Wednesday, 20th February 2019

Overwhelmed by IoT?

Understanding its Limitless Possibilities and Implementing Technology to Support Legacy Systems. By Nick Offin, Head of Sales, Marketing and Operations, Toshiba Northern Europe.

The evolution of enterprise IoT, despite rapid and ongoing technological innovation, is still very much in its fledgling stages. Recent research placed over 90 per cent of organisations in the planning phase when it came to the adoption of IoT solutions. Its potential, though, is demonstrated by the fact that by 2020 roughly 80 per cent of adoptions at that point will have progressed to the stage of either ‘proof of concept’ or “extensive implementation”.

Such solutions have arguably made a bigger splash in the consumer landscape than B2B to date, with connected fridges, cars and thermostats all resonating with the public. Yet the case for introducing IoT into the workplace is gaining in strength as solutions providers continue to innovate and push the boundaries of what such technologies can achieve.

The whole concept of IoT is that it can be anything organisations want and need it to be – all it takes is the right app or piece of code to be built around it. At this stage in its adoption though, many IT managers don’t necessarily understand the potential of IoT, while fears around data and network security persist, particularly in the wake of last year’s global cyber-attacks. However, such concerns aren’t projected to hold the market back for long, with IDC research predicting that global spending on IoT technologies is forecast to reach nearly $1.4 trillion by 2021.

For IoT to be adopted at the rate predicted, technology which does not overwhelm current or even legacy systems must be implemented. Mobile edge computing solves this. Such solutions offer processing power at the edge of the network, helping organisations with a high proportion of mobile workers to reduce operational strain and latency by processing the most critical data at the edge and close to its originating source

A logistics manager can feasibly monitor and analyse the efficiency of warehouse operations, for example, with important data calculations carried out in real-time, on location, and key data findings then sent to the cloud for centrally-located data scientists to analyse.The ability to take this further through mobile IoT solutions will help companies to improve efficiency elsewhere – take for example a warehouse employee benefitting from smart glasses, ensuring they can scan products hands-free and more safely (and accurately) manage logistics.

Operating systems will also play a crucial role in the progression of IoT in the professional world. Currently the focus is very much on writing software for iOS and Android – a smartphone-onus which again signifies the advanced stage of the consumer market. Yet the natural progression is for solutions providers to expand their focus to incorporate Windows 10 – this will serve as a catalyst in creating a greater number of solutions designed for professional use, which in turn will inspire more companies to turn their attention to developing IoT coding and apps to address different business needs.

It is only a matter of time until IoT becomes a major enabler for organisations across a number of sectors – with such game-changing potential, it’s important for IT managers to get ahead of the curve to understand how these technologies can empower their business.

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