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How do you jump into IoT? – By Roland Ducote

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Jobber will be focusing a series of content on the Internet of Things (IoT), which we kicked off with an article by Suzy Gutierrez that you can read here. The following article by Roland Ducote from one of our partners, Arrow Electronics, describes how Arrow has been able to find new ways to engage and help their customers using IoT. The article is a good guide for companies who are considering IoT for the same reasons. Stay engaged with Jobber as we continue to explore all aspects of IoT – security, talent, applications and more.

Author: Roland Ducote, IoT Foundry Champion at Arrow Electronics

The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing all around us and changing our lives every day.  From connected cars to smart thermometers to wearables and even more efficient water and irrigation systems, IoT is changing how we do things. This is an evolution on how data—and the things that create them—will make us more knowledgeable. This change is across many industries including healthcare, industrial, retail, energy and more, but what does a company need to do to actually jump into this new area?

Understanding the Evolution

The IoT can also be seen as an evolution of the ability of customers and technology partners to create, transmit, store and analyze data. Operational functions within organizations have used a variety of sensor technologies to collect information. We now have the ability to bring together multiple devices, speaking multiple protocols, showcasing how we can bring together different data sets into a single platform. Arrow has worked on this evolution of electronic products for decades and is excited about the new products we’ve seen on their way to market.

This is why Arrow is now providing expertise and support to IoT incubators and accelerators that are helping companies at any stage to validate product engineering and design, assess market potential and more.  Research indicates that a high percentage of IoT devices and applications from startup companies and makers will come to market in the next few years.

Arrow’s support of incubators and accelerators also applies to larger organizations that have laboratory, product development, and innovation teams, which also face similar challenges of limited resources and critical deadlines for product deployment. We take a modular approach to IoT, supporting customers with activities that extend beyond their core competencies. There is a time, place and utility element to product deployment, but the value of IoT products adds an additional layer of complexity.

Finding Balance

Due to this complexity, many companies struggle to try to bring a new IoT solution together between the operational elements of a company and the IT/infrastructure elements of the company.  In Arrow’s Phoenix integration facility, we piloted an idea for energy management based on the needs of our facility manager. We brought this to impact in less than a month, and it showcased our ability to put together a solution working with elements from both sides. Bringing together these two major factors was a delicate process, while understanding the needs of multiple groups within our organizations.

We learned a lot about the challenges that both our customers—and our customers’ customers—face while working to balance the needs of our facilities manager on the operational side with the needs of our IT organization. The execution of IoT applications in the industrial space is, at its heart, a collaborative effort between different organizations with different performance indicators. Finding the balance within the organization is critical.

Getting to Market

The development of a product go-to-market strategy and deployment methodology can be a rewarding journey. That journey and its many milestones are dynamic places where the right product and services are in the right place, at the right time and at the right location. It can be stressful and wonderfully rewarding. No day is the same, and the outcome of years of work with our customers can come down to days, hours or even minutes. We know it is a challenge to get products to market, but at Arrow, we work on solving those challenges every day.

The IoT provides companies with new solutions to support their customers. It will make our lives easier, change the way we do business and deliver economic value to those that correctly leverage its capabilities. However, the fundamentals on delivering a product to market have not changed.

Over the next few years, we are excited about the innovation that IoT will bring. Whether this comes from a small team of software developers in a large multinational corporation, or from entrepreneurs who bring their passion to reality, we plan to support them every step of the way on their journey.

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Roland DuCote

About Roland DuCote

Since 2014 Roland has represented Arrow Electronics on the board at the Colorado Clean Energy Cluster (CCEC). The CCEC is an economic development organization dedicated to innovation and entrepreneurship in the clean energy sector. He is also an Executive Advisor with TechrIoT XLR8, a program providing IoT companies resources for design validation, financing, and customer acquisition.