Developing for IoT: 3 Best Practices For Building Connected Products

Product companies across industries—from healthcare to transportation to toy manufacturers—are getting into the IoT game. Even companies that have never produced a tangible product (digital media company Buzzfeed, for example) are investing in connected devices. Connected products open up new revenue streams for product companies and richer ways to engage their customers, so it’s no surprise that creating smarter and more connected products is a top priority for leaders of product companies.

There will be 30.7 billion connected devices in 2020 and 75.4 billion by 2025.*

But with these new opportunities come new challenges. Developing connected products is drastically different than static product development. Linear product development processes and 5-year product roadmaps must be replaced with agile processes that are constantly adapting to security concerns, operating system updates, and customer needs. Meanwhile, siloed development teams must be integrated into the rest of the organization and co-create with business stakeholders. In other words, a major business transformation is required.

But this transformation isn’t impossible. With the right development partner, the right mindset, product companies can pivot into IoT. If you are considering entering the IoT arena, or expanding/accellerating your IoT presence, consider the following best practices:

Rethink prototyping

Prototyping should start with a whiteboard. As I mentioned in the Forrester report, product teams can get to a meaningful version two before a single line of code is written. Beginning with a design sprint, in which you focus on customer journey mapping and wireframing, can save product teams a great deal of time and resources later in the process. Prototyping with a clear sense of the customer (through personas, customer research, market research etc.) also ensures that the end delivery meets customers’ actual needs, instead of just fulfilling stated requirements.

Choose a development partner with IoT Experience

Having already gone through the process before, and being aware of potential speed bumps along the way, a development team with IoT experience will be able to accelerate development. One of 10Pearls’ clients in the telecommunications sector approached us when they needed help developing a wearable device. Since we already had a great deal of experience developing products that leverage geolocation services, we were able to get the product to market more quickly.

Focus on security early

Connected products are key targets for bad actors, and even tangential association to a cyber attack can be devastating to a brand’s reputation. Though your product may seem to be an unlikely entry point, every connected device is at risk. It’s important to work with a development partner that understands the complexities of IoT cybersecurity and can proactively protect your product (and the company behind it).

The bottom line: if companies want to create better customer experiences with IoT products, they must be prepared to transform their development processes and work with a qualified development partner that has IoT expertise. It can both drastically reduce risk and your time to market.

*According to IHS Markit.