normal, such as cars and kitchen appliances.
IoT aims to improve general productivity by streamlining simple everyday tasks -- and the corporate world, in particular, has taken to the Internet of Things. Ninety-four percent of businesses who have integrated IoT devices (called Enterprise IoT) have already seen a return on investment.
Top IoT Platforms
Just like websites need platforms to connect code with consumers, IoT devices require platforms to connect an IoT item’s sensors with the network. But because IoT is so new, there aren’t many platforms that support this unique technology.
To create a great Internet of Things device, businesses need to enlist the help of an IoT company that understands the market and complicated nature of IoT design, development and -- of course -- the platforms required. Some reliable IoT platforms include:
- Amazon Web Services
- Microsoft Azure
- IBM’s Watson
- Salesforce IoT Cloud
- Oracle Integrated Cloud
Top IoT Uses
Even if you haven’t heard of the Internet of Things, it’s more prevalent than you think! Smartwatches, video-powered doorbells, and home security and safety systems geared towards the elderly are just a few common examples of IoT.
In addition, the Internet of Things is infiltrating nearly every major industry, such as e-commerce (integrating Amazon voice-activated shopping with Echo) to agriculture (environmental tracking) to general manufacturing (dynamic supply chain networks).
As the Internet of Things grows as its own technology sector, the need for stronger cybersecurity also increases. And once a regular device is connected to the world wide web, it is susceptible to data breaches and hackers.
The good news? Many great IoT companies are focusing on strengthening their digital security measures. If you’re developing an IoT device of your own, ensure you are working with agencies that place data security at the forefront of priorities to protect consumers and your business down the road.
Internet Of Things Ecosystem
As regular things transform into IoT devices, they subsequently require digital support to function. This is where an IoT ecosystem -- or the entity using the device and software support needed -- comes into play. Every IoT device needs hardware and networking systems to collect and transmit data, an “application” to communicate with the user, and a system of data storage, analytics, dashboards and more.
Depending on the use for the IoT device -- consumer, business, government, medical, or other -- these may or may not be accessible to the user. The good news? Great IoT development agencies understand how to build each layer and create a great user experience.