Advances in the last decade have made IoT a mature technology adopted by enterprises across the globe. The business value of IoT solutions has become apparent to stakeholders in industries worldwide and many are rushing to capitalize on it. It has helped organizations reduce their business expenses, streamline their workflows, and made their operations more transparent. Many organizations have created additional revenue streams by rolling out connected products and services.
Even when the benefits are clear, companies are not sure how they should get into IoT. Should they invest in their own team, or should they outsource the development to an IoT expert?
Let’s explore when companies should outsource their IoT project and how they can do it to get the best results.
When should you consider outsourcing your IoT project?
There are a lot of benefits to outsourcing your IoT project. To develop an IoT solution, you need experienced talent, and hiring them can create unnecessary overheads for the company. If the company doesn’t have an in-house team, hiring people, building a team, and delivering the project will take a lot of time. The company may also find it difficult to understand the market environment and the technical challenges and create a solution best suited for them.
But by outsourcing it, the company gets access to top talent and expertise on demand. With an expert development team, the company can bring the solution to market within a short time and at a lower cost. An experienced team will also be able to guide the company to understand its pain points better and how IoT can resolve them.
That said, if a company plans to build a range of IoT products, they’ll have to weigh the costs associated with an in-house team and outsourcing all of the product development. Another aspect is that when you’re outsourcing a project, you have less control over the development process or the final solution. You can specify exactly what you want and a good development team will deliver it as you wanted, but the process and the output won’t be exactly as if you had an in-house team.
How to choose a team that can develop your IoT project?
There’s no shortage of firms that offer custom IoT development services. Here’s how you can choose the team best suited to your needs
Nail down your requirements
Once you have a clear picture of your requirements, the next steps become easy. Figure out the pain points you want to solve, analyze competitor solutions, and document your specifications in detail. The documentation should include if you need a mobile app or just a web, the data you want to collect, the devices you want to control and how you want to control them, the type of connectivity you need, and how the solution behaves in different situations and with respect to different inputs.
It would also be a good idea to document the safety, risk, and compliance requirements.
Decide the aspects of the project you want to outsource
You don’t have to always outsource your entire project. You can get a consultant to manage or develop just a few of the aspects, such as UI/UX, app development, hardware development, the cloud platform, manufacturing at scale, and others.
You can work with a combination of in-house teams and external consultants or even a group of consultants handling different aspects of the project.
Make sure you consider the budget, security, safety, and compliance aspects when you make these decisions.
Discuss the development process
Once you have a list of potential development teams, discuss their development process. Discuss how often they communicate with you, if they work with MVPs and prototypes, how they test and validate their solutions, and how they make sure the project is delivered on time.
Even if you’re outsourcing, you’ll need to be hands-on with the team to ensure the development is in the right direction. So it’s important you get regular updates and that the team communicates well.
Review portfolios and expertise
If you’re satisfied with a team’s development process, the next step is to ensure they have the necessary experience and skills to deliver your project. It’s a good idea to review their portfolios, the qualifications of the team members, the certifications they have, and reviews from their previous clients.
Ideally, you should work with a team that has expertise in developing a project similar to yours. For instance, if you’re working on a smart home device, the team should have a couple of smart home devices in their portfolio.
Review the support and maintenance the company offers
The development team’s role doesn’t end after the project is delivered. You’ll need their assistance to maintain the solution and fix any issues that might come up. Ensure that the team offers a good support package to keep your solution up and running.
Get a project estimate
The last step is to get an estimate of the project budget and time of delivery. As with any other project, it’s best not to just go with the lowest bid.
Besides the development cost, there will also be costs associated with maintenance; for communication between IoT devices, cloud costs, and security patches. It’s important to consider these aspects as well when considering development costs.
When getting the estimate, it’s important to remember that any deviations or changes to the specification can drastically change the budget and launch date.
Best practices while outsourcing an IoT project
Have clear specifications
IoT development projects go smoothly when you know exactly what you want and you communicate it to the team. A detailed set of requirements ensure that nothing is left to interpretation, there are no changes and reworks during development, and that project is delivered on time and within the estimated budget.
Ensure that all of the intellectual property is transferred to you
Before you start working with a team, ensure that the contract specifies that all the intellectual property that comes out of the project belongs to your company. This includes the code, the hardware specifications and blueprints, the project idea itself, the designs, and anything else developed at a cost to you. It’s also best to define how the contract may be terminated and how the intellectual property will be handled in that instance.
Work with a team that has expertise in your industry
To get the best results, work with a team that has expertise in developing a similar project. For instance, if you’re developing a solution for the manufacturing industry, it’s best to choose a team that has a portfolio of projects within the sector.
Regular communication is essential to ensure that the project is going on as scheduled and in the right direction. IoT development is usually a fast paced process and if the team has questions someone from your company should be there to collect the answers and respond quickly. Before the project gets started, assign a designated person from your team to communicate with the development firm.
Make sure that the solution will be maintained and kept up even after the development
You need to consider the maintenance and upkeep of the project even after development. The solution will need regular patches to keep it secure from external threats and even after extensive testing, odds are bugs will pop up a lot at least for the first three months after launch. Most development firms offer a support package for this and you can either opt for that or you can train your own team for this.
Looking for an IoT development team? Reach out to Bridgera
If you’re looking for a custom IoT solution, Bridgera is your best bet to get it delivered on time, within budget, and up to your specifications. Our team of experts has decades of experience developing custom IoT solutions in industries worldwide.
With our expertise, you can make your IoT vision a reality. Reach out to us and let’s discuss how we can create the perfect solution for your company.