A Look at the Internet of Things in 2018: 5 Enterprise Trends to Watch

By Special Guest
Ludovico Fassati, Head of IoT, Vodafone Americas
December 05, 2017

The Internet of Things has ushered in a new era of connectivity for businesses. IoT has made significant impacts in every corner of the enterprise world – whether the technology is used to remotely monitor equipment in smart cities or office buildings, or help doctors better track patient progress. Today, more organizations than ever before are recognizing the incredible value of the insights IoT can deliver, leading to the highest levels of adoption the market has ever seen.

As we look toward the new year, business leaders and technologists alike are eager to discover how the technology will continue to mature, and how their organizations will benefit. From IoT helping to drive digital transformation initiatives, to the technology becoming core to enterprise IT functions, there are a number of key IoT trends the enterprise should watch in the year to come. Let’s explore them further.

IoT will drive digital transformation initiatives across the enterprise
Enterprise businesses that have already adopted IoT view the technology as critical to their operations. These are the same companies that are leading in digital transformation – Vodafone’s 2017/18 IoT Barometer found that 74 percent of companies that use IoT agree that digital transformation would not be possible without it. It’s clear that businesses adopting IoT over the next year and beyond will come out ahead of their competitors.

Companies will become more confident in IoT security
Every business should carefully consider the security risks that come with implementing new technologies – however, businesses that have major IoT implementations are showing signs of confidence when it comes to IoT security. These companies are confident because they have the resources and expertise needed to protect assets and defend against potential security threats. As other companies adopt IoT and the technology matures, confidence will continue to increase across businesses in every industry.

IoT will no longer be a standalone technology
IoT has become central to the technology capabilities of many major enterprises. Many companies now no longer refer to their IoT work as a “project,” given that IoT has become a core part of the enterprise IT fabric. By integrating IoT into core systems such as ERP and CRM platforms, businesses can ultimately derive great insights and make adjustments to processes and services in real time. Within just a few years, it’s likely IoT will be core to millions of business processes, and in the future, businesses may even take connectivity for granted.

LP-WAN solutions will create new possibilities in the IoT market
Constant innovation in the IoT market gives enterprise adopters many connectivity options. Chief among these options are Low-Power Wide Area Networks, (LP-WAN) which allow for connectivity over a large area at a low cost. LP-WAN technologies, such as Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) are ideal solutions for connectivity and remote monitoring in places that are traditionally difficult to reach, such as underground pipes and utility meters. NB-IoT represents an area of growth for the IoT market – as businesses continue to become aware of and adopt the technology, we will see new applications of IoT emerge.

Businesses will see new benefits
In 2018, companies that implement IoT will experience a variety of benefits – these go far beyond just enabling more precise data collection and better insights. In fact, companies will begin to see IoT as a driver of improvements in a multitude of ways, including reducing risk, cutting costs, increasing employee productivity, improving the customer experience, and more. Companies that can fully integrate IoT across business units are likely to see even more benefits.

It’s clear the Internet of Things is rapidly becoming a necessary technology for any enterprise business seeking to digitally transform and stay ahead of the competitive set. As 2017 comes to a close and we move into the new year, organizations that leverage IoT in their operations – whether they are exploring the technology for the first or expanding their IoT work in new ways – stand to see success.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

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