IoT (Internet of Things) devices and sensors collect data that can generate actionable insights. However, most organizations have difficulty understanding how IoT can improve their business, and they require help when launching IoT initiatives. An IoT initiative has the potential to reduce company costs, optimize processes, and generate unique insights into the business. IoT consultants can guide businesses on how to achieve this potential.
What is IoT consulting?
Internet of Things (IoT) consultants help businesses understand IoT technology, provide a roadmap to reduce company costs, optimize processes, and improve products & services thanks to IoT technology. Some IoT consulting companies also offer development services to build IoT solutions.
Why is IoT consulting important now?
As you can see below, interest in IoT consulting has been increasing since the early 2010s as measured by Google. It seems that its popularity has stabilized after 2018.
IoT is an emerging area that can provide unique advantages to companies from different industries, yet, hiring an IoT talent is expensive (the average salary of an IoT developer in the USA is $130.000/year) because IoT talent is in short supply. Businesses need to hire an IoT consulting company if they
- can not afford to build an internal IoT team and need to build new IoT powered products
- are not knowledgeable enough on IoT to build an IoT strategy
- need recommendations about products in the market
What are the typical IoT consulting activities?
Typical IoT consulting services include
- Identification of potential use cases: IoT consultants can observe your business’ activities and identify where your business can leverage IoT. Along with that, they determine the highest value ways to incorporate IoT into existing business processes, new businesses, and performance improvement efforts.
- IoT strategy development: IoT implementation requires strategy development and a framework that helps businesses throughout the process.
- R&D and prototyping: IoT is an ever-changing technology. R&D is required to catch the pace of change while a prototype supports companies to recognize whether or not the product is potent enough to work.
- Hardware and software vendor recommendations: Their expertise in the field enable them to know the best products in the market. They help companies by simply sharing their knowledge on the topic.
IoT Consulting Landscape
The landscape is crowded with vendors. While some vendors offer end-to-end consulting services (including ideation, strategy, application development & security testing), strategy-focused and market research-focused consultants are also entering this industry.
Since the Internet of Things technology is one of the digital transformation trends, established management consultants such as MBB (McKinsey, BCG, Bain) are also offering IoT strategy consultation. These companies help businesses get the most out of IoT projects by providing frameworks and insights about the market. An example IoT framework is below from BCG:
There are numerous investments from management consulting firms into IoT companies such as Accenture’s Cimation and Cognizant’s Bright Wolf. Yet, these companies are not the only ones that provide IoT strategy consultancy. For instance, Harbor Research provides consultancy services specific to IoT strategy. They build the roadmap for cloud infrastructure, mobile and edge computing, machine learning, and IoT technologies.
IoT specific market research companies create market reports that help businesses understand market dynamics. These companies also perform cost-effective consulting activities such as competitive intelligence and customized research of the client’s specific need.
These companies design and build connected physical and digital products and environments for their clients. For instance, Fjord, which is acquired by Accenture, has a portfolio of IoT product designs for various applications such as smart cities, smart homes, and smart transportation & mobility.
These consultants have market-ready end-to-end IoT products. Their products enable companies to avoid costly hardware component selection and interoperability mistakes early and throughout your project. Vates, Mesh Sytems and Design 1st are some example vendors in this area.
How to choose an IoT consultant?
5 skills are necessary or preferable for IoT consultants. These skills can be your business’ criteria to choose the right IoT consulting partner:
Implementation partner criteria
An implementation partner may require some or all of the below skills while setting up a custom IoT deployment for your company:
- Embedded software development: An IoT Consultant should have embedded software development experience to provide the custom solutions you need.
- IT Security: Consultants’ knowledge should include security software such as endpoint security tools.
- Field gateway programming: A field gateway acts as a bridge between your local device and the IoT backend. For custom IoT deployments, it accelerates companies in connecting their devices to their cloud backend. An IoT consultant should be able to develop the code that would enable them to run these field gateways effectively and efficiently to ensure smooth data flow.
- Expertise in user experience (UX) and user interface (UI): An IoT consultant should be able to manage UX and UI designs to setup systems and dashboards to help your business manage its IoT platform.
Analytics partner criteria
- AI and Data analytics knowledge: IoT consultants should know how to work with data analysis or autoML software to either generate insights by analyzing data or setup platforms to enable data analysis capabilities of your organization.
If you still have questions about IoT consulting or don’t know which vendors are the right fit for your company’s needs, feel free to contact us:
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