The Internet of Things (IoT) — the intersection of the virtual and physical worlds via connected devices, is changing the way people live and work and bringing new opportunities for businesses. The IoT can help companies increase productivity, cut costs, offer new products and services and deploy new business models. But IoT can require extensive integration and skilled staff for implementation. It also often creates new demands around security and interconnectivity (the capacity for varied computer systems and applications to “talk” with each other.)
Even as IoT promises significant benefits for companies, it will involve major changes in the way they operate and do business. Organizations may need to re-examine their entire business models, realign their partner strategies, and rework their processes to continue being competitive in the new, IoT-enabled world.
With the potential opportunities and challenges in mind, here are some considerations for your organization.
Know your industry
The benefits of networked objects vary by industry, and so it is important to understand how potential developments in the IoT relate to your marketplace. For example, studies show that automotive and transportation-focused organizations will benefit from connected devices – in the areas of vehicle performance and traffic monitoring, for instance – that improve the customer experience, reduce pollution, and increase safety and revenue. Manufacturers can use smart sensors and digital control systems to allow machines to communicate on the plant floor, improving flexibility and efficiency, while reducing energy consumption and costs. Healthcare companies can better monitor equipment, staff and patients, improving outcomes and increasing savings. Depending on your business, you might use the IoT in the products you sell, or in the devices you use to make your products, or both. You might use the networked objects to monitor employee productivity, or to assess and improve customer engagement.
Assess your current technology infrastructure, then improve it
Organizations should do an IoT assessment. Does the company already have some IoT systems, processes and technologies within the organization and how ready is it for an IoT implementation? For example, does it have devices that communicate? Can it provide real-time insights based on data? Is the data connected to its enterprise systems, and so on? The company then needs to map its current level of IoT maturity — or readiness level — and the level of technological skill needed to hit the business goals.
Understand how the IoT can help your partners and vendors
Not only will your organization find operational and customer benefits in connected objects, the companies you do business with will gain efficiencies as well. Your shipping or logistics partner, for instance, will employ increasingly effective smart technology to track deliveries, improve speed, and streamline global compliance procedures. Your suppliers also will use the IoT to reduce costs for sourcing materials. In this environment, it will pay to find partners and vendors at the forefront of IoT adoption.
One of the most critical aspects of IoT centers on securing its data, network and products, and that security is and will continue to be costly. To protect IoT’s open systems and make them less vulnerable to malicious cyberattacks, IT leaders must make sure that security is deeply embedded in the product design process.
That means that IT leaders should plan for ways to allow users to control what type and how much data is transmitted. And ongoing as well, data policies must be created to stay abreast of stricter regulations and provide transparency.
Despite the challenges, the Internet of Things is poised to radically improve organizational efficiency and productivity, decrease operational costs, and improve a company’s understanding of its customers and its partners. Is your organization well positioned to take advantage?
The Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to fundamentally change how businesses and consumers operate. Litcom can help your organization to identify where value will be created in its industry and develop strategies to capture that value, utilizing IoT for operational benefit. Contact us today for your free consultation: firstname.lastname@example.org.