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Embracing the Internet of Things - What's in Store for Enterprises?
By Jimmy Cheong, Head of Professional Services & Technology Group (PSTG), Fuji Xerox Singapore
In the enterprise world, the Internet of Things (IoT) has been said to greatly affect the way businesses are operated. For example, enabling users to identify and access information on choosing the fastest route to drive home, to comparing best deals for an online purchase. New technologies ranging from wearables, to smart appliances and solutions maximising the potential of such connectivity and integration of smart applications for greater usability will become a common place.
According to the latest report by Frost & Sullivan, IoT is poised to become one of the fastest growing segments of the Asia-Pacific technology industry, with spending in Asia Pacific to reach $56.9 billion by 2020.Countries that are expected to be the fastest growing IoT markets in APAC between 2014 and 2017 include India, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. Indian enterprises are said to be still at the early stages of understanding the impact of the IoT on their business, according to Gartner.
Adopting the Internet of Things (IoT)
As technology becomes pervasive and embedded in more aspects of consumers' personal lives, it is not surprising that individuals and businesses will stand to benefit from this shift. In fact, the most forward-thinking businesses are already reaping the benefits of embracing IoT, which includes improved business productivity and efficiency.
As IoT economy is set to thrive even further over the next few years, we believe enterprises should look at evolving and adapting with market changes to be successful. At Fuji Xerox, we believe in continually innovating and transforming our business to keep pace with market changes, and we remain committed to continuous delivering breakthrough products and solutions to our customers, enabling them to achieve greater workflow efficiencies.
For instance, in the pursuit of providing seamless service management to our customers, we have introduced the Electronic Partnership BroadBand (EP-BB), which allows proactive service management, moving our service model from reactive to prognostic.Customers are alerted in advance (even before the customers themselves realises it) when its office necessities such as printing toner or paper run low, as the sensors installed on Fuji Xerox’s multifunction devices (MFDs) printer are able to transmit such information to the cloud to process the alerts. Our strategies have always been about simplifying business processes, enabling our customers to achieve better productivity and helping them achieve their desired business results.
Growing security concerns
However, as promising as IoT may sound at this stage, there are growing concerns among executives about combating the ever-growing security threats that are becoming increasingly sophisticated, which cannot be ignored.According to a recent IDC survey, 30% of respondents (mostly the IT executives) cited security as the biggest roadblock to adopting IoT.
In fact, IT experts play a key role in determining how IoT will impact security across the organisation. Security technologies, encryption schemes and access policies should be part of the success equation to overcome any security challenges. A rule of thumb for organisations that are ready to embrace IoT fully is to approach it with care.While security fears may not be going away soon any time soon, executives should remain optimistic that the industry will find a way to address these concerns. With the right security approach, it will boost usage of IoT enable devices and systems, rather than slowing it down.
The road ahead
Increased connectivity has definitely created a more mobile workforce for any organisations, with knowledge-sharing across geographies made much simpler, and increased work productivity due to streamlined processes. Instead of allowing technology to hinder the growth of the business, it is also crucial that organisations leverage smart office solutions (such as Fuji Xerox’s Smart Flow) to streamline work processes and reach its potential business growth.
While most IoT software and devices may be complex in nature with high security compliance risks, it should not be an impediment for organisations to adopt the changes. The business value of adopting IoT is too great for businesses to sit on the sidelines.To best tap on the ever-growing IoT opportunities, enterprises should be prepared to take risks and be open to changes. If we move past the security issues, we can look forward to a slew of benefits when IoT further matures and strengthens. Companies that are fast in embracing IoT will definitely gain a competitive edge over their competitors.
That being said, many companies are not far behind too. It’s a matter of time before adoption becomes widespread as new security architectures and solutions emerge, and it will be interesting to see how organisations evolve over the next couple of years with IoT.