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Many businesses, and sometimes whole industries are now trying to assess the opportunities provided by the Internet of Things, Industrial Internet, Industrie 4.0 – or however we want to call ubiquitous connectivity, data storage and computing capabilities appearing in more and more mundane things and data centers around us.

With experience of connecting and managing millions of things since 2001, we have concluded that in order to launch an IoT-enabled (or even just globally connected) product, there are three critical success factors which must be taken care of:

1. Scalability, both technical and commercial. If you aim for the global market, you must prepare to scale your IoT backend quickly and seamlessly, without introducing glitches and meltdowns to your customers, even when your marketing team succeeds to get your product or service featured on CNN. Commercially, you must make sure that the business model still works when there are a few million things sending data back to you. Calculate this with your existing cloud provider – you might be surprised how prices surge when data traffic reaches the gigabit range. Always watch your profit margin, even though provider costs seem negligible in the beginning.

2. Fault tolerance. IoT products are new, and you’re presenting the first impression to most of your customers. Make sure your provider is prepared to serve each of your connected customers simultaneously from redundant data centers, preferably with few hundred kilometers in between. Traditional telecom outages might be commonplace, but real-world, day-to-day IoT product users will be much less forgiving.

3. Global coverage. Even if you’ve been selective with sales regions before, an IoT product may experience sudden demand on a different continent than you’re used to. Make sure that your IoT provider is connected in a world-class way, peering with Tier 1 capacity providers and located close to Internet exchanges.

These imperatives are even more relevant with mission-critical services such as emergency services, personnel access control and military applications. We are on the verge of a new industrial revolution, so let’s not disappoint our customers.


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