The Internet of Things (IoT) has progressed rapidly but still remains a mystery to many. IoT can be easily understood once you see the market drivers pushing for change.
Putting aside discussion of the IoT technology stack, you can see that IoT is really simple. Let’s examine five basic market problems behind the push for modern IoT solutions.
Demand for Actionable Data and Real-Time Services
IoT revolves around Operational Technology (OT), not Information Technology (IT). The world of IT typically focuses on familiar concepts such as computer networking, switching, security protocols, data integration, databases, etc. OT is much more practical in dealing with everyday operational issues.
What are these everyday operational issues? Think about your enterprise, or your personal life. What would you want to know that would help you make better day-by-day decisions, ease anxiety, or help you perform your daily tasks? The answers are myriad. Technology isn’t really the issue. All you care about is getting the data (often in real time) so that you can take the appropriate, efficient and timely action.
Inexpensive wireless IoT devices can detect or cause changes through the direct monitoring and/or control of physical assets. The economics of IoT tilt the cost-benefit analysis in your favor to address real, everyday OT problems. The demand for actionable data in the form of real-time services underpins one of the basic drivers of the rise of IoT.
Ask yourself this question. If you could get real-time data for XYZ, would you want it? If your answer is the affirmative, then you now understand why IoT has rapidly risen in prominence.
The Archaic Technology Infrastructure is Unable to Extract Real-Time Data
Real, everyday OT problems exist everywhere. They do not discriminate. OT challenges are faced whether or not the current technology infrastructure is modern or archaic.
Tackling the OT problem often revolves around tough decisions regarding whether to replace or upgrade the existing IT infrastructure to capture real-time data. Anytime you face a tough ROI decision such as that, the risk of making a bad decision is acute.
Often, the decision to augment the existing IT infrastructure with inexpensive wireless IoT retrofits becomes quite appealing to address an existing OT problem in a targeted strategic way. The OT nature of the problem flips the IT script because the communication network was made for the real-time data; the real-time data was not made for the communication network.
Digitization/Virtualization Market Runs on Real-Time Data
Today, the current corporate mantra of “Services, Services, Services” is impossible to ignore. The growth of the “as-a-service” business model continues, and is dependent of real-time data for digitization/virtualization. How do you get such real-time data from physical environments to run Support and Maintenance Services, Professional Services (e.g., energy efficiency, engineering, consulting, etc.), Business Intelligence Services, Predictive Analytics Services, etc.
While the “as-a-service” needs are many, the collection of real-time data is relatively immature. IoT is not a respecter of business traditions and can provide the tools to pivot strategies from products to services. IoT can represent the lowest-cost provider of real-time data, which will fuel the XaaS market.
The emerging service economy must proactively solve their looming real-time data problem.
Frustrating User Experience
The real-time data collection from the physical environment will require at least an upgrade of the communication infrastructure. These upgrade projects typically face disruptions along every step of installation, commissioning, operation and maintenance of sensor data collection networks.
The status quo expectations of project delays and difficulties based on wired network infrastructures have finally given way to new possibilities. Wireless IoT retrofits provide seamless, same-day installation, commissioning, operation and maintenance profiles that have literally changed the game. Problems beget opportunities; IoT has filled in the vacuum created by status quo frustrations.
IoT has grown far beyond a market niche because real-time data is increasingly demanded across the landscape of industries. IoT is simple to understand when you understand the primary drivers that propel IoT to the mainstream.