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Your post-IoT existence was smooth sailing until scope creep happened. Now, your once leak-tight connected project is seeping cash and efficiency.
How can you get the wheel back under control? Although scope creep has the power to gnaw right through your hull and send you to the bottom, there are plenty of proven ways to avoid an untimely trip to the deep. Inform your Internet of Things experience with these time-tested pointers.
Want to make your IoT project easier to control? Testing is an essential aid that focuses your perspective on must-have functionality.
Whether you’re building analytics tools that control a digital manufacturing floor or systems that direct building patrons in an emergency, you stand to benefit from a multi-pronged approach that includes
Unit testing of the individual modules, libraries, UI elements and other components that make up your core software,
End-to-end testing to confirm that applications present the appropriate workflows and behaviors in response to varied user inputs,
Penetration and security testing to ensure that the network architectures underlying your IoT implementation can handle data safely
Compliance auditing that keeps your whole system in line with the laws of your operating jurisdiction.
Writing tests before adding new code is a good practice because it stops you from trying to take on too much. It’s very easy for coders to get sidetracked — especially when lateral thinking is a highly regarded problem-solving technique. With the IoT, however, there are so many ways to accomplish tasks that having an overabundance of options can become distracting.
Creating functional tests before building the accompanying problem-solving implementations also enhances usability. By defining the specifications that your IoT apps should meet in advance, you’ll find it easier to predict how they’ll behave — and strive for maximum repeatability.
It’s hard to avoid scope creep when you constantly have to do things in-house. For instance, imagine that you took on a major IoT project: Connecting some sensors to a factory monitoring system so that your boss could see what was happening while she was on vacation.
If each one of the sensors came with its own complete plug-and-play library for your monitoring application, then you’d probably be in good shape. Things would be even better if they all offered APIs in the same coding language, and if they were all compatible with your IoT Platform, you might hold a ticker-tape parade.
Now consider how much harder the project would look if the sensors were all proprietary devices that lacked standard interfaces. You’d need to do much more work to get them to talk to each other, and your IT team would be a lot busier.
Simplifying your IoT projects keeps scope creep at bay by reducing the number of sidetracks you have to take to reach your destination. Since you don’t need to explore every fork in the road to reach the functional goal, you can go from concept to idea faster, leaving the refinements for the more polished versions.
There are many hallmarks of effective IoT application enablement platforms. For instance, enterprises that want to tackle custom tasks may prefer being able to work with known technology providers, such as Texas Instruments, Intel, Siemens and Cisco. They also, however, need the freedom of choice to avoid vendor lock-in.
As the glue that binds everything else together, your IoT platform needs to support your workflows no matter what forms they take. This ability should include the power to transition with you when your hardware — or KPI focus — changes.
IoT architectures are as varied as the problems they help humanity solve. Which layout might best power your growth? Modular, bus-oriented designs that focus on routing information streams let users minimize deviations as they attempt to tackle big questions. This strength is particularly worth considering if you put your trust in third-party cloud software services, microservice hosting platforms, databases and Big Data tools. These components may demand unique adaptations to function as a whole.
Fortunately, robust IoT Platforms are designed to move information from place to place uniformly. They provide reliable business strategy insights regardless of the data’s contents, source or destination.
Always choose a core IoT platform that connects the dots via common standards. For instance, you’ll be able to keep things on track more easily if you don’t have to look up, duplicate and test new software recipes just to stream video or communicate with REST-conformant web apps. Build an internet of things that’s greater than the sum of its hardware by picking a platform tailored to your industry.
One of the best ways to keep a project’s scope tight and focused is to make sure you’re using your tools properly. For instance, if you adapt your platform in ways it’s not meant to be tweaked because you’re married to a specific methodology, you’ll probably have to spend more time maintaining the modifications than you might have needed to master a new workflow. Although user errors, kinks and upkeep overhead are part of every IT service, misusing your software makes those help desk tickets and service calls all the more likely.
What constitutes misuse in an arena where custom solutions and inventive hardware architectures flow like water? Even though every IoT tool is different, they all typically come with documentation, usage guidelines and notes. Heeding such warnings, tips and pointers — and finding IoT Platforms that include globally available training — are good choices.
Want to make a positive difference in how your enterprise implements IoT solutions? Tired of struggling to keep a grip on the reins as your projects threaten to veer out of control? Davra is redefining the internet of things with industry in mind, and even big names like Gartner are taking notice. Discover how to build a value-adding business app around a superior IoT Platform by trying a demo.
Brian McGlynn, Davra, COO
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