Build vs. Buy Your IoT Platform?

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Should you build or buy your IoT platform? When designing, building and shipping connected products, there is a lot to consider. The cloud enables all sorts of experiences that were never possible with static, unconnected devices. On the flip side, connectivity to the Internet can mean risk and high support costs over the lifetime of the product, making the business case for connected devices potentially unfeasible.

If cost, time to market or even cloud competency are concerns, partnering with an IoT platform provider or using a well vetted cloud framework may be the answer. In order to explore the pros and cons of build vs. buy, let’s look at a specific product example, connected thermostats.

What Are the Benefits of a Connected Device — For the Manufacturer and the Consumer?

Manufacturers have greater control over and usage insights into connected devices. From the device maker's perspective the connected thermostat enables:

  • The ability to enable remote monitoring and control of the device

  • The ability to distribute new firmware and features to the product

  • The ability to collect usage metrics and insights

  • The ability to remotely monitor product performance and apply fixes or alert users when necessary

  • The ability to integrate with other systems such as Alexa, Google Home, etc.

From the consumer perspective, they have the freedom to manage and monitor the thermostat from just about anywhere. Activities such as turning up the heat before arriving home can be done remotely. Even better, these activities can be proactively automated, so when the individual walks in the door, the house is warmed to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

IoT Connectivity Can Be Expensive, So Can Developing the IoT Platform From the Ground Up

What becomes evident in the planning and design phase is that there is a lot to managing connected devices in the cloud, and potentially a lot of associated expense in terms of up front investment as well as ongoing costs. Some example requirements include user permission management, monitoring and managing up-time and down time, cloud service maintenance, and integration with third party players such as Alexa and Google Home.  And what about the mobile application and associated services to provide users with remote access? 

In short, developing a platform that provides core connectivity to connected things, and doing it in a secure and agnostic way, presents many technical hurdles.

Should you Build or Buy Your IoT Platform?

For many device makers, the first instinct is to build the IoT platform themselves. This is for a number of reasons such as concerns over security, the belief that they have unique business requirements or customer use cases that have not been solved for, etc. And, for such a mission critical function, the dependency on a third party may seem risky.

However, what manufacturers often find is that the chasm between a cloud prototype (which is easy) and a world class, secure, scalable production worthy platform is huge.  Certainly years in the making if you're starting from scratch.

Clearly, building and maintaining a cloud platform of this ilk requires a huge up front investment in time and money not to mention expertise.

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What are the Benefits of IoT Platform as a Service?

What device makers inevitably find is that developing an IoT cloud platform is a difficult and dangerous undertaking - chock full of unanticipated expenses and challenges - often resulting in products that are late to market and expensive to support.

But these pitfalls can be avoided.  Using the Yonomi Thin Cloud IoT platform can help achieve great cost savings by utilizing world class, proven technology for the low level device and user management services while still enabling you to add on the custom features that distinguish your product.

In this fast paced environment, time to market is key and the cost of delaying a product launch can mean millions in lost opportunity.

The fact is, custom built cloud platforms from scratch will take years, whereas kick-starting with an existing framework can shorten that effort massively - in some cases to mere days or weeks.

It's a question of Core vs. Context.  Is building and operating a 24/7/365, highly secure Cloud platform your Core?  Or is it the design and development of compelling smart devices?

If you want to discuss the possibilities of deploying your connected product with Yonomi Thin Cloud, please reach out. Need more?

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