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Social Innovation

The ETA of the IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) is something of a paradox in the world of technology. It is projected to have the greatest impact upon industry of any technology, with a forecasted $11 trillion in annual savings and revenue for 2025, whilst simultaneously being considered overhyped. For the executives making the decisions, it can seem impossible to separate the hype from reality.

How do companies make the decision on when, and indeed how, to incorporate IoT into their operations? With projections of being capable of providing a 21% boost to company profits by 2022 and wearing the label of being the foundational technology for artificial intelligence (AI), it is certainly worth paying attention to. Yet executives need a better understanding of IoT and its capabilities to make the critical decision of how to best implement IoT.

Hitachi Vantara partnered with Forbes to survey more than 500 senior executives worldwide who are already leading IoT initiatives within their companies. This produced several key findings that can help to cut through the noise surrounding IoT and answer the important questions.

The IoT impacts business

Of those surveyed, almost two thirds (64%) believe that IoT is important to their current business. Perhaps most importantly, more than 90% believe that it will be important to the future of their business.

IoT is the most important emerging technology

IoT provides the foundational technology for many of the others that comprise the current digital revolution. From AI to robotics, it is the bedrock of the digital solutions that companies will increasingly be turning to in order to keep up with the pace of the 21st Century. It is therefore perhaps not surprising that out of all emerging technologies, the executives surveyed believe that IoT will be the most important.

Companies are embracing IoT

All the companies surveyed are either already running IoT programmes or are in at least the early stages of doing so. 51% reported that their companies already had significant IoT programmes in operation, with the remaining 49% either in the early planning stages or operating pilot programmes.

Implementing IoT-based solutions can be challenging

There are challenges that companies face when integrating IoT into their existing platforms, and these must be overcome in order to keep up with digital-native rivals. Companies have stated that their greatest challenges are the inability to present a compelling return on investment (32%), keeping the IoT secure (32%), cross-department cooperation (31%), integration of disparate data (30%) and the availability of skilled staff (29%).

There are best practices to implementing IoT-based solutions

Cross-examination of the practices of the companies surveyed whose IoT initiatives are meeting or exceeding expectations highlighted several practices they are following that can ensure success:

  • Their IoT efforts are generally championed by the CIO (53%)
  • 66% include external vendors on their IoT planning team
  • 81% use a third-party platform as the basis for their IoT operations

These findings highlight that despite the implementation challenges, companies worldwide are confident about the benefits of IoT. Embracing IoT is the best way to both unlock the range of digital potential out there and keep up with the pace of the 21st Century.