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Four essential features to look for in an IoT solution

IoT offers a number of benefits – from increased productivity to deeper customer insights. Here’s how to find the right IoT solution for your business.

By 2020, almost 20.5 billion connected devices will be in use around the world.

Consumers use these devices to do everything from controlling their home energy costs to monitoring their stress levels. With so much potential, it’s not surprising that businesses also harness the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) to gain deeper insights into their operations.

"Businesses will spend $1.4 trillion on IoT hardware by 2020."

Gartner

IoT offers a number of benefits, including cost optimization and an improved customer experience. It can also give you deeper insights into your assets and workforce. But to achieve these benefits, you need the right solution.

How to choose an IoT solution

As more connected devices find their way onto your network, you will need a way to manage them and make the most of their data. But with all of the IoT tools that have recently hit the market, it can be hard to find the right solution for your business. Here are four things that you need from your IoT solution:

1. Expertise. Many IT teams are short-staffed and don’t have the time to implement an IoT solution. Working with a partner can fast track your IoT success. Your partner can help you develop a strategy, manage your implementation and provide you with guidance on how you can make the most from your IoT investment.

2. Connectivity. Today’s networks are designed to support mobile devices. But IoT data can involve more than apps on a smartphone. Look for a network with built-in optimizations for IoT devices.

IoT devices use varying amounts of data. Some emit a constant stream up and down while others communicate in bursts that are triggered by pre-arranged criteria such as the passage of time, movement or a change in temperature. Choose an IoT provider that not only offers a range of plans to suit your solution, but also has the expertise to help you identify how your needs will evolve over time. You IoT provider should offer flexible plans that will support you both now and in the future.

In addition, LTE-M and 5G networks will soon open up new opportunities for businesses, as they offer the latency and bandwidth to optimize activity in step with real-time data from IoT devices. Analysts predict that 5G networks will hit the market in 2020. Preparing for 5G now will help you drive more value from IoT in the future.

3. Scalability. As you identify areas that will benefit from IoT, you can take advantage of scalable solutions that allow you to experiment in controlled scenarios. This cautious approach will appeal to stakeholders who want to see results before they approve a larger rollout. Look for a solution that lets you quickly and easily scale to support a limitless number of devices. That way, once you achieve some quick wins, you can move to broader IoT projects that connect and optimize your entire organization.

4. Security. The more your business adopts IoT solutions, the more you increase your risks of a cyber attack. Look for an IoT solution that offers built-in protection at the network, device and application level. Your solution should make it easy for you to monitor all of your assets and get alerts for unusual activity, so you can quickly resolve any issues.

The number of IoT devices on your network will increase in the coming years. With the right solution, you can monitor all of their activity and gain real-time visibility into your operations. Choosing a solution that grows with you will allow you to optimize all areas of your business – both now and in the future.