Every industry has its buzzwords and acronyms, and ours, the high-tech electronics industry, has more than its share. IoT is probably the most used (and over-used) buzzword at the moment, but it stands for something extremely important. That’s the concept of everything being connected to everything, and then being able to pull data from those connections. Finally, through a series of analytics, some action is made based on that data.
A related buzzword that’s starting to make the rounds is self-assessment. In the context of our industry, it has to do with getting customers to become “IoT ready.” Self-assessment occurs by walking the customer through product strategies, value propositions, technology stacks, and how to execute on them. It also asks the question of whether you are partnering with the right people and whether your organization is mature enough to go through these seven specific areas:
- IoT project strategy, obviously the first step
- your value proposition and business case, making sure you’re sticking to your strengths (and avoiding your weaknesses) and there’s a valid business reason for the design
- your technology stack, assessing your in-house expertise
- your workforce and partner needs, or knowing what’s beyond the capabilities of you and your partner (and being completely honest about it)
- your cultural and change management readiness, which is important as you need buy-in from the team or you won’t get a 100 percent effort
- determine your organization’s digital maturity, so you know whether you can handle the massive amounts of data that are likely coming your way
- best practices and insights, knowing what to do, then implementing it
A key aspect of self-assessment is readiness, which means what it sounds like—is your hardware-software system ready to tackle the deluge of data that comes with the IoT? This video, featuring Avnet’s Vice President of IoT, Lou Lutostanski, explains what readiness means. If the end application is in an industrial setting, you can expect even more data from the connected equipment.
There are different stages of readiness, and depending on who you’re talking to, you’ll likely get different definitions of that term. Production ready is a popular variation, but in this blog, we’re going to focus on “design readiness,” which incorporates every element of the design, from the initial specifying to prototype, all the way through to production. Note that many will say that the job doesn’t stop there, as field upgrades and bug fixes need to be included in the design cycle.
Another key attribute of readiness is following the roadmap set out by each department within your company, from the software and hardware development teams to test and QA, and even (gulp) the marketing and product management teams. You must be sure that the roadmap is realistic and attainable.
You can always tell when the original roadmap isn’t followed precisely, and a key subsystem needs to be added later in the design process. Examples often include the batteries and the antennas. And there are many examples of the hardware guys always asking the software folks to make last minute corrections because “it’s easier to change the code and it’s free.” The software team will happily explain to you why that’s not true.
To reiterate, having that complete road map is an important part of the design process. Even more important is ensuring that you follow that roadmap. Any deviation could end up in everything from missed deadlines to costly rebuilds, or products that don’t do/look/feel/react the way they are supposed to.
Know If You’re Ready
Avnet has assembled a set of questions that will help you assess your readiness. Take the quick survey, and you’ll receive a series of tools that are carefully selected based on your responses to make sure you are ready to meet your design objectives. The company is also providing a family of IoT Readiness workshops that can really hone in on your specific objectives, providing the insights you need to take your IoT project from proof-of-concept to a product roadmap. You’ll leave the workshops with a foundational understanding of IoT from both a technical and business perspective, so you know how ready your company is to implement IoT.