In a crowded marketplace, one thing organizations can do to stay ahead of the curve is to embrace innovation. Adopting IoT on an enterprise scale is one of the ways of setting yourself apart from competitors. Applied in the enterprise, IoT is currently bringing positive disruptions to a number of business spheres.
In this article, we will look at the benefits of IoT for business and focus on how digital transformation with the Internet of Things is impacting seven various industries.
IoT Benefits for Business
So what are the benefits of IoT for enterprises? The below overview should give you a clear picture.
Improving operational efficiency: across industries, IoT is helping streamline and automate routine processes, eliminate bottlenecks and errors, and achieve better resource allocation.
Increasing productivity: improving operational efficiency results in an overall productivity boost as IoT helps enterprises do more with less human resources, financial investment, and hassle.
Reducing expenses: a survey by Techjury.net shows that cost savings are the main revenue driver of IoT adoption and account for 54% of enterprise-scale IoT projects. As of today, 24% of IoT projects focus on security by introducing real-time monitoring and alert notifications.
Generating economic opportunities: the number of IoT connected devices is growing each day as well as the number of IoT driven services (think smart cities, delivery drones, smart healthcare solutions, etc). While only 35% of IoT projects aim to introduce new services, this number is sure to increase along with large-scale IoT adoption.
According to worldwide survey results unveiled by Aruba Networks, IoT adoption benefits tend to exceed expectations on average by 16 %. As much as 80 % of C-level executives believe IoT to be critical at least to some facets of their business.
IoT Adoption by Industry
In only two years, according to the Industry ARC report, the manufacturing industry will be the leader in IoT adoption and generate the highest revenues. The next industry to follow suit will be healthcare accounting for 60% CAGR. The energy sector will be yet another leader with an expected annual growth rate of 39.7%. All in all, the global IoT market for industrial solutions will reach $123.89 by 2021.
So let’s examine seven industries impacted by IoT one by one:
Arguably, the biggest industry undergoing IoT transformation, manufacturing leverages IoT to track the state of factory equipment. IoT sensors collect data about the performance of various machinery and systems, report it to control centers, in turn helping prevent breakdowns before they occur. Thus, IoT helps ensure non-disruptive equipment performance and gives insights into increasing efficiency of factory operations.
Optimizing yields and introducing innovations in livestock farming are just some of the results of IoT application in agriculture. Enhanced by IoT, agriculture has actually developed a new branch called Smart Farming. Climate monitoring, greenhouse automation, crop monitoring and cattle management are some of the best Smart Farming practices. A more comprehensive, albeit complex approach involves automated farm management systems. An end-to-end farming solution powered by sensors and advanced data analytics enables farmers to carry out remote management and monitoring.
In the healthcare industry, IoT has some of the most prominent use cases. From consumer wearables tracking body temperature and pulse rate to medical image processing, IoT literally saves lives by delivering timely and relevant information. Tracking the state of medical equipment and introducing timely repairs can mean a great deal when there’s an urgent need to access this equipment. In hospitals, IoT sensors are also applied in patient care, capturing small movements and alerting nurses that a particular patient needs attention.
Similar to manufacturing, in-vehicle sensors and beacons are helping track the state of machinery and make timely repairs. Some vivid examples of IoT use in the automotive industry include advanced car security systems and accident prevention by leveraging driver behavior tracking technology. Vehicle tracking systems help monitor and execute the controlling of an entire fleet of business or community vehicles, ensuring better transport operations.
Smart meters helping energy companies connect to consumer devices and track energy usage are an example of the use of IoT technologies in the energy industry. Apart from merely consumption tracking, such devices help track the state of equipment, predict outages and calculate optimal energy consumption levels for individual or business needs.
IoT in the telecom industry is transforming business operations in a big way: remote monitoring and management of telecom equipment and ensuring security by equipping devices with real-time tracking systems, delivering data-driven customer services, etc. Moreover, IoT is set to play a key part in the advent of 5G network services leading to the proliferation of segmented, decentralized networks built on top of small cell infrastructures.
The use of IoT in the retail industry enables companies to ensure better transportation and warehousing conditions. By tracking the state of goods on their way to warehouses, companies can be aware of their condition and control the internal climate of their shipping container, speed up the delivery, etc. IoT sensors and beacons help detect if a particular warehouse shelf is empty and automatically provision for missing products. To better serve customers, IoT beacons on products in retail stores can connect with apps in customers’ mobile phones and provide additional information on availability, matching items, testimonials, discounts, etc.
Approaching IoT Implementation in Your Business
According to global statistics, as much as 92% of industrial organizations will seek possibilities for IoT adoption during the current year. If you’ve read this far, you’re probably contemplating IoT implementation in your organization. But where do you start with regards to IoT transformation and what are the logical steps to embracing IoT? Read on for a step-by-step plan.
1. Identify the problem
Indicate all current bottlenecks and challenges your company is experiencing in its business operations. Look for areas of your business laden with uncertainty and that are prone to human mistakes. This will set you on the right track and help you recognize your digital transformation potential.
2. Check if IoT can help
Knowing your shortcomings can help you identify if they can be solved by IoT and develop your IoT implementation strategy. Above, we have outlined the cases for IoT across a number of industries. Look for use cases of IoT implementation in your industry. Could digital transformation with the Internet of Things give you a viable solution?
3. Identify key data streams
Every IoT implementation guide will have you focus on data: after all, it’s the main driver of IoT and digital transformation. At this stage, you will most likely have to introduce some of the IoT sensors to capture more data. Combining data from sensors with existing data from your legacy systems will help you identify data streams crucial to IoT implementation.
4. Check device compatibility
As you proceed throughout the various steps of your IoT implementation strategy, you will recognize that the legacy system barrier to IoT implementation is real: legacy equipment, as much as a legacy mindset is a serious obstacle to enterprise-scale IoT adoption. Fortunately, there are ways to bridge this barrier, merge legacy equipment with IoT and eliminate connectivity issues.
5. Develop a security plan
Implementing advanced IoT systems will imply an equally advanced approach to security. A plethora of sensors and IoT beacons will mean there are more security loopholes to be wary of than within your legacy ecosystem. Consulting an expert team to develop a solid enterprise security plan, is one of the most important IoT implementation steps on the way to enterprise digital transformation.
6. Choose IoT platforms and partners for your business
What is suitable for others may not be right for you. Make sure the IoT platforms and digital transformation consultants you partner with meet your requirements and comply with your quality of standards. Wrong choices may result in reputational or revenue losses, so carefully consider all the specifics and various aspects of your business when making these critical decisions.
7. Start small
Industrial IoT driving digital transformation has many tangible benefits. The key step to benefiting from them without messing things up is adopting a gradual approach. You don't have to transform everything all at once. Leave some aspects of your business intact while choosing the most urgent areas of transformation.
Bottomline: most industrial enterprises find digital transformation challenging, largely because they lack IoT expertise. Most importantly, they lack the time it will take them to gain it, even if they do hire in-house digital transformation experts. In these circumstances, partnering with a reliable technology provider looks like the right choice. The road to digital transformation is long, but you don’t have to be alone as you travel it.
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