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Is IoT the best fit for your business?
By Martin Dube, Chief Digital Officer & Managing Director of IoT, Cisco.
In early 2006, many pioneering technologies like Cloud, Big Data, and Next Generation Analytics were being integrated into organizations to boost competition and improve operations. At that time, some organizations felt these technologies unnecessary or unworkable within their specific industries. Today, in 2017, most organizations from startups to large enterprises would all agree they are not able to compete without the integration of cloud environments and how quickly or easily business adapts to these technologies.
Similarly, the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT), which first made its appearance in the market in 2010, has had a fast uptake as businesses continue to recognize the enhancement capacity for their enterprise business. Today, enterprise organizations are deploying platforms in areas such as:
• Cities deploying Smart Connected Digital Platform for Smart Parking, Smart Lighting, Smart Waste, Smart Safety and Security
• Transportation, leveraging IoT to support their challenges by monitoring their assets
• Manufacturing , deploying a digital platform for Connected Factory, Connected Supply Chain, Connected Asset or Connected Worker
• Utilities, leveraging IoT to deploy Substation Automation, Field Area Network
• In Agriculture, Infrastructure like monitoring bridge, tunnel, highway , connect car, mining…just to highlight a few.
Business uptake has demonstrated that IoT is no longer a mystery or unknown in the Asia-Pacific region. However, questions often remain as to how best extract insights from devices (automotive vehicles, bridges, tunnels, machinery, sensors, cameras, engines, meters, vending machine, medical devices) in order to deliver actionable data insights, automate processes, and produce visual information. Information that can subsequently be accessed and re-imagined in the most secure manner possible, while maintaining a low operational cost. Studies have indicated that on average one million devices are connecting each hour. This creates a huge diversity of new environments all addressing business outcomes within their specific industries.
From Agriculture, Manufacturing, Transportation to Healthcare, Sports, and Entertainment, IoT Is Being Adopted in All Industries Today
Several driving factors are shaping broad adoption of IoT today, in addition to more specific factors that are shaping the future of IoT use—across every industry. For some industries these influences will significantly impact the way a business will implement an IoT strategy and harness the valued delivered through IoT.
Despite IoT becoming a largely mainstream investment for many organisations, differences in adoption are often dictated by business structure, their talent, company culture, principal, security strategy, and the business’ integration with their environment. Likewise, organisations need to constantly be aware of, and understand, the surrounding ecosystem of IoT: Analytics and Artificial Intelligence, IoT security, Blockchain, Machine Learning, Cloud, Robotics, Network Technologies, Automation and Industry 4.0. It is crucial to understand that the whole focus of the adoption of these technologies (and of IoT itself) is for technology to work cohesively and provide data analytics that offer enhanced business outcomes. It is precisely this reason as to why industry standards are so important. Without standards, interoperability is impossible and benefits are near impossible to achieve. The industries that have been evolving rapidly are those with a collection of overlapping standards and proprietary technologies that provide true interoperable standards.
Some standards already exist:
-Interest groups in IEEE, IETF, and other horizontal standards bodies are working to evolve existing horizontal standards to meet IoT requirements. Time Sensitive Networking in IEEE is a great example of evolving the Ethernet standard.
-Vertical industry groups are migrating specialized or proprietary technologies to open standards. They are also standardizing foundational data fields essential for scalable data collection—for example, they are establishing a standard way to express “temperature” or “pressure” values. This effort is starting with controller-specific data and then moving to telemetry and diagnostics.
-Various consortia are developing frameworks and driving interoperability across their members’ implementations. One example is the OpenFog Consortium, which released the OpenFog Reference Architecture earlier this year.
What is your highway to best business outcomes?
It is understood that IoT technologies are maturing, with many solutions deployed, many new start-ups emerging, and many scalable production applications are in operation. However, IoT security adoption and strategy, by both businesses and vendors, is still lagging and with this inactivity comes an increase in the cost of implementations.
Financial benefits offset these lagging hiccups. With six of the tried and true paths being: connected operations, remote operations, monitoring & digitizing operation, predictive analytics, preventive maintenance, and connected safety and security. Adoption of these paths has allowed many industries to thrive and succeed by implementing fast-payback. From agriculture, manufacturing, transportation to healthcare, sports, and entertainment, IoT is being adopted in all industries today.
So how about you? If you are yet to start on the IoT journey, just pick one of these six fast path scenarios, then start small to minimize the risk, and maximize the value of your first project. It’s now up to you to decide which of these is the best fit for your business