The Internet of Things Hits The Mainstream
Gartner forecasts that by 2020 there will be 25 billion connected things in our world. These connections, which together make up the Internet of Things (IoT), have morphed from a digital dream to a mainstream reality. The IoT has become a powerful force for business transformation, and its disruptive impact will be felt across all industries and all areas of society.
TCS recent global trend study looked at 795 companies to understand the future of IoT. Four out of five companies will use IoT to monitor their premises, products, customers and supply chain.
Mobile apps will be a common way of utilizing the IoT. Forty-seven percent of respondents said they will use mobile apps to track customers. Currently, global organizations from North America and Europe lead the IoT adoption race because their customers tend to be more tech-savvy.
Companies should consider three questions as they prepare to respond to the opportunities and challenges that the IoT presents.
Is the necessary infrastructure in place?
Companies now have access to network and cloud services that provide the infrastructure for the Internet of Things. They can either be public (accessible to the population at large) or private (protected behind an organizations firewall). These services deliver the seamless and transparent connection to the Internet that hubs require, along with the cloud computing power needed to collect, store, and analyze vast amounts of data from myriad sources.
Companies need to consider what infrastructure they need in their specific context and think about investment decisions.
How will technology change the game in your sector?
One in every six businesses is planning to roll out an IoT-enabled product, and most companies are exploring how to use the IoT to improve their internal operations and services. Much early work is likely to focus on boosting efficiency and cutting costs. The greatest long-term business value will involve getting to know customers more intimately, and provide new digital services and experiences to delight them.
The IoT opportunities will vary for each company. Identifying which ones to strive for is an important part of the process.
Are there use cases that can help shape your thinking?
As the IoT becomes more widely adopted therell be an array of case studies and examples to learn from.
- Costa Coffee is using predictive maintenance enabled by the IoT to lower operating costs by introducing proactive servicing and repair of assets while allowing the more efficient use of repair resources.
- GE Healthcare offers solutions that combine smart sensors, location-based tracking, wireless technology and cloud computing to optimize the hospital-wide flow of all patients, staff members, equipment and medical supplies. The companys IoT investments have led to the launch of approximately 40 applications for predictive maintenance and other functions, and the establishment of Predix, a cloud-based platform for creating apps.
- Home appliance producer Whirlpool, uses the IoT to connect with its line of refrigerators and washing machines. Homeowners can be alerted via their smartphones when appliances need maintenance, and they can order replacement parts or ancillaries automatically.
- Personal wearable fitness gadgets such as Jawbone UP or Fitbit, personal activity monitors worn around the wrist, automatically establish a Bluetooth connection to a smartphone app and provide detailed information on exercise levels, sleep patterns, and food consumption.
The IoT has created a wide-open playing field. The companies that will gain the most in this sphere are those that understand just how disruptive this technology will be and can create a value proposition to take advantage of the opportunities.
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