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IoT stocktaking and tips for newcomers from Indian startups

Vinay Dora
1st Sep 2015
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Earlier this year, we caught up with some of the movers and shakers from the Indian Internet of Things (IoT) startup space, to hear their 2014 experiences and expectations from 2015.

(Read: Will Internet of Things give India wings this 2015?)

We reached out to some of these startup folks as well as IoT ecosystem promoters to do some mid-year assessment and also requested them to share some advice for IoT beginners. Here’s more:

yourstory_IOT

Learning from the IoT space this year

  1. There’s a difference between developing by assuming a market need to actually experiencing a problem and then finding a solution.
  2. User-focussed solutions that solve a real-world challenge are highlighted more than the product or technology behind them.
  3. In order to expedite the IoT product development cycle, it helps spending time looking for suitable partners - those from development to manufacturing.
  4. More startups are making use of services from big companies. For instance, leveraging cloud platform as a service has helped many startups focus on their actual hardware.
  5. There seems a dramatic rise in the number of individuals and startups who are now comfortable with building product prototypes.
  6. The IoT product demos, too, seem more polished these days when compared to those the same time last year, during which building even a PoC (Proof of Concept) was uncommon.

Other IoT trends from the year so far

  1. A lot more startups are taking the rewards-based crowd funding route for validating their market, receiving product pre-orders, helping plan their inventory and, in the process, raising funds without the need to give up equity.
  2. Crowd funding aside, there’s also a trend of seasoned investors warming up to the idea of investing in hardware startups. The IoT-focussed incubators’ investing early in such startups has helped spur this development.
  3. In terms of technology, a lot of startups are using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to communicate with sensors as most smartphones these days have support for BLE. The usage of Zigbee sensors has been picking up too.

Tips for newcomers keen on exploring the IoT space

  1. Equip yourself beyond regular college syllabus or work assignments. Experiment with different projects and pick up additional skills.
  2. While the opportunities in IoT are extensive, finding the right product-market fit, however, could take some time and effort.
  3. It helps staying updated with the latest trends and developments in the IoT space - startup shares and learning on platforms like YourStory can give you an edge.
  4. Get hands-on with IoT starter-kits like Arduino and Raspberry Pi. Think of them like Lego and start playing with the various components.

(Also Read: New to the Internet of Things? Here’s what you need to know to get started)

  1. Join IoT communities and start sharing even your small efforts; these may well lead to potential collaborators to work with on future projects.
  2. Avoiding developing from scratch saves a lot of time. Make use of development boards like Arduino, Raspberry Pi or Beagle Bone for your initial development.
  3. For communicating with sensors, one can use BLE, Zigbee or Wifi. Read more on wireless connectivity and their IoT application areas.
  4. If your idea has to make use of the cloud, explore cloud platforms like IBM Bluemix, Microsoft Azure, Google IoT Cloud Server, Parse and other Open Source options.
  5. Start building your IoT projects portfolio, and document them on Instructables, Github or any other similar platforms. These updates could be more valuable than a regular CV with it comes to IoT opportunities.
  6. Sometimes, it helps putting aside technology for a while and thinking about actual problems one encounters and then designing a solution - with or without IoT.

In conclusion, most IoT enthusiasts agree that besides staying updated with technologies and connecting with IoT thought-leaders, one needs to find ways to engage regularly with potential end-users; after all their problem is what we wish to solve.

Do you have more learning and starter tips to share? Let us know.

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