IoT Masters: What you need to know before you get started in the Internet of Things

Smart devices and internet-enabled products can increasingly be found in all walks of life as our previously unconnected cities and towns are transformed into versatile and evolving digital hubs. Such is the universality of these devices, that the term the ‘Internet of Things’ has transitioned from being a phrase reserved solely for technology enthusiasts to a household term in just a handful of years. This boom has, in term, acted as a catalyst for the widespread development of connected products.
Yet this enthusiasm for smart technologies hasn’t always been accompanied by the necessary expertise required to deploy connected products. In the last few years, countless of examples of insecure and ineffective IoT products have hit the headlines – including the likes of serious security flaws found in popular smart toys .
Yet despite such activity in this space, it’s not always completely obvious how IoT beginners should take their first steps in the sector. After all, the prospect of taking your once ‘dumb’ coffee machine or car and making it ‘smart’ can be a seriously daunting prospect.
That’s why we’ve developed a video series called IoT Masters where we guide new entrants through a series of steps designed to help you kick off your exciting IoT project – from the key principles underpinning the Internet of Things, through to how to manage effective lifecycle management.
In this blog, we boil the IoT down to the basics to get you set off on your smart journey.

Build to succeed
Before getting started, it’s important to understand some of the theory underpinning the IoT. There are seven key building blocks that make up any smart project, all of which need to be accounted for at the start of any IoT venture. These are; the sensors, connectivity, application logic, the network, application on The Cloud, data analytics and security.
While the video above will give some more insight into how these elements all work together, it’s important to note that for a device to successfully and securely connect to the IoT, it needs to make sure all of these elements are fully accounted for.

Know your business
The above building blocks should be baked into any IoT campaign, but that doesn’t mean that every project is the same. There’s an ocean of difference between the needs of a smart car and a connected vending machine, for example.
The main question you need to ask yourself is why you are doing this IoT project. Are you looking to transition from a pure manufacturing business – where you are developing products – to an always-on serviced based one? Are you hoping to use customer data to improve your product iteratively or to monetise usage trends and share with the wider IoT ecosystem? These sorts of questions will determine the kind of connectivity, security and energy source you use.
For example, a connected car moves at high speeds, across...