The Internet of Things (IoT) has seen remarkable growth as more businesses look to leverage connectivity and data to drive efficiency, automate critical operations and enhance visibility over their assets.
Yet by some estimates, nearly a third of IoT projects fail to make it past the proof of concept stage; a particularly alarming figure considering the steep financial and reputational costs that can accompany IoT failures. This edition of Perspectives explores where IoT projects most often go wrong - and the steps enterprises can take to ensure they deliver.
The IoT can do some amazing things, but it’s not necessarily a fit for every organization. For every high-profile success story of a ‘smart’ vehicle or fully-networked factory, there are cases where connected devices have done nothing more than introduce complexity. To ensure IoT isn’t a ‘solution in search of a problem,’ businesses need to identify specific areas of IoT opportunity.
Gear and technological know-how are important. But culture plays an equally (if not more) critical role in successful IoT implementations, which inevitably rely on a number of delicate factors coming together. By ensuring the IoT is tailored to serve tangible business goals, being realistic about the challenges posed by varying standards, and paying close attention to the software development process, companies can cultivate the kind of organization-wide buy-in that positions projects to create long-term impact.
Unless security is an immediate and pressing priority, the potential vulnerabilities the IoT introduces may far outweigh any benefits to the business. Connecting sophisticated machines and sharing critical data can have real-world consequences, and most consumers know it. The key is to be conscious of privacy and security concerns from the very beginning, to boldly confront potential weak spots and to practice the positive habits already ingrained into so many other technological interactions. Rather than perfection, the aim should be effective risk management.
The rise of 5G may be a great technological leap forward for the IoT – but won’t necessarily substantially impact the case for business adoption. According to IoT experts, the real prize may be a shift towards more standardized application development and interoperability, which could prompt a proliferation of new business models as forward-looking enterprises move to make their products and services part of a broader ecosystem of solutions. Some of these new models will be planned – but the best may just happen by accident.