How to choose the best IoT app development company?
Businesses and start-ups in recent years have increasingly found success thanks to hardware products. To launch an IoT project, you need engineers with expertise in hardware development.
There are many companies on the market that provide IoT development services. This article is about when to use outsourcing services and how to choose the most suitable IoT development company to achieve your business goal.
Everything that is written below refers to our practice, received for the most part in Sannaсode. We want to share our experience and tell you what to look for when choosing an IoT developer.
What is an IoT (Internet of Things)?
The Internet of Things is a concept in which many everyday appliances and consumer electronics, from washing machines to kettles, are computerized and connected to the Internet. It opens up various new possibilities: in particular, IoT devices allow the collection and analysis of vast amounts of new data, adapting the operation of tools for each user.
The IoT concept is being actively pursued and related technologies such as home automation, video analytics, and artificial intelligence. For example, in the medical field, the IoT niche gains popularity by introducing innovative devices that can monitor patients’ conditions located in remote locations.
The peculiarity of the Internet of Things is that each device or sensor for data collection must be equipped with an embedded application to implement all this functionality, which is at the heart of the IoT concept.
Why is it difficult to choose IoT developers?
Choosing an IoT developer today is a difficult task. Hundreds of companies offer their IoT development services, luring customers with prices and various services framed with beautiful headlines and calls to action. To choose a company for hardware development, a potential client is forced to spend his time browsing sites, reading reviews, analyzing pricing policy. But this is not a guarantee that the choice will fall on a professional contractor, ordering an IoT product from which the client will be satisfied. How to choose an IoT development company for the Internet of Things and be confident with the result? Let's talk about this in the article.
Every start-up company is committed to offering professional development services. Each young outsourcing studio considers itself already a specialist and provides development services for a lot of money. Every third outsourcing company believes that it has grown to an IoT development agency and has every right to increase its pricing policy by adding a couple of new ones to its services list.
Let's be objective. Not everyone in the IT market is professionals. It is a central problem for a potential customer. In words, each company promises a cool IoT project in a short time. But in fact, it turns out that the project comes out raw or incomplete, with many errors that are impermissible for hardware projects.
Therefore, it is essential to choose a company with real IoT expertise and experience in implementing end-to-end projects.
How to choose an outsourcing company for IoT development?
We propose to break the process of selecting the right contractors into three main stages:
Market research. At this stage, there is a primary search for companies that fit the requirements of the project.
Technical analysis. Here you need to check the technology stack, device park, and company development methodologies.
Meeting. At this stage, you need to hold a series of meetings with potential candidates and discuss all the nuances. In the end, you can make an informed decision.
During the market research phase, you can use all available channels to find suitable IoT companies.
In our opinion, the most effective search channels are recommendations from colleagues and acquaintances and Internet searches.
In the first case, find colleagues or mentors who have already ordered the development of an IoT project and find out which company they are working with. Ask about the difficulties and peculiarities that arose in the process of work, in the end, ask if he could recommend this company.
The second method does not require you to find relevant acquaintances. It is ideal, for example, for new startupers. Use the query "IoT hardware development company" in Google search - everything is simple.
You can also use profile directories such as Clutch.co and Goodfirms.co, where the company's expertise is immediately written, there are real customer reviews and portfolios.
Another popular way to search for relevant companies is the social network for business partnerships LinkedIn.
The main task of this stage is to compile a list of IoT companies that fit your requirements. Market research can take up to a week of business hours.
To choose from thousands of developer companies suitable for your request, we recommend paying attention to the following parameters.
Case study and portfolio
The portfolio best shows the experience and competence of the company. Please note if the selected company has similar cases. Be sure to read them. You need to understand the level of projects, what tasks were set for the team, and how it coped with them. Some companies add IoT cases, but if you read carefully, it becomes clear that they were not involved in hardware development but, let's say, were completing the design of the application.
Ideal when there are projects that you can try (demo versions or ready-made devices that you can buy). However, this is not always realistic for IoT, so try to superficially check the quality (design, usability, validation).
IoT development cost
IoT development is serious, and a priori cannot be cheap. Therefore, we immediately eliminate companies that offer their services 2-3 times cheaper. You will probably end up with a low-quality product, if at all.
Clients have come to use more than once, asking to redo the project after a bad company. The answer is always the same - at the start, they were attracted by the low cost. It is not worth the risk, and it is better to do it right away with high quality. Redoing will cost you 2 times more.
Feedback and recommendations
It is essential to know the opinion of the company's customers. Typically, reviews can be found on LinkedIn, Goodfirms.co, Clutch.co, and social media. Rest assured, these sites are posted by real people who are being validated.
You should be alerted if there are a lot of bad reviews about the company. However, most IT companies still care about their name, so they have a 5-star rating.
In this case, we recommend looking for customer reviews with the Internet of Things projects that you saw in the portfolio. Check if the client's testimonials match what is written in the portfolio. Notice how the client talks about collaboration progress, performance, and deadlines.
A good outsourcing company takes part in the development of the IT community and has a social responsibility.
Such companies can organize webinars, lectures, training for their partners, clients, and applicants. They develop original courses, write books, and create informational content.
Socially responsible companies have charitable and socially significant projects in their portfolio.
The firm or its employees speak at industry conferences, forums, market leaders' meetings, and other events.
It is an excellent indicator of the company's expertise and its openness.
Blog and social media
Regular posts on social networks and a blog indicate that the company has something to share with the audience. It is a great way to understand IoT's level of expertise and company scale. It is enough to read a few articles to understand the material's relevance and cultural level.
You have a profile on LinkedIn and Facebook must-have for any IT outsourcing company. There you can find out about the successes, current developments, the current position of the company. Often you will find photographs of employees. It shows that the company is real and has in-house specialists of various profiles, not just freelancers who pretend to be a large digital agency.
Today, the standard is Agile hardware development. It is an umbrella term for practices that conform to the Agile Manifesto, which contains 12 design principles.
As a rule, each company interprets Agile principles differently, so it is important to contact the project manager and clarify all the nuances.
Compiled a list of outsourcing Internet of Things developers, you should proceed to the analysis of technical expertise. If you do not have your own technical consultant on staff, you can hire him from outside.
Find out what technologies the company is working with. We are talking about programming languages, frameworks, databases and cloud technologies, comms, hub devices, and sensors. Almost no IoT product works without these technologies.
In some IoT projects, it will be important to learn about the company's equipment fleet. Large companies will have their own expensive equipment to develop IoT products or establish partnerships with other manufacturers.
It is worth paying attention to project management tools. A good outsourcing company will involve you in the development process. For example, we, at Sannacode, use Jira to track the progress of work on tasks. We also hold regular meetings with the customer's participation, and to track the effectiveness of work on the project, we use our own time tracker. It helps always to make necessary edits during development. As a result, the customer receives a high-quality IoT product, and we optimize our resources.
After technical analysis, you should have 5-10 relevant candidates. Your goal is to find out all the nuances of cooperation and find the best value for money.
You should carefully prepare before the rally and make a list of questions of interest to you.
It is important to assess the willingness of the outsourcing company to work on your project. A good Internet of Things company should really value its capabilities and honestly say whether it can cope with the task at hand.
IoT development is more difficult than website development; therefore, it requires a lot of expertise and technological knowledge. When it comes to an IoT startup, you should be looking for innovators. A team that shares your values and fully understands the concept of an IoT product. It is impossible to evaluate it only by the portfolio. You need to start a dialogue and understand whether you are on the same wavelength.
If you want to develop a portable IoT device, you must submit it to the development team for evaluation. It is important to agree on all the details of cooperation at the start.
At this stage, you not only ask questions and evaluate candidates but also present your idea and answer questions yourself.
Do small reviews after each meeting. In the end, this will help refresh your memory and choose the most suitable company for your IoT development.
We collected all the tips together, for those who are too lazy to read the entire article:
Use the phrase "IoT hardware development company" to search on Google. Look for potential candidates on pages 2 and 3 of the SERP. Typically, the top 10 includes directories, lists, and ads.
Carefully study the future IoT developer's site, look and check all the contacts, and whether it has an office and representation, which is indicated.
Explore the portfolio and case studies on the site. Then go to the resources and check the quality of projects in real life.
See all ratings of IoT developers, find companies that fit your criteria.
Read reviews on Clutch and GoodFirms. Write a letter asking for a recommendation or call and talk to the client personally, finding out all the nuances.
Carefully study the services provided, look for information about employees, and look at its social media profiles.
With a developer, you should feel comfortable and easy as with a friend.
Eliminate undervalued companies from the list.
Check out the technology stack.
It may seem that we are too picky and offer you to study a lot of material, but you choose not just an outsourcing company, you choose a partner with whom you will have to cooperate for a long time.
There are exceptions to any rule, but these are general requirements and general advice. There are very few worthy specialists, and their services are not cheap.
We hope the article will somehow help you with your choice. Many scammers in our market and even more merely incompetent companies will not refuse any opportunity to grab an advance payment, especially if you have a reasonable budget.
You can also evaluate the portfolio of the Sannacode team and if you are interested in IoT development, fill out the form on the website, and we will contact you.