Every winter, gyms are flooded with people determined to work on their “summer bods” — many of whom are now armed with connected wearable fitness devices to confirm that they're well on their way to their goal. Today, enterprises are also getting into shape to compete in a hyper-connected, data-driven digital world by working Internet of Things (IoT) applications into their business strategy.
A survey conducted last year by IDC reported that 31.4 percent of organizations had already launched IoT initiatives, and 43 percent more planned to do so over the next 12 months. In another survey, Gartner concluded that IoT applications would move toward mainstream adoption by the end of 2016, with 43 percent already using the technology or planning to do so in the upcoming year. Simply put, the IoT is putting on its power suit.
What's in IoT Applications for Me?
Whether you're tracking the calories you've burned on the treadmill or streamlining enterprise operations, the IoT is all about gleaning actionable insight from the massive amounts of data generated by people, connected devices, and systems. In the enterprise, IoT can have a positive impact on all levels of the organization, including:
- Service: Identify potential applications and infrastructure performance bottlenecks with proactive monitoring, reporting and alerting tools.
- Sales: Create personalized customer profiles to give sales associates insights that provide better leads as well as up- or cross-sell opportunities.
- Finance: Align finance with business strategy and operations with a birds-eye view of data across integrated ERP, CRM, HR, billing and point-of-sale (POS) systems.
- Operations:Improve efficiency, scalability, and availability with a comprehensive view of all connected assets and infrastructure resources.
- Engineering: Decrease product and service development lifecycles and increase time-to-market for new ones to stay ahead of the competition.
Challenges and Tips
Just like getting those summer abs toned up, the potential for enterprise IoT is exciting, but getting there is another story. First, procuring the infrastructure to support IoT applications requires a significant up-front investment and takes a long time to implement. Second, if not planned out carefully, IoT can be difficult to scale as the organization grows, new products and services are added, and more devices connect to the network. Third, if critical back-end, legacy systems aren't integrated seamlessly, the data generated from IoT applications is essentially useless.
To roll out a successful IoT project, businesses must build infrastructure that can handle the exchange and storage of massive amounts data. In increasingly mobile and BYOD environments, businesses must also make sure that connected devices are interoperable and prepare for new ones that are sure to come along. Perhaps the most important step is to deploy powerful data analytics platforms that can actually help businesses make smart, data-driven decisions.
Businesses are Already on It
Industries such as healthcare, real estate, insurance, law, finance, accounting, and marketing are already using IoT applications in interesting ways. Hospitals, for example, are using smart "Tug" robots to perform routine delivery and transportation tasks, freeing workers to focus on better patient care. In financial services, banks are creating budgeting IoT apps that can send alerts to their customers' mobile devices that may have them thinking twice about that triple latte, while insurance companies are leveraging IoT apps like Neos, which can identify and notify customers of potential risks before any real damage occurs.
While people work on their "summer bods" each winter, the steps they track on a treadmill often turn into the steps they make around the office as the year goes on. Yet, today's businesses can't afford to give up on their IoT strategies, despite the challenges they are sure to face. That's because IoT applications are here to stay, and will change the way we do business in today's fast-paced, digital world. In a recent Machina Research Strategy report, in fact, the company predicts that the enterprise IoT market will grow from $56 billion in 2015 to $273 billion by 2025. In the end, it's time for businesses to get moving on IoT, and most of all, not give up and get left behind the competition.
Contact Vonage Business today to discuss strategies for upgrading your business' legacy systems.