In 2017, many companies will achieve breakthroughs in digital transformation. One technology driving them will be the Internet of Things (IoT). The idea of a connected constellation of devices able to sense and report on their environments has captured the business community’s imagination. Analyst company IHS Markit[i] anticipates 20 billion connected IoT devices by 2020.
However, the enterprise journey to a mature IoT solution will take vision and planning. In its report, Unlocking the Potential of the Internet of Things, McKinsey Global Institute[ii] outlines several hurdles to IoT success. First comes a need to find real value in IoT so that companies can move beyond the hype.
Many Orange customers are already finding this value and acting on it, for example:
- Tractive is an Austria-based developer of hardware, apps and gadgets for pet owners. It will use SIM cards provided by Orange for IoT connectivity in its Tractive GPS product, which helps pet owners locate their missing pets.
- Sensile Technologies uses IoT technologies to remotely monitor oil and gas tanks worldwide.
- LivaNova Group (formerly Sorin) uses IoT technology to provide remote monitoring solutions for patients with implanted cardiac devices.
- Hertz uses the IoT to connect vehicles that customers can rent on an hourly basis. It allows users to collect their rented cars or vans from convenient locations at any time and for any duration.
- Flaik offers a wearable connected device for skiers, which tracks their position and performance on their web portal.
The journey to IoT success
As these examples show, each company has its own unique approach to IoT. Our conversations with global enterprises has led Orange to describe four broad stages of IoT maturity:
- IoT Strategy. This first stage heralds the beginning of the IoT journey. These companies are typically formulating their digital product strategies and understand the pace of digital transformation in their industry, but have no significant IoT solution in place yet.
- IoT Initiation. Companies at this level are in exploratory mode, evaluating the value of IoT and testing technologies and platforms. They have often validated proofs of concept with which to build their IoT business case.
- Early Adoption. An early adopter has taken IoT through the development, testing and deployment phase within a single product or business division.
- IoT Enterprise. Companies at this advanced stage have deployed IoT across the company and are adding more value to it by using the data it produces for big data analytics.
Most of the large multinationals that make up Orange’s Americas Solution Advisory Board are in the first two stages of IoT maturity. They are taking time to analyze their business and understand where it can bring real value to what they do.
Meeting IoT challenges
Beyond this search for value, companies should not underestimate the business challenges they will face. In its report The Internet of Things: Are Organizations Ready For A Multi-Trillion Dollar Prize?, Capgemini Consulting[iii] notes that 42% of companies provide no IoT solutions at all, and there are some key concerns holding them back.
Half of those surveyed described an inability to secure an ecosystem of connected devices as a key barrier. Following a range of stories including the hacking of connected cars and the revelation of vulnerable medical devices, security challenges are already leading some to call for government regulation of IoT.
Assuming you can secure this constellation of connected devices, what are you going to do with the ocean of data it generates? Two thirds of Capgemini’s respondents found a lack of infrastructure for analyzing big data as a key barrier. Understanding the management and manipulation of large data sets, and turning them into business insights, is a critical part of many IoT projects.
There are many moving parts in an IoT solution, and the smartest companies acknowledge the complexities involved. This doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t keep exploring, however, with the help of a trusted partner to guide them through these potential challenges. The road to IoT maturity may have its speed bumps, but it is also paved with opportunity.
Published with thanks to Niels Helkov who led the discussions on IoT maturity models and journeys during the 2016 Americas Solutions Advisory Board.
Read more about Orange Business Services and IoT and Data Analytics here
[i] IoT Trend Watch 2017, IHS Markit
[ii] The Internet of Things: Mapping the value beyond the hype, McKinsey Global Institute
[iii] The Internet of Things: Are Organizations Ready For A Multi-Trillion Dollar Prize?, Capgemini Consulting