Reflecting on the year to date it's fair to say a lot has changed, and for businesses the challenges are continuing to stack up.
How does my business adapt? How do I keep pace with the rate of change? Where do I cut or offset costs? How do I introduce new revenue streams? These are just some of the questions business leaders will be asking themselves.
The Internet of Things (IoT) may not address all of these questions, but if applied correctly to address specific business use cases and challenges, it could introduce new revenue streams and cost reduction.
There’s no denying that IoT is the latest rage, and rightly so in many ways. I recently counted how many devices I have connected to the Internet at home and I got to 17, some of which included a fitness tracker, smartwatches, lightbulbs, smart doorbells or even a home security system. Gone are the days where you only had a single desktop PC connected to the internet.
As my own personal example illustrates, IoT is transforming the way we live and work. According to Verified Market Research, the global Internet of Things market was valued at $212 billion in 2018, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 25% over the coming years, reaching $1,319 billion by 2026.
Something we can’t ignore, so let's look at how IoT has been adopted across a few different industries:
With the increase in health and fitness and wearable technology we’re seeing the value of access to real time health data for self-monitoring and engagement. From making informed choices to identifying health issues earlier. An example is the recent story of a man who detected a heart defect through the beats-per-minute feature on his smartwatch. This led to him receiving an early diagnosis and getting the subsequent surgery he required.
By having a live and complete picture of the health of patients, doctors can identify health concerns earlier, help reduce the need for healthcare visits, alleviate strain on resource and improve error rates.
At a time where we are seeing supply chains increasingly tested, there has never been a greater reason for the adoption of IoT to help improve speed, accuracy, and transparency by accessing real time data for analysis. From enabling inventory tracking, recording driver activity with smart location management systems or even ensuring delivery status. The interpretation of this data can result in improved monitoring of production, increased market research and enhance operations through data capture.
During the Covid-19 pandemic we’ve seen supply chains under increasing pressure. Innovative technologies such as IoT offer an opportunity to drive efficiencies, improve logistics and can increase sustainability.
Let's be honest, it is a tough time for the high street and the importance of sales conversion rates has never been so high. By analysing footfall through location-based technology and asset tracking, retailers can improve in-store layout and tailor planning decisions in line with customer behaviour . Couple this with smart pricing and you are in an even better position to attract your customers to purchase in store.
Despite the commercial opportunity, it is fair to say businesses have held back from proceeding with an IoT project or from formulating an IoT strategy. Primary concerns often quoted are around security, infrastructure, and investment. That is until now.
A New Paradigm Shift
The advent of Covid-19 has forced many businesses to rapidly change their working practices and IoT adoption is no different. A recent Vodafone survey of 100 UK businesses and 1,639 businesses globally concluded that 67 percent of the UK have increased IoT projects. Showing the importance of IoT adoption was vital to keeping us going through the crisis with 78 percent saying it was critical to maintaining business continuity. The same survey then goes on to mention the importance of integrating connected devices with workers as a high priority, with 67 percent of businesses considering that IoT will accelerate adoption plans.
But as business models change and adapt, it’s now worth considering your IoT strategy and how it could complement your organisation. There is no doubt that IoT offers huge potential, but adoption is not without challenges. Therefore, consider your security risks, understand the investment required not forgetting regulatory compliance. Most importantly, ensure you have the right level of connectivity or your IoT project may fall by the wayside.
As a first step, seek out technical experts to help you understand how IoT may benefit your business and how it is currently transforming your market. Carry out some analysis to understand how is IoT being adopted by competitors and could this disrupt your market? Just because you are not doing it does not mean a competitor is not.
Increasing acceptance of IoT adoption within your business is also a hurdle that has to be overcome. This can only really be achieved by investing in a new digital strategy and the skills required to deliver this. In other words, communicating the potential of IoT technology in way that is understood, impactful, and accessible is key to building a business case.
The new IoT horizon does come with its challenges but the technology is an opportunity for businesses to become leaner and more efficient. They will be able to connect devices and harness the data collected to open doors to new revenue streams whilst continually optimising and moulding the business to drive efficiencies.
Claranet offer mobile and IoT connectivity services that support a broad range of use cases. From connecting IoT devices, platforms, sites, and users or even secure private networking. We offer global coverage and rapid deployment utilising the latest industry compliant technology with 4G/5G access and a wide range of tariff options to suit your needs.