3 Essentials for Delivering Value with IoT

Everywhere you look, you see smart products. And connected devices.

The Internet of Things is everywhere.

Whether you call it smart or connected or IoT or something else, these products are becoming ubiquitous. From a smart home or office to a wearable device to data-collecting sensors helping your business, companies are releasing IoT products and projects at a dizzying rate.

If you’re a business leader, you may be thinking that it’s time for your business to join the party.

That may be true.


Simply coming up with an IoT project or product idea isn’t enough. You need to make sure you’re delivering value to your customers with a product, or to your business with a project.

And that’s no guarantee.

In Wired’s 2017 preview, writer Klint Finley predicted that the term “Internet of Things” would die this year, because it has already been corrupted by so many poorly designed products. Here’s how he captured the pressing need for value:

The Internet of Things—or whatever you want to call it—has the potential to save precious resources, spot and fight pollution, and help people lead healthier, safer lives. But adding internet remote control to every single product on the market won’t necessarily help us get there. What we need are thoughtful, affordable, durable devices that actually, y’know, make our lives better. A new name, and a renewed sense of purpose, could be just what the Internet of Things needs.

I found it pretty ironic that one of the first tweets I saw after reading this article was about this product. Maybe someone will find value in a connected hairbrush, but count me and my Great Clips haircut out.

We’re at the point know where any smart or connected retail product needs to create value for customers. The same is true for IoT projects your business undertakes. So let’s think through value from an IoT-centric perspecitve. Here are three essentials that every IoT device needs in order to be valuable—no matter what kind of connected or smart device it is.


A smart device can connect in multiple ways:

  • Wifi
  • Bluetooth
  • Near-field communication
  • Cellular Data

You’ll want to make sure that your device connects in a reliable way. So test it in different settings, and plan for a failsafe. If the WiFi network isn’t available, then enable Bluetooth. If your product will hit many different settings, go ahead and add a bit of cost for an ever-present cellular data connection.

Many different choices can work — just make sure that you find the right option for your particular project and its particular use cases.


It’s not enough for a device to connect. Most smart devices also need to be controllable to truly benefit clients.

Obviously, web interfaces and mobile apps are good ways to do this. For example, my family got a Honeywell thermostat that we could control through a mobile app. This kind of simple control was a welcome addition to our home.

At least, it should be simple. If it’s not, your product could become a punchline — like this teakettle that failed on the control front. Publicity like this can kill your product, and so you must make sure that your traditional controls work.

But as you’re planning your connected device, it’s not enough anymore to create a website or mobile app You’ll want to think through connections to voice control devices like the Amazon Echo or Google Home.

These devices are new, and they may not be now what they end up being. But even at this early stage in their development, users will be frustrated if they can’t use their voice-activated devices to play music on speaker or control lights and temperature or do whatever else your product is promising to do.

(Bonus pro tip: If you have an Echo or Echo Dot, ask Alexa if she likes the Sugar Hill Gang. You’re welcome.)


October 21, 2016 is a day that should change the way you look at an IoT product forever. That day, a massive cyberattack took down websites and web applications around the world.

This attack was a DDoS attack that used connected devices—primarily security cameras—to flood Dyn’s DNS servers with traffic. Because Dyn is one of the biggest DNS providers in the world, the impact of this was massive. Netflix, Twitter, Easy, Airbnb, Reddit, Spotify, Amazon Web Services, and countless others were affected.

Dyn’s analysis showed that the attack happened because of vulnerabilities in security of some IoT devices. Basically, hackers took control of devices and used them as weapons in their plan to shut down huge swaths of the internet. At the time, it was the largest DDoS attack in history.

As Brian Barrett of Wired explained the implications of this shutdown, he made a provocative statement:

The Internet of Things has gotten out of hand. Alongside devices where “smart” makes sense, like security cameras, are items that have no defensible reason to be on the internet, such as refrigerators, ovens, and washing machines. Even Barbie’s Dreamhouse is a smart home.

Here’s why this is a security issue—companies who see potential in the IoT market have rushed to launch products, even though they don’t completely understand all of the implications of connecting devices. As Barrett puts it, “Not all of these companies are skilled at connecting appliances and other electronics to the dangerous wonderland that is the internet. Fortunately for them, competence has not been a barrier to entry.”

But attacks like the one in October are going to change this reality. The risk of launching a product will be that can be taken over will become a legal liability issue. Do you want major companies suing your company because your product was easily exploitable?

It’s high time to get ahead of this trend by considering security with any smart device or connected product your company produces.


An IoT product, in the end, is just like any other product or service a business tries to sell.

It’s not enough to have a great idea.
Or to just have beautiful design and innovative functionality.
It’s not enough for it to be reliable.
It has to deliver value, time after time.

So take a step back from the frenzy around IoT devices and make sure that you’re delivering value and that you’re guaranteeing value through the essentials of connectivity, controls, and security.

Project CTA

Looking to bring your ideas to life?

We are committed to guiding you towards the best solution for your business.

Schedule a Call With Us

About Worthwhile Storyteller

We'll never tell you a lie, but we might tell you a success story that protects the intellectual property of our clients and partners. Our Worthwhile Storyteller is an amalgamation of all of our thoughts, experience, and expertise brought together to give you the facts about our relentless improvement in the software development space.