‘Digital transformation’ appears to be the new buzzword for IT executives in enterprise and industry. The internet of things (IoT) is considered one of the enablers in this transformation, but scalability, simplicity and security are holding back its widespread adoption.
However, despite this, the economics of IoT are increasingly compelling and the B2B space will benefit first, generating nearly 70 percent of potential value enabled by IoT, according to a report on a state of the market from Verizon, which suggests that:
- Opportunity for revenue growth is the biggest factor driving IoT adoption
- Regulatory compliance remains a driving factor behind enterprise IoT implementation
- Standards, security, interoperability and cost make up over 50 percent of executive concerns around IoT
It said that in one of its surveys, 73 percent of executives (it doesn’t indicate the sample size) are either researching or currently deploying IoT, as part of their digital transformation strategies in 2017. Manufacturing, transportation and utilities make up the largest percent of investments, while insurance and consumers represent the fastest areas of spending growth. With 8.4 billion connected ‘things’ in use in 2017, up 31 percent from 2016, and network technology, cost reductions and regulatory pressures driving adoption, business leaders are not only paying attention, they’re getting in the game according to the report, which includes insights from a study commissioned by Verizon, third party research and other new findings.
Key takeaways from the report are:
- IoT is at the core of digital transformation for business. It’s changing the playing field for business in every industry—helping to increase operational efficiency and fuel new growth.
- Organizations have so far focused on simple use cases to track data and send status alerts. But, in 2017, IoT has become enterprise-grade.
- IoT platforms are providing a single environment for developing and managing applications. New low-power networks are enabling organizations to deploy IoT quicker—helping lower costs.
IoT is taking hold in almost every industry. In healthcare, its enables pharmaceutical companies to track and trace medicines from production to patient. In agriculture, sensors in the ground are providing near-real-time data about the health of crops. Drones are already being tested by energy and utilities companies to monitor remote infrastructure. And cities are deploying smart solutions to help manage traffic, maintain public safety and attract new businesses and citizens.
While enterprises across industries continue to develop and pilot use cases to ensure real-time visibility into data around assets, equipment, power management and public safety, hesitancies related to IoT still remain. Four key concerns stand out for over 50 percent of business executives when exploring IoT:
These uncertainties, along with apprehension around scalability and simplicity, are holding businesses back from full IoT deployment, with many still in proof-of-concept or pilot phase. Early adopters seem largely focused on proving out simple use cases to track data and send status alerts, just starting to realize the full value IoT has to offer in driving growth and efficiencies across business.
The barriers are eroding
The report highlights new network technology across the industry; changing consumer behaviors as they relate to the new sharing economy; and regulatory requirements spanning healthcare, food, and air space. These are just a few of the driving factors of IoT adoption and advancement this year, an ecosystem that will see more than $2 trillion in spend by 2017.
The report also sheds light on how businesses should be thinking about IoT moving forward and addresses many of the concerns expressed by executives surveyed. Specifically:
- Simplicity and integration: IoT platforms will become even more seamless and streamline the deployment of applications, giving developers simplified access to new tools and resources for IoT use cases. In addition, we’ll see ongoing consolidation of the IoT market space.
- Cost: new CAT-M1 technology and chipsets will reduce costs of connectivity and enable more widespread adoption by businesses large and small.
- Security: securely collecting, analyzing and integrating data will continue to be at the forefront, with solutions which help protect at the platform, network and device level.
Bringing IoT to life
Some of the case studies highlighted in the report include:
- IoT-enabled track and trace technology helping pharmaceutical enterprises, like Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, thwart counterfeiting and meet the requirements of the U.S. Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA).
- Drones enabling utility and construction firms, like Hensel Phelps, to carry out maintenance and inspections without having to dispatch workers.
- Unmanned aerial vehicles revolutionizing the insurance industry, with 70 percent of Fortune 500 property and casualty companies utilizing drones to perform inspections and other claims-related work.
- Smart communities. Providing actionable traffic insights; making parking seamless; bringing communities together and bridging the digital divide in forward-thinking municipalities like Boston, Sacramento and Kansas City, among others.
- Government and private industries joining the sharing economy. Columbus Yellow Cab is automating and streamlining cab reservation and payment processes for its full fleet of cabs and drivers across Ohio. Yellow Cab’s drivers can easily locate and rent available cabs, creating an on-demand, self-service approach to gaining access to vehicles.
- Electricity companies moving to smart-reader/smart grid cloud technologies to enable 4G LTE connected meter reading, outage and restoration notifications, providing actionable insights and data for future planning.
“Over the past year, industry innovators in energy, healthcare, construction, government, agtech and beyond have not only piloted, but in many cases, deployed IoT technology to improve business efficiencies, track and manage assets to drive value to the bottom line. In 2017, advancements in technology and standards, coupled with changing consumer behaviors and cost reductions, have made IoT enterprise-grade, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg in driving economic value across the board,” said Mark Bartolomeo, VP of IoT connected solutions at Verizon.
To download the full report, click here.