Before wading too deeply into the waters of enterprise IoT, it makes sense to get some depth soundings for the marketplace overall. It may be early days for IoT, but there are already platforms and technologies with significant market traction and records of success.
On the other hand, anyone with a good grasp on the current state of IoT and the IoT business can't help but notice that there is much that is still entirely up in the air, including which sorts of wireless data transfer protocols and topologies are best for which sorts of applications. There are still plenty of questions about how companies with no experience in deploying digital products are going to navigate through the turbulent process of evaluating and adopting the platforms they'll use to create and manufacture the "thing" part of the equation.
Even with the prevalent uncertainties, there are some clear directions and certainly there are some strategies that are more likely to bring success than others. Here's our guide on the IoT business environment, exploring the companies that are shaping the industry, current and future market trends, and how organizations are thinking about their strategic opportunities.
1Giants and startups-
A look at IoT's top players
A great deal has been written about IoT innovations coming initially from startups. There are venture capitalists who focus solely on IoT, or on specific niches within IoT (industrial, say, or retail). We follow the startups, particularly as the stronger startups begin to gain traction and deliver elements of larger enterprise IoT deployments.
But it's a mistake not to think that the titans of industry, technology and retail don't see their future in IoT products and services. They are, once they've really jumped into it, often better able to fund new product development and more likely to be able to withstand the pressures of scaling up initiatives in a global context.
Bringing promising ideas to market is never easy, but savvy entrepreneurs are finding new ways to move IoT startups from prototype to production. Continue Reading
As channel partners mull over business moves for the upcoming year, many executives may consider IoT as a potential play -- and for good reason. "There is so much demand for IoT within SMBs [small ... Continue Reading
Industrial IoT business is booming
IoT has enjoyed a number of outsized growth predictions, and the industrial part of the IoT picture has rightfully enjoyed its fair share of the rose tint. Accenture estimates that IIoT could add $14.2 billion to the economy by 2030; General Electric says investment in it will reach $60 billion in the next 15 years. You can probably just run with your wild-eyed figure of choice and be as close as anyone, but in any case it seems safe to say that IIoT will drive productivity and economic growth like nothing else, perhaps even since the industrial revolution.
Where industry is concerned, of course, control systems are nothing new. There's a good argument to be made that these control systems were IoT before there was IoT, but then again these systems didn't leverage their sensor capabilities beyond the immediately local control of valves and switches, all within inherently closed systems.
The onslaught of new, more reliable, more capable and even considerably cheaper sensors means that more is known about process and machine status at all times, plus the stream of information that the manufacturing floor generates has meant that fine-tuning and iterative improvements to production processes are fully in reach.
IoT technology makes it easier to manage large amounts of manufacturing data across production sites. Here's how manufacturing is changing as a result. Continue Reading
At the Connected Things 2016 event, experts highlighted the need for interoperability. Warning that disaster is on the horizon, they said it might be a good thing. Continue Reading
Manufacturers are starting to use IoT-enabled devices to monitor equipment performance and improve field service, but the full benefits of IoT for enterprise service management have yet to be seen. Continue Reading
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3Data and IoT-
It's not about the 'things,' it's about the data
The ultimate value of self-driving cars, smart thermostats and automated factories lies not in the benefits of each individual sort of thing, even if that first-order value is considerable. Rather, the revolutionary aspect of the shift to IoT is in the holistic experiences that groups of these devices can connive together to create. The things, as Neil Gershenfeld famously put it, begin to think.
Things don't literally have to "think," of course. But they do have to be parts of ecosystems that can make sense of all of the data streams that pertain to a certain context or situation. That ecosystem, we have come to believe, is built with a combination of sensor-laden but compute-constrained endpoints, preliminary edge-based processing, and a cloud system that both analyzes and archives the relevant parts of each data stream.
The growing dependence of things on their data streams creates enormous and interesting challenges for those engaged both in data centers and in analytics. We're only just beginning to get an inkling of how inventive we'll need to be in order to make sense of our own digital shadows.
With all the hype about the Internet of Things, many businesses are wondering how they can get value out of IoT investments. One critical component is effective data analytics. Continue Reading
Data from the Internet of Things creates opportunities to analyze equipment performance and track the activities of drivers and users of wearable devices. But IoT data analytics requires significant IT provisions. Continue Reading
The internet of things is generally thought of as a data source, but new business reporting software from Sisense is leveraging the concept for data consumption. Continue Reading
With user demand for low-latency, high-performing applications, delegates at Datacloud Europe 2016 hail edge datacentres as the answer Continue Reading
Enterprise gets more from its data and better predictive analytics with capable machine learning, but this AI still isn't good enough at finding meaningful patterns in data. Continue Reading
Big data analytics processes on data from sensors and log files can propel users to competitive advantages, but a lot of refining is required first. Continue Reading
IoT: Business as usual?
In the end, it's hard to imagine that just about every kind of business will be affected by IoT in some way or another. But some industries have key challenges that have it particularly easy for them to justify various early adopter IoT business deployments.
Healthcare, for example, has expensive equipment that tends to move around within hospitals and care facilities. The entire purpose of much of this equipment is to gather data about individual patients and send it to a centralized system for analysis. Equipping new generations of these various monitors and imagers and so on with connectivity -- plus integrating them with existing identity management infrastructures -- has been a path with obvious and immediate rewards.
When aircraft take to the sky with IoT sensors on board, repair needs are more accurately predicted, potential failures trigger alerts and safety measures can be boosted. Continue Reading
Retail IoT applications can help companies improve the performance of inventory management systems, much as just-in-time production has aided manufacturers. Continue Reading
The future of IoT devices in healthcare facilities depends greatly on how well providers are equipped to use the patient data collected by the devices. Continue Reading
Get your IoT business off the ground
While things are indeed starting to "think," it's also clear that they won't do the strategic planning parts of our jobs anytime soon. Having a vision for where your organization is heading with IoT involves planning and finding a longer-term trajectory across several different domains.
It may seem obvious that an enterprise will want to pick a platform for its IoT business endeavors, but there are literally hundreds of things in the marketplace that vendors have decided to call platforms. Nor is it clear that one platform, even if very comprehensive, is enough. The choices here remain thorny, complex and are likely to have implications well into the next few quarters, if not years.
Having a platform or even having a product that uses that platform is not the same as having a viable business. Therefore decisions must be made -- with less-than-perfect visibility -- about how IoT can help make your business money.
Sorting through IoT platform choices can be challenging for IT decision makers who don't want to be left behind. Narrow the choices by first setting business and technology goals. Continue Reading
Schneider Electric's Bhavani Amirthalingam offers advice on developing an IoT business plan that works for IT and the business. Continue Reading
Learning how to create revenue, making sense of IoT data and preventing latency are among the top themes for industry experts' IoT predictions for 2017. Continue Reading
Augmented reality services enable a wide swath of users to see real-time, contextual information about their smart, connected products. Continue Reading
Plan your internet of things roadmap for a connected enterprise using Microsoft Azure and discover how to exploit the true potential of an IoT implementation. Continue Reading