IoT - The Challenges And Opportunities

Posted 2018-05-30T Posted by Tom
IoT is forecast to become more prominent in business in 2018. How can business leaders can take advantage of opportunities, and address the key challenges of monetisation, skills, and security? We’ll show you how.

The Opportunities

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a key driver of the digital transformation that will enable businesses to reinvent products, services, internal operations and business models. IoT has already had a marked impact on many business models, allowing to generate greater revenue and sparking a new innovation wave within organisations. One-fifth have already seen a major impact on their industry, and a further 30% believe they will see significant impacts in the near future, according to research undertaken by The Economist.

The Challenges

MarketingWeek explains that although several businesses acknowledge the opportunities of IoT, the challenges remain as a significant deterrent - “Despite nine in 10 marketers (92%) agreeing that data management is a key priority for their business, two-fifths of marketers (40%) believe a lack of analytics and data science skills is preventing them from delivering effective customer relationship management (CRM) strategies, according to research”.

Ubuntu highlights the numerous challenges that are faced by business who want to deploy IoT. Their findings suggest that over half of the businesses surveyed question the ROI and 35% were concerned about how to hire the right talent for the job. They are keen to highlight that for effective IoT integration, skill sets must be hired, open communication is necessary and that challenges can be met through strategic thinking.

Cisco agrees that the right team is crucial to success “Successful IoT projects start with a cross-functional team from IT, operations technology, security, production, logistics, and finance. Process efficiencies from the combination of operational and business data come from connecting things and starting the data flowing”.

Integration Acceleration

IoT is also becoming more streamlined and consumer friendly. Gone are the days of multiple wires and sockets that provide a health hazard for the at-home use of IoT. Instead, through greater AI coupling, IoT is now a more integrated experience, allowing for easier interaction between people and tech. The potential for this is mammoth and truly exciting, as detailed by Bret Greenstein, VP of IBM's Watson IoT Consumer Business. Greenstein explains, through Forbes, that technology and its human interactions are being pushed to the edge, providing us with a more fulfilling, safe and rewarding experience.

“Suddenly there are cameras that can not only see, they can understand the image, and microphones which can listen – that are increasingly being pushed to the edge.”

Humans In the Loop

IoT will further the opportunities for human workforces to benefit from tech input. We understand the importance of keeping humans in the loop as outlined in our previous blog. Manual tasks will continue to be penetrated by tech help and the manufacturing industry is likely to benefit from a revolutionary overhaul, with real-time data providing an excellent foundation for real-time support to be provided through AI. Feeding IoT with data that is relevant to a business will ultimately mean that real-time responses are more effective and that business practices are streamlines, more economical and safe.

Gartner explains that,
IT leaders can begin to integrate IoT by implementing solutions that will optimise operational efficiency like workflow management, supply chain management or inventory management. In time, these projects could give way to larger implementations as IoT continues to evolve and the technology becomes more pervasive”.

Prioritising IoT Projects

Prioritising IoT amongst other IT projects can be a challenge and the timescales for implementation and results are recognised as being much slower than expected. Cisco, for example, continues to meet the challenges of IoT implementation. Maciej Kranz, co-innovation centre chief for Cisco explains that patience is of the essence “The first projects are small without much revenue. You have to bank on the long term that the journey leads to more comprehensive implementation and eventually you will make a lot of money in the process.

It is a very different approach than a traditional IT organisation. It is much more complex with longer-term time horizons”
. Also, a level of understanding of the complexities of IoT is essential in order to manage expectations effectively. “It is hard because there are a couple of hundred of standards bodies in IoT. The internet was lucky to have just a couple of standards bodies. If in the next 24 months we established a couple of standards around security and data structures, the IoT market would take off.” Future-proofing your business and IoT can be secured through patient investment, preplanning, and sound business understanding.

IoT - Time to Engage

For businesses who acknowledge that IoT is not a fast-paced innovation and that time is necessary to achieve rewards, IoT has multiple benefits. The early days are proving to be challenging, but the complexities of IoT are being met and addressed and continue to be far outweighed by the opportunities.

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