Internet of Things and the Enterprise Opportunity
The internet has already impacted business in a great way. Before we begin to understand the impact of Internet of Things (IoT), we must briefly explain what it means. The IoT is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, object, animals or people that are provided with identifiers which are unique in nature as well as the ability to transport data over networks without humans to facilitate the transfer. Examples of IoT devices are many, they can be smartphones, heart monitors, biochip responders, machines with built-in sensors, etc.
The Applications of IoT Technology
The applications of IoT have manifested themselves in many industries. Examples of these industries include:
• Modern agriculture
• Building and infrastructure management
• Healthcare and hospitals
How does IoT impact Enterprise?
So how does IoT impact Enterprise? Businesses around the world are adopting IoT technology. It is predicted that by 2020, the world will have 25 billion things connected. It is expected to produce close to $2 trillion of economic benefits globally.
Benefits of Adopting IoT Technology
There are several benefits of adopting IoT technology. These include:
• Transforming many enterprises into digital businesses
• Encouraging and engineering new business models
• Optimising output by improving efficiency
• Introducing new forms of revenue
The Industries highly impacted by IoT
The next consideration is which industries are highly impacted by IoT. There are two main industries:
Manufacturing is the fron runner in adopting IoT technology. It has a lead and has almost 307 million installed units in 2015. Manufacturing and automation processes have a need for control systems. With the advent of IoT, there is greater space to use sensors which play an integral role.
Utilities comes in second. It has 299 million units installed. Utilities require technology with automated features which can facilitate operations such as automatic billing, energy management, and monitoring. Automated technology with buildt-in sensors and controls play an important part in enhancing efficiency and in smoothness of operations. The use of smart meters and the related infrastructure have ensured that IoT technology is greatly used in Utilities.
Retail is also slowly coming to the forefront as a contender for one of the verticals using IoT technology. A lot of the activities in the Operations, Sales, and Marketing and Promotion departments is slowly making use of the innovative technology within the IoT umbrella.
Insurance is also slowly entering the IoT world. The automated devices as well as sensors are finding usage in this industry. An example of this could be the built-in sensors which track the driving habits of car users.
Healthcare sector is also using the technology offered by IoT successfully. Sensors, trackers for information and vital signs, devices to record and deliver data, have all lead to decrease in the direct contact between physician and patient. Several innovative devices and sensors such as ‘Smart Beds’ to detect unusual activity of a patient in bed and ‘Home Medicine Dispensers’ to track whether a patient has had the daily medication are bringing about a revolution in healthcare.
How to Begin?
While the benefits derived from IoT technology can be humongous, it is important for businesses which want to use the technology to understand the usage, benefits and impact correctly before applying it on a large-scale. The general thumb rule is to apply and adopt the technology first in small scale projects in order to understand its impact.
Another important activities that businesses must engage in, is to observe carefully and analyse what is happening and what is its impact on other industries. This will help the enterprise to correctly apply IoT to operations within the enterprise.
Challenges to the Adoption of IoT
While the benefits of adopting IoT technology are visible, new enterprises are afraid to take the step. This may be because of a number of reasons:
• They do not have proof of benefits for their particular enterprise
• High starting cost
• High capital costs
• High implementation and maintenance costs
• Lack of trained personnel to monitor and facilitate adoption of this technology
If enterprises can overcome these barriers and take the plunge, they will be able to observe the benefits of IoT and experience the positive impact of IoT.