There are numerous companies out there with ground breaking inventions and products not connected to the internet (IoT – internet of things). Most companies are aware of the seismic change including such connectivity can bring them but are sometimes unsure how and with whom to make it all happen. The ET is more than happy to help.
Painting the scenario, because there are a multitude of industries and market sectors to which this applies, imagine you have a product from the medical/automotive/domestic … market, which gathers data and also often displays data. By giving it internet connectivity you’ll be able to the following and more:
- fault find without visiting it – from the other side of the world if you like!
- update it (base software) remotely
- asset track – if your product is sold by someone else, so you don’t know where it ends up, you’ll be able to have it tell you where it is.
- etc., etc., …………………..
- The cheapest and easiest way to get a product on the net is to use a QR code (one of those square things that’s like a barcode but more powerful – it is just a label). You don’t need APPs or anything really. The QR code has a website URL buried in it (one of your choice), and when someone scans it they are automatically taken to your website. Then you have them. All that’s needed is develop a website with the function you need it to have, and that could be really cheap. Easily the cheapest and can form an neat little asset tracker. The downside is that it isn’t possible to talk back to the device and you need someone to actively scan and engage with a website to make it useful. This can all be done with just a sticker and a website – perhaps less than £2,000
- The next level up is to use an RFID tag, like are used to scan boxes in supermarkets. These are minute little electronic chips on which small amounts of data can be held. This option is much the same as the first bullet point, but electronics can be designed such that the device can modify the data that the RFID sends – perhaps the serial number of the device or some measurement that the device makes. This method will require re-design or enhancement of the hardware electronics and perhaps a very simple APP, but the costs aren’t really that much higher than the previous item – say £5-15k. This item is like the first, but the big advantage is that the device can modify the data that’s sent.
- The next stage up is to develop proper smart technology APPs, and with this the limitations on what data can be collected and manipulated disappear – pretty much anything you want can be done. Like the other items, hardware will need to be re-developed, and additionally professional APPs will be required for Android and Apple. It can stop there, but usually it is best to finish this cycle off and develop a bespoke web presence too. This really does bring you into the IoT, but the costs must mot be underestimated. It is not difficult to chalk up a bill of £100,000 doing this, and there are yearly software maintenance costs too, perhaps £6,000/yr. The main hardware technologies for this are Bluetooth and WiFi – included in modules in the electronics hardware.