Costly Pitfalls to Avoid When Launching HVAC IoT Products
The path to creating successful connected products is littered with road kill. Many industry leading HVAC manufacturers stumble getting their discrete products connected and creating meaningful solutions. Without deep insight into all the potential pitfalls of launching connected products for the IoT, manufacturers are likely to make critical mistakes. Some of these mistakes can be extremely costly, in money, time, and frustration.
To help you take a smoother path to your connected products—and to prevent a “Fire, Aim, Ready” approach—here are the 7 biggest mistakes when launching into the HVAC IoT market, and how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Designing an IoT solution without identifying a specific use case
You need to be able to address: How a customer will use this particular connected product? What specific value will the new product provide? And what kinds of customers or users will appreciate this extra value enough to pay for it?
Mistake #2: Choosing hardware before choosing your IoT cloud
Choosing your hardware before choosing your IoT cloud is like buying building materials before understanding the building codes. You risk starting over again; adding significant costs and delays to your project.
Mistake #3: Failing to budget enough time for the project
A connected version of a product will require significantly more testing and refinement compared to the discrete version. Using standard IoT technologies, a single-device IoT product might take 12 to 18 months to get to market, (gateway products 18 months - 2.5 years). Choosing the Ayla IoT platform can cut those timelines to 9 to 12 months for single-device and 12 to 18 months for gateway projects. Without proper planning, you risk going over budget, or missing promised market windows, which can damages your competitiveness, reputation, and credibility.
Mistake #4: Over engineering the first version of your IoT product
For your first effort, strive for MVP (minimum viable product). By focusing on the absolute Key features that drive customer value, the product has the greatest chance for market success. Resist scope creep! Remember that your connected product will take longer to build than you could possibly envision. Scope creep will definitely extend your timeline. Simplify things, identifying a real use case and solving it with the MVP, aiming for ease of use. Get the MVP out into the market. Then, take advantage of the real-world usage data generated by your IoT product to learn and iterate. Save all those great ideas to incorporate into future iterations of the product.
Mistake #5: Neglecting to make OTA (over-the-air) communications a priority
One of the most powerful aspects of an IoT product is that you can continue to update, evolve, and improve the product long after it has been deployed. Over-the-air (OTA) communications lets you install firmware updates that add or change features, without sending a service technician to the customer site or forcing the customer to bring the product back for service. OTA has certain basic requirements, such as needing sufficient memory for future updates. That means as a manufacturer you’ll have to overcome the deep-seated training and instincts of striving for the lowest possible costs and BOM. Instead, you’ll have to design in twice the memory initially required—to create space for leveraging OTA capabilities in the future.
Mistake #6: Doing too little field testing
We recommend a minimum of three months of field testing, with four or more months for more complex IoT solutions. That way, you’ll have time not only to uncover bugs, security holes, or poor handoffs along the device-to-cloud-to-mobile-app spectrum—and it might take weeks to find them—but also to remove the problems before you launch the product. As a follow-up to Mistake #4: MVP doesn’t mean foisting buggy or poor-performing products onto customers. Achieving the “V” for “viable” requires lots and lots of field testing.
Mistake #7: Approaching the IoT like a new feature rather than a whole new category
This mistake probably should be at the top of the list, because of the importance of this fundamental shift in perspective. It’s no exaggeration to say that going from a traditional product to a connected product for the IoT changes everything. There are a number of considerations to take into account when moving to the IoT connected world. A list of these considerations can be found in the full eBook.
Solution: Turn to Ayla Networks!
Ayla works with the top HVAC manufacturers in multiple market segments to help smooth the shift from traditional products to smart connected systems. The Ayla IoT platform simplifies the inherent complexity of the IoT, so you can focus on what you do best and compete successfully in the game-changing world of connectivity.