- On March 1, 2019
Obviously, the Internet of Things (IoT) is the new black:
What would you gain by wearing it and how to best prepare for its launch?
Do you know when the best time to plant a tree is? 20 years ago. The second-best time is now. It is the same with the Internet of things – most companies are not prepared to face it and get left behind.
Yet most of them know what benefits IoT would bring them, to summarize but a few:
- Launching new products and services becomes faster when you have access to many linked devices. Those who have it will undoubtedly be more competitive as timing is a major prerequisite for success.
- Everyone on the service side of economy knows they must find a way to build a product. While those selling products – try their best to cover the service bit too. This is not because grass is greener on the other side – it is because covering the full cycle increases revenue streams. And IoT allows that pretty quickly and smoothly. A lot of companies will be able to use it to re-discover their business models, moving from product-centric to services-centric models.
- IoT takes the understanding of customer preferences and behavior to a completely new level. That is relevant for all business sectors and especially for retail. With IoT, businesses are now into easily collecting, monitoring and analyzing data from video surveillance, social media, mobile and internet usage. A study by IT research firm Gartner estimated that 26 billion computers, phones, and connected devices would be in use by the year 2020. Businesses will be able to leverage IoT technology to collect valuable data, stay ahead of the competition and drive innovation.
- Manufacturing can benefit from IoT devices that monitor equipment and minimize downtime by predicting failures or misalignments on the production line. Unnecessary usage of electrical systems is another area where IoT reduces costs dramatically by monitoring and analyzing.
- Remote troubleshooting, real-time tracking of raw materials, better facility management are some of the ways in which IoT can maximize productivity and increase efficiency for businesses.
- Hardly any business can be profitable and sustainable without a flawless customer service. IoT solutions like mobile card readers that can connect to smartphones to process transactions easily and smart trackers that allow consumers to keep track of their shipped products can improve customer experience and overall satisfaction. Utility providers can easily identify problems and proactively resolve issues using smart grid technologies and smart meters can even embrace IoT solutions.
- Moreover, if the above is not enough of a benefit – IoT devices increase work place safety immensely. Embedded sensors and wearables for workers in high-risk environments like mining, heavy industries and construction can be continuously monitored and warned against falls and exhaustion.
Jumping with enthusiasm towards a bright IoT future can be risky though. A lot of companies are eager to jump straight to working on the application or data analytics level. But unless you have the right foundation and IoT infrastructure for that you are likely to face serious difficulties in connecting those physical “things” – and generate the value you expect from that. To avoid that disappointment, we recommend paying due attention to the following well before kick starting an ambitious IoT strategy.
- The first thing to consider carefully is the production and configuration of the devices you are planning to use. The selection of the communication protocols, the security system and planning how to make them scalable are extremely important.
- Then comes the security of the infrastructure. IoT is a serious challenge in terms of secure connectivity and guaranteed access. The virtualized versions of diverse physical devices—most of which with extremely limited memory and/or processing capabilities—is significantly harder.
- Another important thing to consider is the control of the access. You need to make sure you maintain only qualified individuals manage high data privacy standards and devices.
- How are you going to keep an eye on the status of all the devices especially when your products and connected devices are constantly increasing? The monitoring process is very important at all stages – during the production lifecycle as well as after the consumers deploy them.
- Another important task is to establish – and even more importantly – to maintain a stable data management system and policy. It should include the management and distribution of dynamic notifications, device interactions and data privacy notices. The IoT data needs rigorous and structured collection, export, retention and management – do not underestimate any of those.
- Finally, but of no less importance – you need to secure a stable performance by continuously updating the connected devices. Otherwise, the user experience might be damaged significantly. Over-the-air (OTA) communications are the best way for updates and enhancements and are best delivered via with the device’s firmware. You must have a plan how to troubleshoot any problems that arise with them.
By now, you should be convinced that it is not worth it to make your digital transformation efforts futile by overlooking the homework you need to do first.