In Ten Steps to a Successful IoT Project

14.07.2020 by Daniel Kunz
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Sixty percent of IoT projects come to grief at the Proof of Concept stage. These ten steps will get you off to a successful start on the Internet of Things.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing increasingly popular with German SMBs, yet many companies still have problems with digital transformation. Internet research by Telekom, evaluating Cisco and Ovum sources, reveals that six out of ten IoT projects come to grief at the Proof of Concept stage. A mere 18 percent of companies that aim to make use of the Internet of Things do so successfully. Reasons are to be found in both the complexity of IoT solutions, which is often underestimated, and the need for a perfect fit with corporate processes and IT. There is no standard solution; IoT projects are as varied as the business models for which they are developed. But don’t be discouraged. In this blog post we will show you how to implement yout IoT project successfully step by step.

1. Define the Challenge You Want to Overcome by Means of a Digitization Strategy

The reasons for embarking on an IoT project are many and varied. Cutting costs, offering new service models or taking digital transformation forward are but a few of them. Don’t try to meet all of the challenges at once. Companies that as yet have no experience of the Internet of Things find it especially hard to concentrate on one task. It makes sense to collaborate with a reliable partner at an early stage, and practical experience with the IoT must be a key factor in your choice of partner. Experienced partners such as Telekom have an overview of different scenarios and know how to handle different challenges individually with a wide range of products.

2. Specify an Application Scenario for Your IoT Project

As soon as you have identified a challenge you must describe the right application scenario precisely. You will find scenarios for connecting machines and things across your company’s entire value chain – from external logistics via production to marketing and customer service. Concentrate on a use case and define a clear target. IoT solutions are complex and must be integrated into the company’s overall strategy. In this process don’t forget your customers and your customers’ customers.

3. Take Your Employees With You on the Road to Digitization

When new technologies are being introduced it is important to involve employees actively in the process. Digital transformation will only succeed if they understand why the technology is necessary and that it assists them with their work. The aim must be for your employees to accept the new technology, to embrace it as a part of their working day and to advocate it to your customers. In the best case, trained management staff will lead employees toward the new project.

4. Set up a Team That Deals Solely With This Project

Qualified employees are another important component in making a success of your IoT project. According to a study entitled “The Internet of Things among German SMBs in 2019: Importance, Application Areas and Status of Implementation” and commissioned by Deutsche Telekom from the market research institute PAC, many companies are still reluctant to use the IoT. One reason is that their employees lack the skills required. So motivation to implement IoT projects is low. As is clear from the previous points IoT projects are complex. So choose employees who are to work solely on this project. In the best case they will have previous experience of networking. Otherwise providing training is worthwhile. This first major expense will bear dividends in the long term when you scale the project and launch further IoT solutions.

5. Consider How You Can Best Integrate the IoT Solution Into Your Company’s Ecosystems in the Long Term

To ensure that the input in your first IoT project is sustainable you should consider from the start how you can make long-term use of the IoT solution for your company. And make sure that the software and IoT devices work for future projects – by choosing the right IoT platform, for example.

Illustration of the 10 steps for a successful IoT project


6. Choose the Right Platform for Your IoT Project and Carry Out Tests

Choosing the right platform is most important, especially with further developments in mind. To prevent vulnerabilities you should with your first IoT deployment lay foundations on which you can build future IoT projects. For this complex and futureproof software Cloud-based IoT platforms like Telekom’s Cloud of Things are suitable. It is available in three versions and can in this way be adjusted to individual requirements. Initial tests will show whether the platform in question is the right match for your company. Your employees can thereby familiarize themselves with the new platform and will know how to implement subsequent projects.

7. Define the Value Chain Data You Want to Evaluate and Where

In order to get clear results from the IoT platform you need the right data. If, for instance, the challenge you have defined is to reduce costs along your supply chain you must specify exactly that is to happen. Data that connected devices such as the Low Cost Tracker collect show whether the routes taken by your delivery vehicles are efficient enough or help your warehouse employees to locate goods faster. An experienced partner can advise you on how you can cut costs most effectively with this technology.

8. Find the Right Data Transmission

Connectivity is the basis of a successful IoT project in that on the Internet of Things everything is connected. But not every technology is suitable for every solution. So you need to know at the earliest stage possible which transmission standard you require for your IoT equipment. In principle the technologies differ in their ranges and location capabilities. To be sure that the IoT solution the connectivity match, you can opt for an all-in-one solution. Telekom’s Business Smart Connect, for example, offers a variety of all-inclusive tariffs with connectivity for the entire wireless network, including 2G, LTE, and Narrow-Band IoT (NB-IoT), a standard specially developed for IoT applications.

9. Take Into Account at the Development Stage the Soft- And Hardware Security Requirements

IoT solutions, like so many others, are regularly at the receiving end of cyberattacks. That is why it is important, as in choosing the right platform, to define at the outset and to implement standards that afford protection from risks in subsequent projects. The more independently operating IoT devices you use, the greater the risk of vulnerabilities. Providing security at a later date will cost you time and money.

10. Keep a Close Eye on the Rollout and Always Be Ready to Optimize

Have you heeded all of these points and is your IoT project about to go live? Then start the rollout and ask yourself the following questions: Is the project running how I envisioned it? Are all the in-house processes connected and working the way I want them to? Does the project deliver added value for my company or my customers? If your answer to all of these questions is Yes you have successfully implemented your first IoT project and can now scale it, develop your digital transformation and place yourself successfully in the market.


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Daniel Kunz
Daniel Kunz

Expert Digital Marketing

Digitization and the Internet of Things are among the favourite topics of Daniel Kunz. He has been with Deutsche Telekom since 2017 and regularly writes about technology trends and many exciting topics, especially for the retail trade and the logistics industry.