These 4 pitfalls doom most IoT initiatives. Here’s the secret to success.
Don’t get caught flying too close to the sun

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In Greek mythology, Daedalus used wax and feathers to craft a set of wings for his son, Icarus. The gift came with a warning – if Icarus flew too close to the sun, the wings would melt. The boy was exhilarated by the feeling of flight, and as he soared higher, the wings liquefied. Icarus fell into the sea and drowned, a victim of his own extreme ambition and misguided enthusiasm.

Flying too close to the sun is an apt way to describe most Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives. The truth is, most early attempts at IoT projects fail.


It’s true. Without the enterprise architecture experience required to stand up a successful IoT initiative, your organization’s first IoT project is likely to flop. So, what do organizations looking to jump into digitization, connectivity, and automation need to avoid to be successful?

Here are four key factors that cause IoT initiatives to fail – and their antidotes.

1. Lack of skilled professionals

IoT is still in its infancy. It can be an arduous task to find experts who are proficient in planning a cradle-to-grave deployment of an IoT project. Most organizations try to simply upskill their existing talent pool. But this tactic often fails.

According to the 2021 IoT Signals Report, 30% of surveyed organizations haven’t pursued additional IoT projects because they are still working to implement their current IoT solutions. Although companies want to leverage IoT more, they are faced with difficult technical challenges:

  • 24% won’t explore IoT because they lack the required technical proficiency.
  • 23% don’t have enough deployment training.
  • 26% can’t provide resources to help skill up their professionals.

Progress has been slow. A 2022 report shows lack of in-house IoT skills remains the biggest barrier to entry for 37% of surveyed organizations.

So how do we solve this? You need to have a trusted group of advisors and work with channel partners who have experience with your IoT use case.

2. Insufficient strategic planning

When planning IoT initiatives, experts sometimes get so caught up in the novelty of their idea that they fail to outline a clear plan to achieve their mission. Successful IoT projects begin with a discovery phase where ideas are vetted against defined business goals, expectations, and organizational capabilities.

Here are some areas to consider as part of your detailed IoT plan:

  • What are the possible use cases?
  • What types of devices can be used?
  • Which existing devices should be incorporated into the IoT network?
  • Where will the data be stored and analyzed?
  • Do we need cloud services?
  • What analytics should be made available and in what form?

3. Failure to make a long-term commitment

With IoT technology changing virtually every day, obsoletion is a real threat – your solution may no longer be viable by the time it is fully baked. You will need to embrace a visionary strategy that allows your tech to be ever evolving.

Furthermore, the complexity that comes with successfully launching an IoT project can cause long-term challenges if not addressed early on, according to Kore Wireless. In fact, Kore indicated that 60% of all IoT initiatives stall at the proof of concept stage, and only 26% of surveyed organizations have implemented an IoT initiative that they would consider a complete success.

To join this victorious group, the key is having both an adaptable and far-sighted perspective. It is fundamental to operate with focus and incorporate only the critical elements that impact your IoT project’s outcome. By staying nimble and modifying your behavior, you can better exploit your technology to serve your business needs for the long term.

4. Inadequate understanding of IoT cybersecurity and connectivity

If IoT devices are susceptible to attack, they are useless for your organization. Imagine a manufacturing plant sets up an IoT deployment to monitor temperature, pressure, and vibration, only to have the system compromised when hackers exploit network vulnerabilities. The plant manager relies on IoT sensor data to make decisions, and now that data is gone.

One of the best ways to secure IoT devices is to segment them within your network. Cybersecurity teams call this practice sandboxing. This allows your IT team to inspect connectivity issues across individual devices.

IoT’s future success is handcuffed to security. As networking and connectivity evolve, security standards and compliance will also mature. Organizations like the IoT Security Foundation have developed best practices for IoT deployments with respect to security.

But until there are mandatory IoT security standards for connectivity and networking, development teams and leaders need to focus on building their own security protocols. This type of agile thought leadership will ensure security remains at the forefront of your IoT design process.

Key takeaways for success

IoT initiatives cannot be created in a silo. Instead, IoT requires the whole organization to be holistically involved to be successful. Drafting a clear success plan is crucial, but that also means recognizing your organization’s skill gaps once you understand what’s needed to build, deploy, and scale your IoT initiative.

Additionally, your organization needs to be fully committed for the long term. Lack of knowledge and insight can cause organizations to bail on IoT initiatives before they take flight. Security will be at the forefront of IoT projects for the foreseeable future, and with new exploits discovered almost daily, solid expertise in cybersecurity is essential to help you succeed.

SHI has the collective experience at every phase to architect, implement, and manage IoT projects. Our experts can help you avoid common mistakes and set you up for success. As a global organization with a broad portfolio of technical expertise and partner relationships, SHI is well-positioned to develop an IoT strategy that works for you.

Ready to learn more about how to bring your IoT goals to fruition? Check out our ebook, Empower your IoT at the edge and transform how you innovate, or contact our ridiculously helpful team today!