How much does IoT adoption cost?

One of the most common questions we get (and rightfully so) is – How much is adopting Internet of Things (IoT) technology going to cost us? A quick online search for – IoT cost – will yield anything from a few thousand to millions of dollars!

In a nutshell, IoT cost estimates vary wildly depending on use case, industry and deployment size. Additionally, you have to consider different elements including hardware, software, connectivity requirements, manpower, and much more. 

But what should you factor into your IoT budget? And how can you avoid costly mistakes that quickly add up?

We unpack all of these questions and more below. 

Understanding IoT 

IoT technology essentially refers to cyber-physical systems made up of both electronic and non-electronic objects.  

These objects are often wireless and collect environmental data. For example, temperature, humidity, location, movement, and more, using sensors installed at various points. The installed sensors then transmit data over a network via various connectivity types. For example, cellular, ether, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, satellite, or a hybrid of all these technologies.  

Data and information collected can be further relayed to the cloud for analysis. This allows you to visualize insights via a user interface such as a dashboard, portal or mobile application.  

With artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML) integration, insights can also be used to predict future patterns. In turn, this can support the optimization of current operations and resource management. 



Peeling back layers 

As you can see from the above, IoT systems are made up of different components that operate at different layers.

It might sound complex but don’t let that deter you. We take a closer look at each major component to better understand how to budget for your IoT. 

IoT Devices – Even though IoT devices have hit a record low, their prices still range depending on their complexity. Naturally, a monitoring sensor attached to a delivery package is going to be more affordable than an AI-powered, facial recognition security camera.

Despite different price tags, all smart devices can collect and transmit data. To perform these tasks, devices must also be equipped with proper systems. Allowing them to seamlessly interface with each other and a central hub. 

Network – The networking layer comprises of all the wireless protocols that allow devices to communicate with each other, transfer sensor data to the cloud, and encrypt all communications.

For connectivity providers that own their core network like we do at ZARIOT, it eliminates layers of complexity and management. Most IoT architecture includes elements of connectivity, portal access, and more for seamless communication. Why juggle several service contracts? Instead, leave it to our industry experts and ecosystem partners to create a bespoke solution for you. 

Service and application support – Back-end infrastructure is usually composed of cloud or on-premises servers and services. Again, depending on your service provider, you can expect monthly or annual cloud storage and server costs to be accounted for in your budget.

IoT applications refer to all kinds of applications that allow you to interact with connected devices, management devices, and more. If you include any additional services to your solution like QoS or remote troubleshooting, these elements should be part of your cost estimate.


Accounting for hidden costs 

Many IoT solutions also require an ongoing support system and additional manpower, which is often rolled into the IoT infrastructure.

For example, a company launching smart recycling bins will have to equip them with smart sensors. A mobile app can also be incorporated to allow citizens to alert if sensors register that bins are almost full or damaged.

You may also want to integrate an application for added services. Including field technician management, ordering equipment parts, or even real-time route management. Naturally, this expansion of services may require more expertise, which might also translate into higher operating expenditure that should be planned for.


Avoiding costly mistakes  

While implementing an IoT solution might not be as prohibitive as before, there are still ways to prevent costly errors.

Planning and discovery – Start your project with proper planning to establish a business case for your IoT solution. Most IoT deployments grind to a halt because this part of planning is overlooked. With companies failing to establish a proper business case and goals for the IoT investment.

Moreover, the planning and discovery phase will allow you to validate that there are no technical limitations in your way. While this stage requires some capital, costs are not as significant as the losses you may suffer if an entire project is scrapped halfway through. 

Take an iterative approach – You can develop a prototype within a fairly short time frame and iterate quickly to accelerate go to market. Launch a minimal viable product as fast as you can, test the IoT solution with real users and on real-world tasks, and gradually expand its feature set to support new use cases. This will also help you to avoid feature creep and scale your system flexibly along with your business.



The best part of ZARIOT solutions is that you can avoid overstuffing your IoT with features from the get-go. Our remote service provisioning and eUICC capable SIMs mean that you have full control over features during the entire life cycle of your IoT. 

That’s why when it comes to calculating IoT cost, it’s important to partner with a provider who can deliver a secure, end-to-end, seamless solution.

Reach out to us to find out more about how our award-winning cellular IoT technology can provide solutions for your business. 

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