5 ways to future-proof your IoT implementation


IoT devices are becoming more prevalent every day, spanning industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, automotive, and more. By 2020, Gartner predicts we will see more than 65 percent of enterprises adopting IoT products. With the influx of more devices in more places, IoT implementation has become increasingly complex.

As a result, more companies are looking to freshen their deployments to stay ahead of the competition. While IoT has yet to turn every car on the road into a driverless vehicle, it is changing the way we live and do business at an increasingly rapid pace. To prepare, there are steps you can take to future-proof your IoT implementation today to ready your business for tomorrow.

#1 Continue to fine tune your deployment

At the start of your project, you should have worked with your SMEs to define the problem your IoT initiative can solve based on your unique needs and goals. Yet, an IoT initiative is never considered ‘complete.’ There are always areas for improvement to further unlock value and transform your organization.

To adjust to these changes, companies typically call on their team of data scientists to optimize and scale their IoT solution(s) according to shifting goals. However, having a team of data scientists available is not always possible. According to Gartner, a lack of data science specialists will inhibit 75 percent of organizations from achieving the full potential of IoT. That’s why many businesses are turning to data science services to help them harness the full potential of their data and maximize the return on their IoT investment.

#2 Prepare for an increasing volume of devices

As the population of connected IoT devices grows exponentially by the day, it’s only a matter of time before devices will outpace people. In fact, the number of devices is expected to grow to 20.4 billion in 2020. As the number of IoT devices increases, the variety and complexity of devices becomes extremely broad, generating countless extra details and issues. The spectrum stretches from two-dollar temperature sensors to million-dollar wind turbines.

Your current IoT deployment may be set up for success for a few hundred devices, but what happens when it reaches a few thousand? Or even a million? When a deployment gets that large, it’s important that your IoT device management solutions can scale to control a range and sophistication of devices.

#3 Leverage predictive analytics

It’s no wonder that predicting asset behavior is a key component of future-proofing an IoT implementation, since it can help organizations act on and change future outcomes. Knowing when an asset will fail before it happens allows companies to take the steps necessary to address it, ensuring they avoid negative consequences, such as unnecessary costs or downtime.

Others have found it beneficial to predicting increases in demand. Instead of being faced with limited resources, they harness the demand to increase revenue and customer satisfaction. Predictive analytics is transforming many of today’s connected organizations by proactively identifying asset efficiency, performance issues and other key factors before they impact operations.

#4 Set the stage for automation

With an advanced IoT deployment, you will be able to use automation to orchestrate complex actions across your organization through dynamic rules-based logic. This includes automating a variety of activities such as service ticketing and inventory adjustment requests.

To prepare your IoT deployments for automation, assign an internal champion to the initiative and get the right resources in place to extract relevant data. Taking a practical approach can help minimize organizational and individual resistance, as well as build the foundation for more advanced capabilities.

#5 Integrate with other enterprise systems

For years, enterprises have invested in big data initiatives, combining information from multiple sources to help their business make quicker, more accurate decisions. Most of these efforts have been focused on human-generated data stored in ERP, CRM, and other enterprise systems.

Integrating your IoT data with existing reporting systems has the potential to add more real-time information and context in terms of how the business is operating. It can also provide visibility into areas of the business that were not previously possible. For some companies, this is an opportunity to increase operational efficiency and streamline costs. For others, it can unlock new business models and revenue streams.

Though the path to successful IoT implementation changes every day, it’s possible to stay ahead of the curve by paying attention to top industry trends. Knowing that the number of devices is growing or that predictive capabilities are becoming more prevalent is the first step to adapting your business accordingly. Future proofing also requires assistance from all members of an organization - from IT teams and internal champions to executives and outsourced help. Doing an evaluation of your current IoT program can keep you in-tune with the data, processes, and people across your business. While the future is uncertain, there are certain steps businesses can take to be as prepared as possible.

Dave McCarthy is a leading authority on industrial IoT. As vice president at Bsquare Corporation, he advises Fortune 1000 customers on how to integrate device and sensor data with their enterprise systems to improve business outcomes.

Edited by Ken Briodagh
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