How to develop an IoT strategy that sticks

I remember when IoT was nothing more than a vague notion, a pie everyone was hungry for but had no idea how to slice into. While IoT is moving from concept to reality there is still plenty of confusion on how to generate value from it. How can we befriend IoT?

Warren Chaisatien presents IoT strategy for service providers

Global Director of IoT Customer Success Marketing

Global Director of IoT Customer Success Marketing

Category & Hashtags

Read on for some of the key considerations to consider and make sure you check out our new handbook series to help you get started.

I was recently speaking with a global communication service provider, and this is how they summed up their IoT strategy: we throw it at the wall like spaghetti and see what sticks, due to the lack of definitive road maps. Although pasta-flinging might work for some, the risks are too high to recommend it in the long-term.

Success begins with strategy, a thorough, well hashed-out one. It might take a bit longer than whipping up pasta al pomodoro, but it definitely increases the stick-ability of your strategy. Enough of the pasta metaphors. To help develop an IoT strategy consider these four factors before entering an IoT market:

  • Go-to-market challenges
  • Deployment challenges
  • Market maturity
  • Device management

Let’s kick off with go-to-market challenges. This is about assessing the level of future complexity. Does your solution require an ecosystem involving numerous partners, each needing to be managed? Do you sell directly to the customer, or rely on external channels? Can you use tried and tested business models to monetize your solution, or do you need to create new ones? Are you planning on operating in a market with high levels of regulation? The more regulations, the more barriers. Bear in mind that markets with minimal regulations allow you greater freedom to test the waters before diving head first.

Go to market challenges for IoT strategy. Ecosystem complexity, customer complexity, regulations complexity, and business model maturity.

Secondly, consider the deployment process in your specific market. Each market comes with its own requirements for throughput, latency, reliability, availability and area coverage (local or wide area). Autonomous vehicles versus a connected building solution is a good example of this. Autonomous vehicles bring high deployment challenges while the deployment challenges for a connected building solution are much lower. Assess the specific combination of deployment requirements in the markets that interest you.

Deployment challenges for CSP IoT strategy. Throughput and latency requirements, reliability and availability, local area or wide area.

These two challenge areas cannot be considered without also bearing in mind market maturity. By entering a mature market, you get a lot for free – standardized ways of working, and proven solutions and approaches. With one drawback: competition. Depending on your capabilities, a wise move may be to establish yourself in a new market. And by partnering with a mature (experienced) customer, even immature markets might be readily accessible.

Market Maturity and enterprise size considerations

IoT strategy and market maturity for small/medium and large enterprises.


Once you assess the points above, I hope you find opportunity awaits you. Now it’s time to ensure you make the most of it – and that’s where interoperability enters the scene. Consider this: an estimated 5.7 million devices will be connected each and every day between now and 2022. Deploying an IoT device today takes roughly 20 minutes. That equals over 216 years of deployment time to reach 5.7 million devices.

Frankly put, IoT today runs at modem speed and it’s the lack of interoperability that is to blame. To elevate your IoT projects, focus on one thing: standardization, which begins with devices and extends up throughout the entire value chain. Standards are crucial for building an IoT ecosystem intended for mass deployment. This will ensure your device onboarding process is effortless and near instantaneous.

This may sound a lot more complicated than throwing pasta at the kitchen wall, but these four factors provide a thoughtful approach to IoT strategy development.

And to help you get started, we did some of the legwork for you: we had an in-depth look at over 200 real-life use cases, which we evaluated based on their go-to-market and deployment challenges. This allowed us to create nine horizontal clusters with similar challenges, distributed across 10 industry sectors.

We have are created a handbook series for the most promising of these clusters, with new handbooks being released throughout the year. Our latest handbook in the cluster series is now available. This time we are looking at Hazard and maintenance sensing. This cluster contains some of the most favorable go-to-market and deployment options with a market potential of USD 57bn up until 2026. Want to learn how to develop an IoT strategy to address this opportunity?

Our handbook shares the opportunities, challenges and the way forward for communication service providers.

Climb onboard now. Find out how here.

The Ericsson Blog

Like what you’re reading? Please sign up for email updates on your favorite topics.

Subscribe now

At the Ericsson Blog, we provide insight to make complex ideas on technology, innovation and business simple.