Is IoT the next industrial revolution and how do I get involved?
IoT is redefining and reshaping industry and the markets surrounding it in a continuous and significant way. Is it the next industrial revolution? Possibly so. Communication, travel, manufacturing, agriculture, logistics, education, healthcare, retail; in fact, it’s difficult to name an industry that will not be affected by IoT if it isn't already. There are already 15 billion connected devices and Gartner predicts that there will be over 50 billion by 2020.
Existing businesses are looking at entirely new ways to present themselves, and new businesses are emerging with a completely different outlook. There is a new commonality in the vast array of business verticals and that is that the use of IoT. Several important elements of business are changing because of the implementation of IoT. Areas such as new business modeling, process improvement, energy use and reduction, asset tracking, environmental data gathering, and behavioral statistics to name but a few.
A prime example of the big changes being facilitated by IoT is the switch from CapEx to OpEx. Large ticket items such as aero engines are leased by use. Thrust as a service. Airlines can budget more effectively and this is possible because manufacturers can monitor data outputs from a central location to measure usage and predict faults before they happen. Services can be carried out before issues arise and more importantly, downtime and disasters are avoided.
Data collected from ‘things’ are being used to monitor and predict wear, failure, use, location, surrounding climate; in fact, anything there is a sensor for. This data is analyzed, and the outcomes will drive change and improvements in goods and services to the point that almost anything could be commoditized "as a service".
Early adopters in IoT may have taken some of the pain involved in implementing emergent technologies, but many of these will be used to the term M2M. Gathering data and using it to improve systems or predict outcomes has been sound practice for decades, but now with modern cellular communication and the internet, IoT can offer global data gathering, access, analytics, and dissemination with relative ease.
But this is not without cost - both in finance and organizational culture. Challenges arise such as network standardization, security, data privacy, and, moreover, the perception that we, as citizens, are being watched.
These challenges, however, can be overcome with a robust IoT strategy that helps achieve business goals with relative ease. This will ultimately enhance experiences for industry and eventually have a positive outcome for the consumer.