Don’t Deploy Your Infrastructure Without Answering These Questions
Don’t get overwhelmed by your deployment. Before deploying, consider these four important questions to make sure your project stays on track.
The IoT is–simply put–exciting. The prospect of adding Bluetooth beacons and all new capabilities to your infrastructure and business can seem like more than enough to create new opportunities and drive returns. But now that you’ve found your use case and are moving into the next stage, it’s important to get every last beacon in a row.
However, unless you’ve already had experience with beacon infrastructures, this can be a daunting task. You have to evaluate and take care of hardware, software, and service providers. Your short- and long-term plans need to be prepared, analyzed, and meticulously followed.
To successfully maintain or deploy your infrastructure, here’s 4 key questions to consider.
1) How will you measure success?
The end-value of beacon technology is hardly ever what it seems at first glance. For some, it will take time for beacons to create value. For others, the immediate transparency will be more than enough. So how much success in the short- or long-term does your infrastructure need to achieve in order to be profitable?
Are you looking to decrease wasted employee time? Increase equipment usage? Better understand your customers needs? Interact with customers and push sales?
All of these are great uses of beacons—and they’ll all have very different results on paper. Understand what it is you want to do and how you evaluate if you’re achieving that goal.
Evaluating your infrastructure’s success will also require a huge step back. Always consider the full price tag associated with beacons (hardware, software, deployment, service providers, and maintenance). More importantly, make full use of the beacons in order to drive returns. An infrastructure doesn’t provide value just because it’s installed. There are likely several possible uses your team hasn’t yet considered.
2) How much data do you need?
Big data—one of the trendiest uses of technology in recent years. Two common misunderstandings can occur when it comes to data: either businesses don’t even consider gathering it or they grossly overemphasize its importance.
If you are looking to generate data, beacons are one of the best tools available. They can collect real-world information about how your assets, customers, or employees really behave. But this data isn’t always useful. Collecting it, storing and analyzing it is expensive. If those actions don’t lead to returns, you shouldn’t undertake them. Conversely, in many situations, data can be the single best long-term result of a beacon infrastructure.
Businesses must determine: how valuable is data and what kind do we need?
For more on this topic, check out our extensive post on generating data.
3) What are your technical requirements?
Who are your business partners? Chances are, you aren’t creating everything from scratch. A hospital, museum, or flower shop would never create their own beacon hardware. So why would they create their own software and apps?
There are two primary types of beacon deployments: point- and grid-based. Depending on what you require, and how many beacons you intend to use, you may or may not be able to effectively deploy your infrastructure on your own. For smaller, point-based use cases, deployment is easy as one-two-stick-a-beacon-to-the-wall. In more complex, or larger, deployments, professionals may be required for planning and installation. Similarly, the app requirements, data needs, and integration of beacons with other technology all need to be weighed from the very beginning.
4) What’s the end goal?
Whether you’re deploying your first beacons, preparing solutions, or launching campaigns, the real end-goal must always be the key focus. While marketing may demand more attention here or your executives suggest more beacons there, the actual goal should come first. Because beacons are a long-term game, it’s important to remember that short-term results are great—but they’re not everything.
About to deploy your infrastructure? Need more insight on cost structure, common challenges, and best practices? Our 16-page white paper can get you set up.