The ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) may be the most confusing idea conjured up by the tech industry since the advent of the ‘cloud.’ But a recent survey clearly shows that the first round of IoT deployments are already generating meaningful business results, which will encourage others to get onboard the IoT train.
I’ve been talking about IoT in this publication since the beginning of 2014, warning IT executives and other professionals to get ready for their responsibilities to dramatically change. Rather than ‘just’ being responsible for managing hardware systems and business applications, IoT puts IT in the middle of the product/service development process. It also makes IT responsible for ensuring the timely delivery and maintenance of products and services. And, as a result, IT is now directly impacted by the success or failure of new products and services in the marketplace.
The good news is that a majority of IoT initiatives are reaping substantial returns on investment (ROI), according to the third annual Vodafone Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Barometer Report. Vodafone prefers to use the M2M terminology rather than IoT to describe today’s increasingly connected world because it’s primarily focused on the business-to-business (B2B) marketplace, while many view IoT as a B2C phenomenon.
The Vodafone survey report found,
· Over 25% of all businesses worldwide are now using M2M technologies to enhance productivity, up 23% from a year ago.
· Approximately 6 out of 10 (59%) have gained a significant ROI from M2M.
· More than 4 out of 5 (83%) believe M2M gives them a competitive advantage.
Given the clear business benefits of M2M, many corporate executives will use the Vodafone survey results to justify moving forward with their own IoT initiatives.
A recent IDC report also confirmed the views I expressed in Datamation last March that IT’s role and responsibilities will be redefined by IoT. IDC takes another slant on this idea by predicting that ninety percent of data center and enterprise systems management environments will be swapped for new models to handle IoT and BYOD devices by 2017. IDC also believes forty percent of IoT data will be processed and stored at or near the network edge by 2018.
Executives in enterprises either focused on or dependent upon heavy duty manufacturing or high-volume transaction businesses will also be encouraged by GE’s recent announcement that it plans to roll out its own ‘Industrial Internet’ Cloud platform-as-a-service (PaaS), Predix. The new cloud solution is specifically designed to help enterprises capture and analyze machine data in a secure, ‘industrial-strength’ cloud environment.
GE’s new PaaS is another indication of the company’s strategic pursuit of all things IoT and its commitment to leveraging the Cloud to transform its business from industry products to software solutions. If it is successful in making this transition and capitalizing on IoT, many more name-brand enterprises will follow its lead. And if the Vodafone survey results are any indication, GE and others can expect a measureable ROI from their IoT initiatives.
Kaplan is Managing Director of THINKstrategies (www.thinkstrategies.com), an independent consulting firm focused on the business implications of the Cloud. He is also the founder of the Cloud Computing Showplace (www.cloudshowplace.com), and the host of the Cloud Innovators Summit series (www.cloudsummits.com). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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