When staying in-house is a short sighted idea

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August 27, 2012
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You’ve got better things to do than re-inventing the wheel for smartphone connected products.

The “make vs. buy” issue is a familiar one for experienced managers. For any development project, a decision always needs to be made: Is this something that’s so important to our company and its competitive advantage that we ought to do it ourselves? Or would it make more sense, in terms of time and resources, to go outside and get help from an external expert?

Different companies will have different answers to that question, depending on the situation. But when it comes to connecting low cost consumer devices to smartphone apps, something more and more companies are doing every day, we at Arrayent strongly believe it that “buying” is the only way to go. It’s quicker, less expensive, and more secure — and it leaves you free to do the design and engineering work to make a more competitive product.

There are a number of reasons that’s all true. First, you may have a crack IT or engineering department. And they may even be chomping at the bit to get involved in a mobile wireless or cloud project, since both are among the most exciting parts of the technology world. But with no disrespect meant to your tech crew, building a low cost, scalable Internet communication infrastructure is much more complicated than they might think it is. There are dozens of non-obvious traps and challenges lying in wait for the newcomer who charges into the field after reading a manual or two. We at Arrayent have been at it for five years, and continue to come across subtle new problems that we never imagined existed. Of course, our expertise lets us solve them quickly. But someone without our track record could easily get bogged down in a seemingly insolvable debugging situation that tackled months or even years ago. Obviously, you and all our other customer benefit from our accumulated knowledge.

Second, working with Arrayent means you’ll have a communication infrastructure that is much more robust and feature-rich than anything your in-house developers could come up with. Working on low cost scalable connectivity is all we do, and we continue to build on and improve our suite of solutions.  Your own engineers, though, have many other “customers” inside your organization, and odds are the “connectivity team” will have to move on to a new project before their code is fully baked. The hectic pace of R&D inside companies these days, along with the diminished research budgets are all being forced to work with, all but guarantee as much. But with Arrayent, you get the advantages of a 24/7/52 connectivity development operation that does nothing but improve its already industry-leading scalable communications platform.

Third, there is security. Everyone knows that keeping devices connected to the Internet safe from hackers and other bad guys is one of the most important parts of an engineer’s job. We all know that given enough time and effort, any Internet based service can be hacked.  So Arrayent makes use of industry best practices to ensure that it is not vulnerable to well known vulnerabilities.  Arrayent invites its customer to engage third party Internet security consultants to comb through the Arrayent platform.   More eyes on the problem makes for a better solution.

The last reason involves the fact that there are as home area networking standards   from which to choose as there are in tooth paste or ice cream flavors. We at Arrayent know of lots of big, household name companies that cannot make up their mind which standard to choose, only to lose out to a competitor that picked something, now they simply no longer competitive in the market. But that will never be a problem at Arrayent. We are agnostic about local area networks, and support it in all its creeds and colors: ZigBee, Z-Wave, 900/868 MHz, Wi-Fi and anything else that comes along. If you want to move from one platform to another, migration is relatively straightforward. You won’t have to go back to square one.

You know that smartphone to product connection is becoming a make-or-break feature for many consumer devices. You know that if you don’t soon have a way of linking your project with a mobile phone app over the cloud, you’ll be left for dead in your industry. You need to decide how to make that happen. You could call in a bunch of your engineers into your office and tell them to get cracking. But we think you’d be much better off if you simply called us.

By: Shane Dyer, President of Arrayent