Challenges in Large-Scale IoT Internet of Things

Challenges in Large-Scale IoT Internet of Things

Recently, the Taipei Hardware Massive group welcomed Allen Houng, who discussed the challenges startups face with large-scale IoT hardware. Allen himself is an entrepreneur, with lots of experience with international markets. He happens to be the cofounder of Loopd, a U.S.-based company that specializes in deploying IoT solutions for huge clients like Cisco and Intel.

Key Takeaways

1) Dedicated IoT Devices Give You More Control 

When you’re first-hand creating your own IoT device, you get more control over your users’ experiences. When you’re working on something that’s not hardware, like an app or software platform, etc. you lose this control, because you can’t change the behavior of a device. 

2) Problems with IoS and Android

When making something that interacts with IoS and Android, there are many challenges. IoS is hit-or-miss when it comes to background scanning, etc. Once you put your iPhone to sleep mode, you’re hoping that it may connect with something around you. Because of security issues, iOS also does not allow you to read actual Mac addresses. This can become a problem for your hardware. Android and IoS both have pros and cons when it comes to wireless technology, but for Android, it’s really hard, because Android has different hardware throughout its entire ecosystem, so you never know what chip set it’s using for Bluetooth, etc. It’s hard to get consistent performances using Android. If you’re creating hardware that communicates with mobile devices, keep this mind. 

3) Wireless is Hard to Debug

Bluetooth interferes with bluetooth. You have to think of how much interference your device is going to come across. Since wireless isn’t a tangible thing, it can be difficult to debug. You also have to expect the transmission of wireless. Will there be obstacles that keep your device from working, when the wireless service is effected?

4) Hardware Test Environments

With large-scale IoT development, it can be hard to test the environments your users will encounter. How do you mimic all of these different surroundings that your users will be experiencing? How can you guarantee your item works continuously? 

5) Manufacturing Woes

Quality control is important, especially on large-scale. Little things add up and you often discover many problems when you actually get the product in your hands. It’s not like software, where you can automatically fix a bug for every user everywhere. If a consumer gets a buggy or broken piece of hardware, they just have to live with it until a new version comes out, sometimes months later. Maybe your device falls apart. When you start hardware development, you have to be careful. If you get it wrong, you have thousands of units that are useless.

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