The Internet of Things is a vital part of today’s tech-driven world. Shortened to IoT, it is a catch all term to cover connected devices: everything from smartphones to smartwatches, industrial sensors to health monitoring equipment – that are all linked to the internet and constantly sharing, processing and disseminating data. One estimate from Juniper Research suggests IoT devices worldwide will exceed 50 billion this year.
In this increasingly interconnected world, the opportunities for businesses are only set to grow. Across sectors, organisations are embracing IoT to realise a range of benefits including enriched user experiences, optimised operations, and reduced costs. Little wonder then that the economic impact of IoT is skyrocketing. Some predictions suggest by 2030, IoT could have unlocked $5.5 trillion to $12.6 trillion in value globally.
Many organisations are already looking to tap into this market opportunity, rolling out IoT proof-of-concepts and pilots. In fact, the IoT Use Case Adoption Report 2021 shows that the average company has adopted eight different IoT use cases to date.
The issue for many firms is what comes next. IoT project failure remains very common. Estimates of failure rate vary, with one widely cited report from Cisco in 2017 finding that 76% of IoT projects either stall at proof-of-concept or fail to deliver on objectives.
As digital disruption continues to accelerate post-pandemic, organisations that can convert new and emerging technologies like IoT into production-ready solutions that deliver tangible value to the business are at a huge advantage. At the centre of this competitive advantage is data; IoT has incredible potential to enable significant collection, analysis and enrichment of data to deliver valuable insights for the business.
With this in mind, how can businesses make the most of IoT and use it to address the challenges they face today?
A way forward on IoT
Overcoming the challenges facing IoT adoption is far from easy. Pulling together a workable solution can be incredibly complex for an organisation, with a host of different technologies involved, a variety of different applications, and a daunting integration challenge to bring it all together to start delivering for the business.
The key for firms is to not allow themselves to be paralysed by this complexity and chart a clear course forward to bring an IoT project to fruition. NTT DATA has a significant amount of experience worldwide in helping firms to orchestrate IoT complexity and convert it into tangible outcomes for the business.
In our recent whitepaper, we set out the six key principles we see at the heart of all successful IoT solutions:
- Seamless experience
- Sensible business case
To see these principles in action, let’s consider a few different examples. Manufacturing is a key industry for IoT. The Industrial Internet of Things is a key trend in today’s manufacturing sector, enhancing business processes and solutions with sensors, devices, gateways and platforms. Bringing data all together into one place enables manufacturers to make more intelligent decisions, design more efficient processes, and ultimately meet consumer demand for the fast delivery of high-quality, low-cost goods.
NTT DATA’s solutions connect IoT with the key issues facing businesses. Our Logistics Bridge solution, for example, delivers a powerful track and trace capability to industrial supply chains. A combination of QR codes, sensors across key intervals on an item’s journey, mobile technology, and the processing power of SAP Leonardo, provides unprecedented visibility for manufacturers. Firms can plan and adjust based on a precise knowledge of goods flow – delivering invaluable, real-time transparency to customers.
To take a very different example, local authorities often struggle to deliver vital public services in a timely manner – particularly in complex, sprawling urban environments. In Las Vegas, NTT DATA and its partners worked with the city to deliver a smart city solution that utilised cutting-edge IoT devices – combined with advanced AI and edge analytics. This solution provides government authorities with insights ready to deploy to protect the public, whether flagging an early warning of an emerging public safety incident or tracking traffic movement the wrong way down a one-way street to strategise road improvements.
It’s more than just data harvesting
Too often when businesses approach IoT it is seen through the prism of gathering data. Industry reports and media discussion focus on grand figures on the amount of data available to harvest from IoT devices. This is certainly important, but it is only the first step on the IoT journey.
The real value in IoT is not in the devices or indeed even connecting the devices. It comes when businesses start analysing and enriching the data to create valuable insights for the rest of the business. For several years now, many businesses have managed to successfully deliver on the connectivity piece, whether that might be setting up sensors and monitoring equipment on the factory floor or rolling out connected healthcare solutions.
It is the next layer up where organisations need a change in approach. Businesses need to recognise that IoT has vastly matured, and today’s technology stack is far more cost-effective and collaborative than it was even a few years ago. This shift means there are far more opportunities for enterprise-wide integration with IoT, tapping into a range of applications to start innovating with the data. The sheer scale of today’s IoT is creating a powerful cascading effect as businesses gather more and more data. Businesses can start to forge, in effect, ecosystems of ecosystems, collaborating with new partners and redefining new ways to innovate with the data gathered from IoT.
In our next blogs we will delve deeper into more of the specific industry use cases for IoT, exploring how IoT is tackling some of the biggest challenges facing businesses today.