04 March 2020
The Internet of Things (IoT) may still be in its relative infancy, but it’s gradually building apace – as more enterprises begin to uncover the power it possesses when looking to harness data.
From manufacturing to healthcare, more industries are becoming aware of its critical capability to process and convert information into rich, meaningful real-time analytics, in order to do everything from flag potential issues with infrastructure and track usage to demand for services and understanding customers’ online behaviours.
IoT adoption shows no signs of slowing down either, as its implementation has proved to have the correct operational efficiencies in place – all of which can be adapted, and evolved, to successfully provide useful knowledge to operate in a challenging economic climate.
Statistics back up this shift towards having a multifunctional system in place too.
For example, Vodafone’s sixth IoT Barometer reports that 34% of the businesses surveyed are now adopters, and 84% of these have increased confidence in IoT compared to the previous survey.
In addition, 60% of organisations believe that it will have completely disrupted their industries in just five years’ time.
Therefore, can enterprises even begin to ignore such prominent figures when it comes to finalising their 2020 IT and business strategies?
What are the advantages of IoT?
Whether dissecting data to help a company recognise a customer’s online journey – or providing a solution for supply chain management – IoT offers a self-sufficient solution across a variety of sectors.
And when it comes to delving into why it can further boost the firm’s offering, it’s important to acknowledge where the organisation stands, before proceeding towards the installation of something new.
For those able to venture into the next phase of implementation, a business-savvy starting point would be to conduct a Readiness Assessment.
Done in-house, or via an external partner, this audit can help a company underline why it thinks it needs IoT and how it will be of benefit.
To determine this a business should ask itself, ‘Why is the firm interested in this development?’, ‘Which competitors are utilising it in the same space?’, and ‘Whereabouts in the company’s current technology strategy roadmap does IoT fit in?’
As part of this discovery and fact-finding phase, enterprises are able to define priority gains and further conduct competitor analysis – and utilise ‘best practice’ methods – in order to ensure a seamless IoT transition.
There are three further elements to consider too:
1. Does the firm have management go-ahead?
A defining part of IoT transformation is achieving C-suite buy-in. Without this, any digital development can fall flat without the budget, support and correct personnel in place to deliver it.
Everyone may not immediately jump at the chance to transfer data over a network without human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
Therefore, it’s vital for leaders to be given all the details surrounding why IoT will make the business more secure and streamlined – and stay ahead of the curve.
2. What is the current technological provision?
Concerning the infrastructure already in place, does the organisation have the capacity to grow or change the IoT ecosystem with ease so it can build new apps or add integrations?
And what technological devices in its existing suite of digital developments are ultimately compatible with IoT?
Additionally, does the company know what the considerations between a public cloud hosting solution or a private version?
The main differentiator being that organisations won’t be responsible for any of the management of a public cloud implementation.
The governance and type of industry is likely to have some sway and many organisations will look towards a tailored, multi cloud arrangement.
Of paramount importance, is security.
Is the organisation taking ownership of building its own IoT offering or utilising an As-a-Service (AaS) model instead? KPIs and drivers for that data should be set, so that the correct metrics are in place.
Knowing what is needed will help identify the exact stage a company is currently at.
Organisations should consider what applications are already in place, how much data processing is needed, what will take place at the Edge or be moved to the cloud, and which analytics are best used.
3. Getting the right team in place
Alongside any element of digital disruption, it’s vital that the internal team works together, in order to provide a seamless transformation to IoT provision.
Experienced and specialist IoT consultants can be critical – they understand how the build will take shape, the electrical engineering required, and can impart knowledge of IT, cloud, networking and data analytics to upskill colleagues.
If the right skills are not available internally, organisations can work with a managed service partner to identify the savvy professionals needed, in order to deliver the project, end-to-end.
To control budgets, show value and maximise benefits, a cost-effective IoT route is to begin with a small pilot which can be implemented to uncover the true need for digital transformation.
That way, an organisation should have all the vital information to hand, in order to make a decision into exactly what is needed – and utilise IoT’s benefits to the full.