With the increase in usage of IoT for industrial and consumer applications, more and more players are getting into the game. Many of them being technocrats, tend to look at the area they are comfortable with. However, IoT is not a standalone product but an end to end solution necessitating a holistic view of the entire solution. Both SMEs and Startups with their paucity of manpower and material can’t afford highly paid experienced employees or consultants. The FORES Index tool has been developed in order to help in this situation. The FORES Index is a 360 degree tool that allows the users to evaluate their IoT solution and get a fair view of the status. The main idea behind the tool is to point out the areas of improvement rather than a go | no-go type of assessment. This out-of-the-box tool will help to identify the weak areas so that these areas may be addressed as appropriate to ensure that the IoT solution that is being implemented is a success.
IoT is a solution and can’t be classified as Hardware or Software. One of the key ingredient for success is the infrastructure which could be the interconnect network, central cloud resources as well as data analytics capability to make sense out of the data collected. An IoT solution is represented as below in the figure 1.
This essentially means that there are multiple players who make up the IoT solution and success depends on the entire team that creates the solution.
IoT is an end to end solution and a “One Size Fits All” approach will not work. Additionally, any IoT solution involves hardware, software (both embedded and application) and infrastructure, covering the network interconnect, cloud for running programs and storage. This essentially calls for;
Under these circumstances it is important that both the IoT solution implementers as well as the users need to evaluate the effectiveness of the solution and its probable success before venturing into it by spending time and money. Since every IoT solution is fairly large and has multiple components, the need for assessing the probability of success upfront is important. The idea is to ensure that probable problem areas are made visible and they have to be addressed for the solution to succeed. A typical IoT solution has the following components
FORES Index gives a global framework to evaluate the IoT solution in a holistic manner and offer a realistic view of the solution proposed. The FORES Index has been created in order to help achieve this. FORES Index is an empirical tool and offers a view of the proposed solution from a practical point of view. This tool is basically a questionnaire which when filled either by the implementer or user of the IoT solution, will highlights the areas that need to be addressed for the success of the solution.
Caution: This tool is intended to be of advisory nature and the author is not responsible for the business outcomes which are entirely dependent on the implementer and user of the IoT solution.
FORES is an acronym for
Essentially FORES Index represents five critical aspects of IoT solution that is being implemented. Each element addresses a critical area in the whole solution and tries to find answers for the questions presented in the tool. The answers are in the form of Yes and No so that the end result is a very clear answer on which areas to focus get the solution succeed. FORES Index has 5 key elements as mentioned above and each one of them impacts on portion of the proposed solution. We shall briefly see each one of them and how they are important.
This element assesses whether the solution is feasible or not practically. This may be surprising to see but the when you look at the three sub elements of the Feasibility you will understand why this essential. The 3 key elements are;
This element evaluates how the operations will be performed in the implemented IoT system and what are the roles and responsibilities of the partners. Above all who will own and operate the solution. There are three sub elements which decide the success of operation and these 3 sub elements are;
Revenue is the third of the element in the FORES index. IT stands for the revenue that will generated out of the solution and the company can be profitable. The element assesses the ability of the IoT solution provider/implementor to generate substantial revenue to stay profitable. Revenue element has three sub elements and they are;
Fourth element in the FORES Index is Execution. It shows how the project or solution will be executed (implemented and run) from the beginning. Many good IoT project floundered here due to bad execution resulting in projects being called off are delayed and resulting in loss of revenue. Execution has three sub elements. These three elements are;
Last of the five elements is the Sustenance. This is the step after the solution has been installed and started operating. Biggest challenge is most end users move to use IoT based solution to automate as well as save cost. This means the solutions installed are here to stay. However, with the volatile business environment Startups especially quickly sell out and go or shutdown and go leaving the end user high and dry. Even successful startups many times move away from the products/solution they have developed earlier to work on new project. This again gets the end user into trouble. Key is that the business has to be evaluated for how the companies can sustain and support after the product has started working. There are three key elements to sustenance which are important to be addressed and they are;
FOREX Index tool is a simple tool with asset of 5 questions for each of the sub elements totaling 75 Questions which need “Yes or No” as answer. Once all the questions are answered the tool shows the heat map of each of the 5 elements and points out which are to focus and where the strength lies.
The tool is available in following location: