Off-the-Shelf or Custom Solution – What’s Right for Your Connected Product?

When it comes to building a solution for your connected product, there are two paths you can take: a custom-built solution or an off-the-shelf.

We believe that each solution, whether custom or off-the-shelf, has its place. It should be determined by a number of factors like, whether you’ve prototyped, what your internal technical capabilities are, and much more. There is no one size fits all. The path to determining the right solution can be complex, so we started by creating a “yes-no tree” and will elaborate further below the graphic.

Keep in mind, whether you go the custom or off-the-shelf route, Lab651 can either help in the implementation or the support of your solution – we’re experts in both.

The first step is

having a defined business use case. This is a crucial step for the success of your connected product and is one of the main takeaways from our Discovery Workshops. If you don’t have a use case, let’s chat and get you started!

Next, you should be prototyping.

Off-the-shelf solutions are great for prototyping. (We have a low-cost option – ThingCloudApp) They’re typically a more affordable option and can provide just enough data collection for your MVP and prototyping stage without too much complexity. (You’ve developed a MVP, what’s next?)
If you’ve prototyped and it wasn’t successful, stop. It’s never too late to engage in a workshop and to start the Build, Measure, Learn wheel again. 

If your prototype was successful, the next questions to ask are whether you have the internal capabilities

(should you hire within or hire consultants?). How complex of a solution does your connected product need? Does your company have the expertise and time to manage and support the device?

The higher the complexity, the more flexibility and customization available with a custom solution. You lose control of some finer details with an off-the-shelf. 

Need numerous out in the field?

The higher the quantity, the more expensive off-the-shelf can be, and vice versa. 

The takeaway

Determining what solution is right for you is not black and white or a one size fits all answer. Some advice we can give is to know exactly what you’re looking for from your connected product, be realistic with your internal capabilities, and find a strategic partnership for support.

If you think Lab651 could be the right partner for you, either as a systems integrator, custom solution creator, or discovery workshop facilitator, contact us!