Make-or-Buy Decision

Based on the outcome of the Initial Solution Design, the project team has to make an important decision: make or buy. This is a decision that will have a huge impact on the project. One important factor here concerns corporate guidelines and policies. Another relates to strategic project goals and the availability of required solution components. Typical make-or-buy questions in an IoT project include:

  • Common Off-the-Shelf (COTS) solutions: Are COTS solutions available for aspects such as fleet management, vehicle tracking, smart metering, and so on?
  • On-asset hardware: Should custom hardware or standard hardware be used?
  • On-asset software: Should we use a pre-integrated OS, firmware, application container, and development tools? Or should we choose a custom solution?
  • IoT cloud/M2M middleware: What are the benefits of using a lightweight, often open-source framework versus full-blown, commercial IoT cloud/M2M middleware?
  • Wireless communication: Should we rely on a single telecom operator or work with an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) to ensure better global coverage?

Depending on the outcome, another related question concerns who should take on the role of general contractor – the enterprise itself, a system integrator, or the M2M division of a telecommunications company, for example.