Cons of Building Your Own IoT Platform
1. Higher Costs
Building a DIY IoT platform has some downsides as well. The most obvious one is that it costs a lot more. As Daniel Elizalde puts it, “You CAN’T build an IoT platform for less than what it would cost to adopt a commercial one.”
Let’s take a moment to consider what goes into an IoT platform. You need to buy tons of hardware, write lots of code, and payroll all your people. Depending on how much you want to build from scratch, this can easily reach into the millions before you even have a minimum viable product (MVP). Plus, don’t forget about the ongoing maintenance costs for the product’s entire lifespan.
2. Slower Time to Market
Then there’s the corollary, time to market. Building something from scratch takes a lot longer than buying something that’s ready to go (or at least that’s ready to tweak and adjust), and IoT is no different. Prototyping, developing, debugging, and troubleshooting always take longer than you think. It’ll probably be a year or two before your product is in manufacturing.
Over that time, your company has to shoulder all the costs without seeing any return. On top of that, you’ll also bear the opportunity cost of devoting time and resources elsewhere.
3. Higher Risks
Finally, building a platform brings higher risk. This process is riddled with challenges, and the results don’t lie. Gartner reports that 75% of IoT projects take twice as long as planned. Cisco reports only 26% of surveyed companies said their IoT initiatives were a “complete success,” while 60% report failed IoT projects during the early proof of concept stages.
It’s no secret that getting an IoT system to work isn’t easy. Even seasoned IoT developers encounter problems all the time. Building an IoT platform entails risks that span improper security practices to failed GDPR compliance to misconfigured firmware that leads to bricked IoT devices. Realizing one of these incidents can spell instant disaster for a project.
Conclusion: To Build or Not to Build?
Ultimately, deciding to build an IoT platform often comes down to finances. To this end, Rich Mironov warns us against the DIY illusion, “the idea that broadly available commercial products don’t give us exactly what we want, but our internal team can whip up just the right thing.” While the benefits are there, they usually don’t justify the costs.
It’s this reasoning that leads Very's Daniel Lindeman to a succinct insight:
“Unless the IoT infrastructure is the product you sell, buying will almost always win out.”
As long as you’re working with a trusted company and sourcing high-quality infrastructure, it makes more sense to capitalize on other peoples’ investments while adding your own functionality on top.
That said, we’re not here to dissuade anyone. Innovators are crucial in the IoT ecosystem, and this includes engineers who work on the most foundational infrastructure all the way to those who develop the high-level IoT applications with which our users interact.
What is clear, however, is that specialization and collaboration are the keys to success, so we want to pick our battles wisely.
At the end of the day, there’s a lot of ways to approach an IoT project. This ranges from a fully customized IoT technology stack to outsourcing the entire project.
We work closely with our partners to build on that groundwork to create innovative solutions. It’s quicker, more efficient, and cheaper than a full DIY. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel.
Want to learn more about how our agile team creates awesome IoT solutions? Contact us to schedule a call today.