The Internet of Things (IoT) has been widely publicized over the past few years. According to McKinsey & Company, while the focus has been mainly on connected consumer products, “some of the most exciting IoT innovations have occurred within the business sector, where the combination of sensor data and sophisticated analytical algorithms has allowed companies to streamline business processes, increase productivity, and develop leading-edge products.”
CB Insights has been tracking funding and deals to IoT startups. According to the data, since 2012, funding and deals have seen consistent year-over-year growth. 2016 marked the first time that deals fell. As of November, deals were on track to fall by 5%.
While enterprise IoT is in the early stages of implementation, McKinsey & Company found that 98% of executives believe that most businesses within their industry include in their strategic road maps, enterprise IoT initiatives. In terms of areas where IoT has the potential for the greatest impact, service operations and manufacturing are the clear leaders.
IoT Analytics identified six key learnings from research of both IoT technology vendors and end-users when it comes to implementation:
- Organizational and culture change is often underestimated. Identified as the number one challenge, education and chancing mindsets require time and effort.
- IoT projects take much longer than anticipated. The average time to market is between 18 and 24 months, with the fastest implementation at 9 months. Achieving profitability takes another few years.
- Necessary skills are not available in-house. There is a skills gap in data science. IoT Analytics recommends mapping this gap, cross-training and upskilling the workforce focusing specifically on the new technologies unique to IoT.
- Security is often an afterthought. To accommodate additional device functionality, security features are commonly cut from initial designs. However, to increase IoT adoption, data and device security should play a significant role in technology development.
- Interconnectivity issues are a major complexity driver. IoT technology is not ready to use quickly. For one industrial OEM, it took almost four months to make all of the applications and equipment to work seamlessly.
- Scalability becomes an issue when going to thousands of devices. While it is recommended to start small with IoT implementation, it is also recommended to think big. Make sure that your hardware is powerful enough and data models are fast enough for scalability.
IoT is not just for big businesses. According to Anne Mercogliano, VP of Marketing and Business Operations at technology company IFTTT, small business owners can use IoT to “streamline their processes and work more efficiently.” She identifies five ways that every small business can leverage IoT technology and connected services:
- Give yourself an unpaid assistant (legally) through a Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa device.
- Cut down on your multitasking by setting up workflows that pipe things into one place.
- Automate office maintenance through smart locks and connected light bulbs.
- Communicate better with your team by automating routine reminders and updates.
- Monitor your competitors by using search and keyword function services to get notified when there is an update about the competition.
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