The Internet of Things (IoT) is having a broad impact on organisations globally. Over the past five years, many new products and solutions have emerged which incorporate IoT technology and these impact business strategy, risk management and technical areas such as network design.
According to Nick Jones, Vice President and distinguished partner at Gartner, the top 10 emerging IoT technologies are:
- IoT Security
- IoT Analytics
- IoT Device Management
- Low-Power, Short-Range IoT Networks
- Low-Power, Wide-Area Networks
- IoT Processors
- IoT Operating Systems
- Event Stream Processing
- IoT Platforms
- IoT Standards and Ecosystems
“The IoT will continue to deliver new opportunities for digital business innovation for the next decade, many of which will be enabled by new or improved technologies,” said Jones, research vice president at Gartner. “CIOs who master innovative IoT trends have the opportunity to lead digital innovation in their business.”
Why is the IoT so important for small and medium enterprises?
The Internet of Things will demand an extensive range of new technologies and skills that many companies haven’t yet mastered, says Jones.
“A recurring theme in the IoT space is the immaturity of technologies and services and of the vendors providing them. Architecting for this immaturity and managing the risk it creates will be a key challenge for organizations exploiting the IoT. In many technology areas, lack of skills will also pose significant challenges.”
Whilst there have been significant advances in both the maturity of the technology and services and the vendors providing them over the past five years, there is still some way to go before IoT technology becomes an integrated part of the digital strategies of small and medium enterprises.
The impact of COVID-19
2020 was a difficult time for many businesses. The global COVID-19 pandemic led to revenue losses for businesses worldwide and companies have started to look towards IoT technologies to innovate and save money.
According to Gartner, “Organizations implementing IoT are increasingly focused on the business outcomes of the technology; IoT initiatives are no longer driven by the sole purpose of internal operational improvement. IT and business stakeholders must work together to align IoT projects with business objectives for improving revenue and customer experience, but they are bound by legacy approaches. Organisations with high levels of IoT maturity achieve higher rates of success in their IoT adoption.”
The impact of IoT through the COVID-19 pandemic
In a recent study by Vodafone which surveyed 1,639 businesses globally, they found that IoT is seen as key to improving business performance with 95% of respondents seeing a positive return on investment.
The benefits of IoT fall into two main areas: improving operational efficiency and creating new connected products and services. These two areas will be even more important as we head into 2021 with businesses looking to recover from the impact of COVID-19.
The survey was conducted at the height of the pandemic and 84% of IoT adopters felt that IoT was a key factor in maintaining business continuity. While this meant some projects had to be paused and resources reprioritised, the crisis prompted 73% of IoT users to accelerate the pace of adoption.
There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to work in different ways. Whether it’s enabling more staff to work from home or automating systems within the workplace, the use of IoT enabled technology is helping to facilitate new ways of working and those embracing IoT believe that the benefits outweigh the risks. The survey found that 73% of adopters are confident that companies that have failed to embrace IoT within five years will have fallen behind. IoT can create sustainable, long-term, competitive advantage.
Data is informing strategy
Data is key in a fast-moving world. It helps businesses understand what customers want and how best to minimise costs, eliminate wastage and make their supply chains run as smoothly as possible.
86% of respondents said IoT has changed the way they approach analytics and the handling of data. By using IoT data in their strategic decision-making, businesses can plan for the future. They can also respond to unexpected changes more efficiently, with 39% saying they’re able to serve customers more effectively and flexibly thanks to IoT.
Whether it’s facilitating working from home, remotely monitoring operations, or collecting data that can inform future strategy, there is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of IoT around the world.
Companies focusing on their future readiness are seeing IoT as an essential component of the future workplace. Businesses are also recognising how powerful IoT can be when combined with other technologies.
Having an open mindset to IoT is key to realising its full potential and creating a future-ready business. This is where IoT acts as a tool for problem-solving and innovating, rather than just a technology running independently in the background.
With the huge potential to change lives and improve business efficiency, IoT will continue to find itself in the spotlight as we head into 2021 and here at NEC New Zealand we are excited about the future applications.