Does It Really Have to Take 41 Months to Bring Connected Devices to Market?

According to a recent report, it’s taking much longer to launch IoT products today compared to even just a few years ago, an 80% increase since 2020. What’s causing the delays, and what can be done about it?
July 3, 2024

5

min read

Does It Really Have to Take 41 Months to Bring Connected Devices to Market?

According to a recent report, it’s taking much longer to launch IoT products today compared to even just a few years ago. In 2020, the average time to bring an IoT product to market was 23 months. By 2023, this ballooned to 41 months, an 80% increase. Despite advancements in technology – it seems that stricter regulations, increased focus on security, and more complex use cases are extending development timelines.

The argument can be made that this extended time to market isn't entirely a bad thing. It reflects a more cautious approach that prioritizes security and user needs – and could ultimately lead to more secure and feature-rich products that better address customer requirements.

At the same time, the fact is that today’s technology market really doesn’t wait for stragglers. So, what’s causing delays in IoT time to market (TTM), and what can be done about it?

What’s Driving Long IoT TTM?

The report found that companies surveyed required 18.5 months on average to move from project kickoff to proof of concept (PoC) – much of this time spent on the rather amorphous tasks of developing the product business case and getting stakeholders aligned. Following this, the average company took another 22.8 months to proceed from PoC to the first paying customer.

The takeaway is that despite advancements in IoT technology, increased industry knowledge, and past experiences that should streamline development - it still takes companies 80% longer to bring IoT devices to market. This seems counterintuitive. Faster technology and improved tools should shorten the development cycle. A more knowledgeable industry and consumers should lead to quicker project adoption. The maturing IoT sector's experience should translate to more efficient processes. So why the slowdown? The reasons, the survey found, are fourfold:

  1. Project complexity – Modern IoT devices include more features than ever before - extra sensors, local data processing, integration with existing systems, and much more. This makes the development process objectively more complex and time-consuming.
  2. Regulatory hurdles - New regulations focusing on privacy, security, and sustainability require manufacturers to invest more time and resources to make sure their devices comply. And with penalties for noncompliance growing increasingly strict – companies are choosing to err on the side of caution.
  3. Higher emphasis on security - Security breaches have made companies more cautious. They are implementing stricter security measures and testing throughout the development process to make sure their devices are less vulnerable.
  4. More advanced use cases - Companies are going beyond basic features and creating devices that address more complex needs. This requires more research, development, and testing, adding to the time it takes to bring these devices to market.

Does it REALLY Have to Take So Long?

The short answer is: no. It really does not.

The potential of IoT devices is vast, and long TTM is a major hurdle to product viability. Today, there are many ways to streamline your IoT project's journey to market. Some key strategies include:

Define Your Value Proposition

Before diving into development, clearly define the purpose of your connected devices. Is it for Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) applications, allowing for proactive maintenance? Or is it to offer an as-a-Service model, where revenue can grow from enabling digital licenses to premium features, subscriptions, ongoing services, or data insights? Understanding this early on shapes your development trajectory. Focusing on a specific use case allows you to prioritize features and functionalities, reducing development complexity. 

Embrace Agile Development with Pilots

Instead of a lengthy development cycle, adopt an agile approach. Start with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) focused on core functionalities essential for your target use case. Conduct a pilot program with a limited number of devices (for two to three months) for real-world testing and feedback. This allows for early identification of issues and course correction before full-scale development. Data and user feedback from the pilot inform further development, ensuring your final product meets market needs.

Build for Scalability from the Beginning

While starting small, your initial design should consider future scalability. Choose modular architectures and open standards to allow for easier integration of additional features and functionalities later on. This way, you can expand your offering without starting from scratch.

Build vs. Buy Decisions

Carefully evaluate the "build vs. buy" decision for your IoT cloud platform. Consider readily available off-the-shelf solutions that already have the built tools to connect, secure and commercialize your IoT devices. This can free up development resources and expertise to focus on your core value proposition and innovative features.

Prioritize Security by Design

Security is paramount in IoT, yet addressing security concerns doesn't have to slow you down. Implement security measures from the design stage itself. Secure coding practices, encryption protocols, and robust authentication systems are key. Consider leveraging pre-built security frameworks and certified components to expedite this process. Partnering with security experts can further expedite secure development practices.

How Xyte Can Help

Manufacturers and OEMs facing sluggish IoT device launches can achieve dramatic time-to-market improvements with Xyte's servitization platform. By way of example, Xyte customer Middle Atlantic leveraged Xyte to turbocharge development and deployment. While building their solution in-house was an option, Xyte offered a faster path with pre-built functionalities that addressed Middle Atlantic's customer needs.

Within months, Xyte was powering Middle Atlantic's RackLink Cloud platform, enabling remote monitoring and management of their units. This not only benefited customers with features like reduced truck rolls and proactive maintenance, but also provided Middle Atlantic with valuable data for future development. Xyte's pre-built solutions and rapid deployment capabilities can significantly shorten the time it takes manufacturers and OEMs to launch competitive IoT devices.

“Xyte helped us deploy a world-class solution in a matter of months. If we had done this ourselves, it would have taken us years to get this off the ground. We were able to provide something that delights our customers…in the competitive landscape, we needed something we could rapidly deploy, and that’s what Xyte enabled us to do.” -- Shane Roma, Middle Atlantic Product Manager

To learn more about how Xyte can help your company streamline IoT device development and shorten time to market, contact us today!

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