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8 Design Principles to Stand With in The Internet of Things


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It's an exciting time in business as innovations are constantly creating new opportunities.

The internet is at the heart of these changes. Many businesses are taking advantage of the internet's online services to set up stores. We all know, for example, the benefits of Shopify, a platform that allows businesses to start their own eCommerce websites.

But what do you know about all those things connected to the internet - the Internet of Things? (IoT) We live in an increasingly interconnected world. People want instant access to the internet to send and receive data with their devices. It is where the IoT comes in. A recent survey shows that 83.72% of people worldwide own smartphones.

People use smartphones to send and receive all kinds of data via the internet. It is just one example of how the IoT impacts most people's lives. But the IoT now means much more than just the simple smartphone.

People's desire for interconnectivity is driving exciting new business innovations. These creations range from home security systems to wearable health monitors.

Is your business looking to introduce the latest IoT craze? If so, you're cashing into an ever-growing market. But IoT design is easier said than done. There are many factors to consider if you want your IoT service to work effectively.

Here are some design principles to bear in mind when working on your new IoT service.

1.     Start with Research

Every effective IoT design starts with a long period of research. Like all designs in business, you need to know your competitors, what they offer, their successes, and their failures. What works about their design, and what could be improved?

Keep on top of time management so as to thoroughly research all the areas you need. Learning different time management techniques will help.

When carrying out research, make sure you know your audience: who are they, what are their interests, and how can you deliver a service that will appeal to them?

Remember that you are not creating a physical product. Instead, you'll be creating a service within the IoT. In its most basic form, what should a service be? The answer, of course, is to make people's lives easier. Will your IoT service accomplish this? To do so, you'll need a design that is accessible and easy to navigate.

You can also use the research stage to start planning the security side of your IoT product. By carrying out threat modeling in the earliest stages, you can create a more secure design.

2.     Build a Prototype


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Every good design starts with a prototype. Building a service within the IoT is no different. In fact, it is even more critical within the framework of the IoT. Because of the IoT's ecosystem, it's tough to alter or upgrade after establishing an application. If you launch with a poor design, there's little you can do.

Instead, take time with your prototype. You can even use real time reporting analytics during testing to monitor a user live as they access your app.

Remember, this is the testing phase, giving users opportunities to spend time with your software. You'll be able to gather feedback-whether good or bad. If you run into any errors, you'll be able to iron them out during this stage.

3.     Put Security at the Heart of Your Design

If you don't look after customer data, you could get into a lot of trouble. This could mean hefty fines and a loss of customer trust. Consider all areas in which you handle customer data. For example, you'll need strong email security to stop potential hackers.

Hackers are becoming increasingly more deadly, finding new ways to breach systems. If you want customers to invest in your service, they need to feel assured that their data is safe.

It's for this reason that security should be at the heart of your design. Ensure that you take measures to minimize the risk of any data breaches. Test your systems vigorously.

People are becoming more and more aware of cybersecurity.

If any breaches occur, make sure you let customers know immediately and explain the steps you are taking to deal with the issue. Having a data breach response plan in place will help prepare you for any errors that might crop up.

4.     Bring Value to Your Customers  


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You might think you've invented the next best thing, but customers won't wait around to find out. From the get-go, your service should start making customers' lives easier.

But to bring value, you first need to focus on pain points. In simple terms, a pain point is something that inconveniences a customer in their day-to-day life. Smart lighting is one example of a product that helps reduce a pain point. Instead of getting up and turning on a light, a customer can control any light from the comfort of their couch-all they need to do is download an app.

Make access to instant relief a priority when designing your app.

5.     Think About Ease of Access

When you download an app, do you want to spend hours learning to navigate the menus? Or, would you jump straight in with little or no instruction? The answer is almost certainly the second option.

The average user is no different. Whether your IoT app is helping to operate a temperature control or a doorbell camera, it needs to be easy to manage. It means that buttons and menus should be responsive. Your design should be consistent across the app. A user shouldn't have to learn multiple interfaces.

Not only that, but your app needs to be fast. Most users will abandon a website if it takes longer than 4 seconds to load. The same goes for apps - if you want a user to continue using your service, you'll need to ensure that it's quick.

6.     Make Use of Data


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Your service will probably collect large amounts of data which can give valuable insights into how a customer uses your IoT app. This information helps improve experiences, helps you better understand your audience, and improve your marketing. Of course, you'll need a place to store it. Ensure that you have space to handle all the data you will receive.

Additionally, make sure that your data collection has a legal footing. People are becoming more aware of data privacy. It has spawned legislation such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). GDPR has painful fines for any breaches of the law. Having a DTLS protocol in place can help protect your data.

In a nutshell, data is essential, but you need to handle it legally and properly.  

7.     Consider All Devices

Today, most people don't rely on one device. Instead, people own PCs, tablets, and mobile phones. What's more, people switch between devices frequently. Customers expect you to be able to cater to these needs. Your IoT shouldn't just be available on PC but on all devices.

Remember that people will be using different operating systems (OSs). Your software will need to be compatible with all OSs. Otherwise, you're cutting yourself off from a chunk of your audience. When a user switches from one device to another, their experience should be the same.

This means that your user interface should be consistent and familiar. Don't start switching color schemes or layouts.

8.     Think About the Physical Product

It's easy to get carried away with app design and forget that an actual physical product will also be involved. There's no use having a fantastic app if your product isn't up to scratch. Whatever product you're designing will need the proper architecture to carry out the services you aim to provide.

When designing the physical aspect of your design, consider the following factors.

Power: Is your product hooked up to mains, or will it need charging? Your device will need to manage power so that it doesn't overheat. If your product relies on batteries or charging, it will need to have sufficient battery life so that you don't frustrate customers.

Firmware: Your firmware controls your IoT devices. You'll need to write your firmware to ensure stability within your device. It will need to optimize bandwidth so that it can communicate effectively with the cloud. You'll need proper error recovery in place if anything does go wrong.

Cost: Certain pieces of hardware will cost more than others. Have you budgeted effectively? It's always better to spend more and guarantee quality than gain a poor reputation for creating a shoddy product.

Take Your Time with Your IoT Product


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The IoT is an exciting world that is ever-growing. Now is one of the best times to invest in this market-people are eager for innovation. If you've got an idea for an IoT product that can make aspects of customers' lives easier, you hit the jackpot. But just because you have a good idea doesn't mean you should rush headfirst into releasing your product.

As we've explored here, IoT design is complex. There are many factors to consider. Don't forget the importance of research. The more you know your audience and understand your product, the greater your chance of success.

So, if you've got a good idea, don't shy away from it. Take your time with your IoT product - you might be onto the next big thing.



Severine Hierso

Severine Hierso 

Severine Hierso is EMEA Senior Product Marketing Manager for RingCentral Office, the leader in customer experience analytics and cloud communications solutions, passionate about creating value, differentiation and messaging, ensuring a better experience for customers and partners. She has gained extensive international Product Marketing, Market Research, Sales Enablement and Business development experience across SaaS, Telecommunications, Video Conferencing and Technology sectors within companies such as Sony, Cisco, Cogeco Peer 1 and Dimension Data/NTT. Severine Hierso also published articles for domains such as Stevie Awards and Freelance Writing Gigs.

Published Friday, April 29, 2022 7:30 AM by David Marshall
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