From smart homes to smartwatches, to connected devices controlling nuclear centrifuges, there’s no doubt that IoT devices are fast becoming more pervasive in people’s lives.
Gartner predicts a 32% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for IoT from 2016 to 2021, with installed devices expected to total 25.1 billion units by 2021. Online market research and business intelligence company Statista, on the other hand, predicts that the installed base for IoT devices worldwide will be 75.44 billion by 2025.
As IoT devices get deployed in business settings more and more, the discussion around IoT product lifecycle management becomes more urgent, especially in highly regulated industries.
The Importance of IoT Product Lifecycle Management
What happens to IoT technology assets as they reach various stages of their lifecycle? Who is responsible for acquiring, deploying, maintaining, replacing, and safely disposing them?
The key aspect to remember about IoT lifecycle management is that it must be a continual process, not something companies only do when something untoward happens. Smart planning benefits the bottom line by reducing unnecessary risks and wastage of resources.
Best Practices for Managing the IoT Product Lifecycle
IoT product lifecycle management is no walk in the park. There are serious challenges to contend with. Below are best practices to be successful:
1. IoT Product Discovery
Create a comprehensive list of every IoT device deployed within your organization. Include details such as the device’s name, the vendor or manufacturer, where it’s installed, its uses, maintenance and upgrade schedules, purchasing, financial, and disposal information, and so on. This way, you have full visibility into your entire IoT infrastructure.
2. IoT Product Prioritization
The same way certain hardware and software assets are more critical for keeping a business running as usual, some IoT products are simply above others in terms of importance or the need for constant monitoring. For example, a connected industrial device whose core function is to control heavy and dangerous machinery will require more monitoring than, say, an IoT device that controls the temperature of the meeting room.
3. Security and Data Privacy
As devices become more and more connected, expect that cyber attacks will become more persistent. Study attack trends and implement the necessary patches and/or security frameworks to protect your infrastructure against known and future attacks. Regularly update your devices because cybercriminals exploit vulnerabilities in old, outdated IoT products.
4. Metrics and Reporting
To understand if the IoT product lifecycle management approach you’re implementing is working, make sure that the key reporting metrics you’re tracking correlate with your business objectives. To improve operational downtime, for example, track metrics that include incident count, mean time to resolution, as well as the IoT device’s built-in failure warnings.
5. Tracking and Monitoring
When it comes to tracking and monitoring your deployed IoT products, it pays to be proactive rather than reactive. By continuously and diligently keeping track of your IoT assets, you can predict possible downtimes through historical, current, and other relevant data, allowing you to take the necessary actions to prevent serious operational interruptions.
One big upside about IoT devices is that they are connected to an ecosystem that shares and access data on behavior and usage patterns. This means one action can trigger a domino effect, making feedback instantaneously available. Use that to your advantage.
6. Automation and/or Outsourcing
In IoT lifecycle management, there are plenty of opportunities to use automation tools – from deployment to firmware upgrades, from security checks to reporting.
If you lack the manpower or expertise to perform certain functions, such as IoT maintenance, security, or even lifecycle management, outsourcing is an option to consider. Companies providing specialized IoT services are, in general, experts in their fields and can provide a full range of services that will keep you in compliance with related regulations.
7. Change Management and Implementation
Tracking, measuring, and performing the necessary maintenance and upgrades are vital IoT product lifecycle management processes. But with technology evolving rapidly, the ability to appropriately respond to changes is key to ensuring your IoT asset infrastructure is capable of serving your organization’s needs at all times.
Successfully Execute IoT Product Lifecycle Management with Dynamic Computer Corporation
At Dynamic, we know the importance of effectively managing the lifecycle of each IoT product in your IT infrastructure. IoT deployments can cost substantial sums of money, and every business should get the most value out of their technology investments.
Farida Ali is CEO and President of Dynamic Computer Corporation. She is an experienced executive with over 25 years of experience building and transforming Dynamic to be uniquely positioned as an expert technology solutions provider in highly regulated industries. Farida holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Michigan, as well as a Juris Doctor degree and membership in the State Bar of Michigan. As a certified woman-owned business and a certified minority business enterprise, Dynamic has a strong focus on diversity and inclusion, with Farida spearheading this initiative.