Choosing the Right IoT Platform

Posted by Rebecca Skubish on Apr 24, 2020 8:00:00 AM

The time is now to start taking advantage of Internet of Things (IoT) technology.

"Adoption of IoT is happening across industries, in governments, and in consumers' daily lives. We are increasingly observing how data generated by connected devices is helping businesses run more efficiently, gain insight into business processes, and make real-time decisions," said Carrie MacGillivray, Vice President, Internet of Things at IDC.

For businesses that have successfully adopted IoT technology, proved return on investment and are continuing to scale projects and increase initiatives across all aspects of their organizations. Implementing IoT projects is a given, but with 620 IoT platforms and counting, deciding the right approach for your company can be challenging. This blog post breaks down IoT projects into three categories:

  1. IoT Retrofits
  2. Custom Implementations
  3. New Connected Equipment

We’ll highlight a few of the pros and cons of each type of project and help you make an informed decision on where to start or possibly reconsider your next project.

IoT Retrofits

“Plug and Play”

Cost comparison: $

Timeline: Months

Pros: IoT Retrofits are designed to be easy to install and quick to become operational. Retrofit solutions can be less expensive than replacing existing machines with new equipment that already has monitoring devices built in. Retrofits provide organizations with actionable information from equipment already actively in use in the field and avoid the expense and lengthy implementation timelines of custom projects.

Cons: Plug and Play solutions are sold for specific use cases with general goals to capture ROI across most organizations, so information may not be specific to your organization or device. Adding additional sensors or capabilities can become costly and challenging depending on where and how the retrofit solution is installed and whether additional programming is needed to make the information captured actionable. .


Custom Implementations

“In-House or Vendor-Provided Solutions”

Cost Comparison: $$

Timeline: 6 Months -1 Year+

Pros: The possibilities are endless!

With custom implementations, projects are built specifically with your organization in mind, meaning the solution can be equipped with the technology to capture the exact information necessary. This can simplify the formula to show ROI and give you exactly what you need to better monitor and manage your equipment and legacy devices.

Cons: The possibilities are endless!

With endless choices, it can be difficult for organizations to pinpoint the specific information they need to capture ROI. Use cases often start small and stay in their infancy waiting to be validated and implemented across the organization or alternatively, become so large that implementation becomes impossible due to timelines or cost constraints.


New Connected Equipment

“Rip-and Replace”

Cost Comparison: $$$

Timeline: 1 Year+

Pros: Replacing existing equipment with new machines ensures that you are at the forefront of technology with sensing and connectivity already built-in. New machines can lead to improved performance and a lower likelihood of shutdowns compared to legacy machines.

Cons: The cost of replacing working equipment with new equipment is a major capital expense, making this method oftentimes unrealistic. A full Rip-and-Replace solution takes years to complete - from sourcing to removing current equipment and installing new machines - which further delays the realization of the results of an IoT program implementation.


Every IoT platform has unique characteristics so finding the right company and level of support is essential. Like your business, the IoT will continue to evolve so there will never be a “perfect” solution. Our advice is to start small, learn fast and iterate to success.

Topics: IoT, Digital Transformation

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