Jumpstart IoT

Bringing simulation-driven development to IoT

Photo Credit: Afraz Neikar via LinkedIn

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about why Apple’s decision to remove the audio jack was met with so much criticism, while Snapchat’s funky glasses were received quite well despite the stigma left behind by Google Glass. I drew on my experiences at ViFlex, citing empathy as the main differentiating factor between the two tech companies.

Today, I want to extend that notion to IoT: specifically, why Leverege started the Jumpstart program.

You may have heard this phrase quite often recently, as the IoT tech writer, Stacey Higginbotham, pointed out on Twitter:

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and we believe that the Jumpstart program is solving a real need that’s holding IoT back from truly becoming the Third Wave of the Internet.

Why IoT Sucks Right Now

Borrowing from Stacey Higginbotham again, earlier this year, she wrote an excellent article about the challenges of reviewing IoT gadgets as a tech writer. To summarize, here are some of her main points:

  • Connected devices are designed to be passive. IoT gadgets interact with other connected devices and systems. It takes some time for the users to really get a feel for how it works and how it fits in with its surroundings — even after a lengthy and sometimes complicated installation process.
  • IoT features are constantly changing. Compared to the long process to install new devices and interact with the connected environment, the feature iteration cycles are very fast.
  • Other parts of the IoT infrastructure are changing as well. With disparate cloud platforms and a lack of standard protocols, one must also keep track of “programs like Works with Nest, hubs like SmartThings or services like If This Then That (IFTTT)” And without standardization, how can you ensure reliability over time?

Stacey then says something extremely important for all of us working with IoT:

“These aspects of connected devices affect consumers who buy them. It can be tough to live with something that can change its features or functions with the latest software update. It’s also tough to ensure that some functionality you might want stays the same or will be offered in the future…It may also change how [IoT companies] showcase connected devices, highlighting what current platforms the product works with.”

As an IoT gadget reviewer and ultimately the end-user, she has trouble visualizing how this new IoT device will interact with the rest of her environment. Until somebody figures out a standard protocol or a cross-platform solution, wouldn’t it be nice for the customers to know what to expect and be able to rapidly adapt to any new changes?

For IoT companies, wouldn’t it be nice to showcase the value of your IoT device before the new hardware components are even built? After all, as our very own Director of Business Development, Calum McClelland, explored in his post last week, it’s vastly more effective to show the benefits you offer rather than listing impressive features: “Awareness isn’t the problem. Value perception is.”

Jumpstart to the Rescue

These aren’t problems unique to IoT. And the best part is that we are already solving them!

By using our Jumpstart program, you will know exactly what your IoT project will look like, how it will be built and scaled, and have detailed estimates of the related costs and milestones.

You’ll get:

  • A Complete Data Dictionary that is essentially the blueprint for your system (the necessary 1st step for every IoT project)
  • A Custom System Architecture Diagram with data flows, storage & processing requirements, protocols, and connectivity options (shows how the system will be built and scale)
  • Intuitive Interface Mockups (so you can visualize exactly what it will look like for you or the user)
  • Detailed Project Estimate (so you know the costs, timelines and milestones associated with your project)

So if you have a cool idea for an IoT project, now you;ll know what your IoT project will look like, how it’ll be built, the costs involved, and how long it will take to get to market. But how do you test market fit, show value, or show it off to people before developing the necessary hardware components?

If you have a background in electrical engineering, you probably used PSPICE simulations once or twice. In mechanical engineering, there is ANSYS; in computer engineering, there are CPU simulators; and the list goes on and on.

For those who might be unfamiliar with engineering, the key here is simulation-driven development. So if you’re ready to start prototyping and testing..

You’ll also get:

  • The Imagine Simulator (giving you the ability to fully simulate your hardware devices and the entire IoT system - long before you finish building the hardware)
  • Custom Interactive UIs (these polished web/mobile screens connect directly to Imagine, so you can interact with your virtual product in realtime, just as you would with the finished product)
  • Message Specifications (do you want alerts via SMS, email, slack, or the Amazon Echo? When you run the simulator the alerts are real!)

Jumpstart significantly lowers the barrier to entry for IoT projects and products and dramatically increases your chances of success. You can visualize how your system will behave and then present a polished prototype to potential buyers and investors before hardware development is complete. Most importantly, you can gather solid feedback from end users before incurring costs for hardware development — feedback that will allow you to improve your services in a rapid, iterative way.

So whether you’re an engineer trying to test an edge case or a salesperson pitching a potential customer, Jumpstart helps you actually show the value of your IoT project and get valuable external feedback on your services.

It All Comes Back to Empathy

IoT will bring tremendous value to our lives. But right now, much is hidden behind funky user interfaces and the industry’s emphasis on feature development rather than value perception.

For most IoT projects, it takes too long to build a prototype, show off what the smart device could do, get feedback, and then apply that feedback into the service. IoT projects often lack the ability to empathize. They lack the ability to put themselves in the shoes of the consumer. They don’t know what end users will think of their IoT solution, because they often can’t articulate the value of the solution to the end user.

At Leverege, we believe that Jumpstart solves these problems. So if you have a cool IoT idea, Jumpstart on your product development the right way!

If anything, you’ll make Stacey’s job easier.

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