What Organizations Can do to Leverage IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) allows for free-flowing conversation between man and machine, resulting in better and faster decisions made based on the wealth of new data. The industry, which is expected to grow from 6.4 billion to 21 billion connected objects by 2020, has the power to increase productivity, eliminate costs, and act as a catalyst for the creation of new products, services and business models. However, it also introduces new security and privacy risks, and demands extensive integration and implementation strategies.

IoT is a mobile, virtual, and continuously connected ecosystem built on sensors, networks, cloud storage, apps, and devices working in concert. In 2016, we saw a great deal of consumer-oriented IoT devices on the market, like Amazon Echo and Google Home, and looking forward, those devices are expected to gain additional bandwidth and become more seamlessly integrated into the home.

Industrial uses for IoT are on the rise and are projected to provide improvements in inventory management, expedited production and delivery, and overall, access to infinitely more data throughout. Factory managers may use IoT devices to keep track of stock and monitor the condition of the equipment used in production simultaneously, even scheduling maintenance before equipment breaks down to prevent a halt in production.

The possible applications for this connected devices are endless. The agriculture industry leverages IoT to track and monitor animals and crop performance, and better maintain equipment. Cities are expected to benefit from the IoT through smart lighting, improved transportation and parking, and increased safety measures. It is even beneficial for field workers like cable and energy technicians by ensuring the right tools and products are on the the truck, optimizing routing, decreasing time between customer service calls, and overall streamlining processes.

Partner with entrepreneurs
Startups and entrepreneurs play a significant role in the future of IoT. Large companies are expected to roll out IoT devices prioritizing the incremental efficiencies but are often risk-averse in addressing radical pain points and how to solve them. Startups can move with much more agility and speed to first understand, and then to address these issues and to make a larger impact in the IoT market.

Entrepreneurs and big companies have the opportunity to benefit each other and their customers by building partnerships. Big businesses have the investment money startups are seeking, and entrepreneurs have created products and solutions that the market not only wants but needs. These partnerships have historically brought success to both parties. Intel, Cisco, Microsoft, GE and others acquired numerous game-changing IoT businesses throughout 2016. According to Strategy Analytics, the most desirable acquisition targets are companies whose core competencies revolve around analytics, security and connectivity platform capabilities to give companies a leg up with app development, operational technology expertise and industrial capabilities.

Startups are also equipped to address IoT barriers involved in the ecosystem, including security risks, privacy concerns, implementation and integration hurdles, as well as technological fragmentation.

Better use of data
At the heart of IoT is the ability to transmit data in real-time. Existing and emerging IoT technology can harness enormous amounts of data from sensors as it is created. The management of this data is crucial to maximizing the potential of IoT. Entrepreneurs and big businesses must ask questions about this influx of data because its value diminishes exponentially over time. These questions include: What data is coming into the business? How do we create a common taxonomy for data from disparate sources? How can we streamline the incoming data to make it as digestible and actionable as possible? How can the data be utilized to bring new discoveries and additional benefits?

IoT is the solution to the challenge of disorganized, uninsightful “big data.” It enables organizations to draw value from endless amounts of data points. To refine predictions of the future, this data must be collected and harnessed purposefully. Keep an eye out for innovations around the application and protection of the enormous wealth of data collected from IoT devices.

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