Why Do IoT Projects Fail and Why Does Wittra’s Approach Succeed? The market has continued to see little improvement in the success rates of IoT projects. The hype and the potential of massive efficiency and productivity improvements promised by the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) remains keenly pursued.
Why then given the desire and ambition for adoption are we continuing to see such a high rate of project failure? By observing the classical "hype cycle" illustrated below we very clearly see the fragmentation of the market. Many providers are focused on offering a single IoT technology to customers and expect a "one size fits all" approach to many and varied use cases; it is the classic case of trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole.
Why Do IoT Projects Fail and Why Does Wittra’s Approach Succeed?
One of the fundamental issues is that every wireless technology has its pros and cons relative to a particular use case. Wireless technologies ALWAYS involve trade-offs in range, data rate, penetration capability through structures, power efficiency and therefore battery life. The laws of physics dictate these constraints and no amount of marketing spin can change that.
Because development of silicon chips for wireless devices is such a capital-intensive process, it is logical to expect vendors to loudly and endlessly beat their own drum in the market place. During a recent panel discussion at the Hardware Pioneers event in London on ‘Connecting the Future’, standardisation, collaboration and unification were words used on numerous occasions during discussion. The panel was made up of esteemed influencers from Silicon Labs, Synaptics and Raspberry Pi who all expressed their opinion and views as to the future trajectory of the IoT and its associated technologies and standards. Standardisation, collaboration and unification were overshadowed by a self-regarding commercial focus on the core products/silicon available from their respective product line-ups.
Yes, Silicon Labs are a major contributor to GitHub with Thread. Yes, Synaptics offer market leading solutions in Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.x and L1+L5 dual frequency GPS and we all know the strength of Raspberry Pi and the colossal growth they are seeing withing the industrial space.
Yet, IoT is failing to achieve its full potential, the siloed behaviour of the market constantly approaching each request in isolation is a key contributor. We see vendors pushing their solutions even when their technology is not necessarily the best fit for the customer. There are many single use-case deployments where the solution deployed can often offer a good fit and appear to meet the needs of the customer’s requirements... but, 12 months later when other use cases are looking to be addressed the initial investment can seem ill-considered. Technology limitations and an inability to expand to meet further use case requirements are common occurrences.
We must look beyond just the current needs being addressed e.g., an application to monitor equipment today may be being solved through LPWAN, but, what if they need to include asset tracking tomorrow covering both indoor and outdoor environments? What if 3D positioning is required? How do we remove the friction of adding more functionality? The market needs and will demand a truly unified approach in a single technology solution avoiding the siloed deployments which remain common place.
We can quote many real-life examples of this and we will illustrate our point using Bluetooth (BLE) as the technology in question. Do not misunderstand us, we are NOT bagging Bluetooth, it is a truly wonderful technology for many short-range data transfer applications! We are simply relaying what we have seen first-hand in a number of industrial customers.
A large Expo Centre (230,000 square metres) required 1,400 BLE beacons for coverage (in fact these only covered 130,000 square metres) for asset tracking on the site. Again, the economics simply did not add up.
In contrast, Wittra has provided a wireless IoT network in both these customer cases which provides both asset tracking and sensor data in one technology deployment, for less than 20% of the total cost of the Bluetooth solution.
This might sound exaggerated, but it is simply the result of choosing a wireless technology which fits the customer's use case, while also satisfying the economic objectives. In addition, the Wittra approach is future proof allowing the possibility of mixing different wireless technologies through the Wittra Unified Gateway, new use cases are highly likely to be covered with very little additional investment.
There will never be a single unifying standard covering all use cases, open standards will remain a key success factor and IoT should talk IP. It would be naive not to believe that large corporations manufacturing silicon and chips will not be focused inwardly on their commercial targets and the function of unification will continue to lie with IoT solutions provider such as Wittra.