The rise of the internet of things (IoT) technology is known by various names, including The Next Industrial Revolution, Industry 4.0, and simply The IoT Apocalypse. Whatever your position on the future of IoT, most people can agree that it will be a disruptor in every sense of the word – and not just in Silicon Valley and at MIT. IoT has far-reaching effects, affecting practically every industry that depends on industrial automation.
A startup is the initial stage of a firm that is more focused on issue solving than profit-making. It is the stage in which the ‘Ideas’ in the brain acquire shape, i.e. Execution of an Idea. Of course, profit is a vital goal, but entrepreneurs are more concerned with finding answers to problems.
The phrase IoT refers to the Internet of Things. It refers to the expanding network of physical items that are linked to the internet. Although the IoT is becoming more popular, many people are still perplexed by the question, “What precisely is IoT?”
According to our research and analysis into the IoT startup sector (including several interview sessions with some of the first IoT pioneers), here are five things to consider if you want to develop a long-lasting IoT firm.
1. Realise what’s important to your end-users
Have you seen the internet-connected tray that allows you to keep track of the eggs in your refrigerator? Or how about the fridge that tweets? Despite my fascination with these items, I can’t help but question if I need them in my life. Too frequently, tech entrepreneurs produce products with a ‘new’ feature and release them to the market without properly understanding the needs of their target users.
An IoT firm must have an offer that provides value to the lives of its consumers to be successful. How does the product help to improve the quality of life for your target users? Is this improvement adequate to justify your users’ investment in your new service and influence their behaviour? It doesn’t matter at all what stage of growth you’re in; if you’re not getting clear answers to these questions, I will reconsider your offer. Or, how about employing ethnographic approaches to comprehend your user’s behaviour and unspoken needs truly? Consider their emotional requirements in addition to their practical demands. Many product developers are focused on making everything quicker, cheaper, and more efficient, but they fail to consider all of the other possible benefits that a connected service might give.
2. Make use of what already exists
We live in a world where access and connectivity create opportunity, where a company in Bangalore may access the same technology capabilities as one in San Francisco. Of course, the ‘time to market’ is one of the most important success variables in such a scenario, but there’s a catch! Stuff’s crucial to get it out there initially, but getting it right the first time is far more important.
Companies frequently generate what may be described as “bits and pieces” rather than a whole offering when attempting to get their goods to market fast. Rather than attempting to run the race alone, companies should partner with people who have complementary products and services to build full solutions for the end consumer.
Libelium, for example, has worked with various cloud software solution providers to provide its consumers with all of the components required to develop Internet of Things (IoT), machine-to-machine (M2M), or Smart City projects. As a result, Libelium enables others to quickly put together a full end-to-end solution for their consumers rather than attempting to handle everything on their own. In addition, there are hundreds of platforms available that try to make it easier for you to create a product. So choose wisely; we joke that there are more platforms available than companies.
3. Don’t hold on switching to a scalable platform for too long.
Most businesses bootstrap before making their big break, and they don’t consider scaling until much later. Not surprisingly, when the moment comes, they falter. It would help if you began scalability development for your product as soon as feasible. Don’t just go along for the sake of going along. Consider the larger picture and make a strategy for it.
This was a problem for one of the IoT firms we spoke with. The firm built functional product prototypes with Arduino – a platform they were familiar with and confident in using to get solid quick results.
However, after obtaining their initial Kickstarter funding goal ten times, the engineers had limited time to improve the technology to provide the device to supporters on time and had to design around the Arduino platform. Although Arduino is a terrific development platform with a vast community, more suitable solutions for generating large batches of finished goods are available. If the startup team had considered and worked on scalability sooner, they may have created a more compact and less expensive product, perhaps with a better profit margin.
4. Focus your company on a single overall objective.
Every firm should be able to explain why it exists in the world. If you want to establish a company rather than merely a product, you must have a compelling reason for your existence. IoT firms frequently focus on product features, but this is a short-sighted strategy. It’s like concentrating on laying the bricks but failing to notice the monument you’re building. I am not overstating when I say that our team has spent up to an hour reading the product website, reviews, and viewing videos of an IoT company to articulate their value proposition for our IoT evolving business environment.
Consider Withings, a firm that creates goods and services for personal well-being. Beginning with a smart weight measuring gadget in 2009, the company now offers a 360-degree wellness experience, with devices that help consumers control their weight, strengthen their hearts, sleep better, and be more active. The corporation and its goods work together to make a unified whole.
5. Be proactive in adapting your business to new circumstances.
The Internet of Things is one of the trendiest subjects right now, and everyone is trying to find out how to become involved. When someone introduces a new product, the market shifts and other companies in the field must adjust their offerings to the new environment. However, entrepreneurs of IoT firms are frequently overly focused on producing their products and lose sight of emerging realities. We notice that they make the same mistakes as major organisations; they view the environment as static rather than dynamic.
When examining the competition, one method they accomplish this is by concentrating on current market share. When we questioned business founders about the competition during our IoT startup interviews, they generally bounced the topic back to us. The founders were frequently shocked by the firms we identified as prospective competitors. However, they had done their study months previously and had had little time subsequently to keep up with the newest advances in the industry.
Spark, which provides software and hardware solutions for cloud-connected devices, is an excellent example of a business that has successfully adapted to the evolving reality. Last year, they began selling real gear. Spark Core, their main hardware offering, is a development board with an integrated wifi networking shield. They used Spark’s hardware to build various startups, including Nomiku, CleverPet, Niwa, and Lono. These businesses used Spark components to prototype their goods before utilising Spark’s open-source architecture to produce products ready for mass production.
Spark is currently concentrating on growing its cloud platform and Spark OS, where it sees a big revenue opportunity after recognising that both products also need cloud processing capacity. The firm appears to be on the right track since it just secured $4.9 million in series-A capital.