Harnessing the IoT to Drive Digital Transformation
By Cara Sloman, Executive Vice President, Nadel Phelan, Inc.
The proliferation of IoT applications and their ability to drive digital transformation have been supported by advancements in key technologies, such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence. Unprecedented opportunities for business growth await those CIOs and business leaders who understand the ecosystem of forces driving the IoT.
IT and Beyond
Most of the use cases for IoT are currently IT-focused, but future projects are predicted to focus on industrial applications. Some of the biggest industrial enterprises, including GE, Siemens, and Schneider, are investing billions in their IoT platforms.
In the “digital vortex” of rapid marketplace change, tech products and services are particularly vulnerable. The ability to scale and quickly adopt and adapt new technologies will determine longevity.
There are several factors increasing the usefulness and driving the growth of IoT, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers:
The Convergence of IT and OT: Mountains of previously unavailable data are being generated and captured as information and operational technology have begun to interconnect. The coming together of these historically siloed departments means more informed decisions, reduced operational costs and improved production processes for the manufacturing industry.
Explosion of Connected Devices: There will be to 80 billion internet-connected devices by 2025, projects IDC. These devices will generate 180 zettabytes of data per year, in contrast to 4.4 zettabytes in 2013 and 44 zettabytes in 2020.
An organization’s most valuable asset is its data, but data is only useful if it is actionable
Cloud/Fog Computing: The road that led to IoT was paved by cloud computing, and now fog and edge computing are furthering its growth, extending cloud capabilities closer to connected devices and facilitating the operation of computing, storage and network services between end devices and cloud computing data centers.
Artificial Intelligence: An organization’s most valuable asset is its data, but data is only useful if it is actionable. AI helps make data actionable, supporting enhanced IoT applications that enable predictive, prescriptive and adaptive analytics. It will continue to heighten productivity and expand business opportunities beyond anything previously possible.
Drivers of Transformation
Digital transformation is being driven by the ecosystem of IoT and its supporting technologies, enabling growth through the strengthening of current business models and the creation of new offerings, services, and products.
Organizations will use IoT to support digital transformation in a number of ways, including:
Greater agility – As enterprises rid themselves of slow legacy IT systems, they can become more nimble and responsive to current market trends and demands with greater speed. This frees technology and personnel resources to focus on strategy and innovation.
Business opportunity discovery – Companies gain a more accurate and comprehensive understanding of their customers use cases and preferences by gathering and analyzing massive data sets generated by IoT devices. Previously unseen insights into their offerings can turn into new products, services and ways to create value for their customers.
Better customer experiences – Customers have come to expect 24/7 accessibility. IoT-enabled big data analysis can help businesses build a better platform, tool or strategy that will improve consumer experiences through multiple touch points. With a comprehensive understanding of customers, businesses will be able to personalize their marketing efforts, positioning relevant products and services each customer. On the service side, access to complex, real-time data will enable businesses to streamline workflows and better react to urgent issues. These advancements will free up personnel resources to interact with customers and better anticipate their needs, enhancing satisfaction and engagement.
Increased efficiency and lowered costs – A significant benefit of the IoT is its ability to reduce costs and increase productivity through the automation and integration of processes. The combination of data-driven insights and sensor-integrated systems presents the opportunity for businesses to improve operations in multiple areas including, inventory and human resource management, security, energy, and safety compliance.
Creating Value with the IoT
Digital transformation is opening a new world of possibilities and advantages for organizations that embark on this journey wisely. Success includes awareness of the factors involved in the growth of IoT, including fog computing and artificial intelligence so that businesses can harness and apply these technologies to create new value in many areas. As they integrate IoT solutions into their business models, reduced costs, new business opportunities and a host of other advantages await.