IoT for Beginners (The Internet of latecomers)

Beatriz Sanz Baños    11 October, 2016

Not everyone gets on the technological bandwagon at the same time. Early adopters happen to be the exception, not the rule. In fact, the most frequent scenario for many organizations (especially SMEs) is to test the waters of digital transformation with utmost caution: these companies only make sure to not miss the boat when clear signs of a mature market emerge, when successful business cases related to their same business area surface, and the required initial investment and the  periods for the ROI are clearly defined.

Adopting IoT solutions is no exception to this strategy and there are still many companies that are opening up to Internet of Things for the first time. This post covers some issues that cannot be overseen in this transformational leap. Let’s go over this checklist of key items to address for any IoT newcomer:

  1. Plan. A typical mistake is to add a few IoT devices as a pilot project and slowly grow the IoT base following no predefined plans. This frequent mistake is often committed because organizations are wary of making initial large investments, are unsure of the benefits before deploying the solution and under plan in terms of digital strategy. In the long term this is not cost effective, it exposes the organization to security vulnerabilities due to poorly managed devices that are often underused because of this on these on the fly deployments. We recommend that if digitization is only slowly adopted to have a solid plan designed prior to the deployment.
  2. Beware bargains. High-quality is high quality and low-priced is low-priced. To turn IoT solutions into viable for businesses, they must meet business requirements, cover the technological purposes they were deployed for, and also be cost effective. A perennial problem for the entire IoT industry are the – unfortunately – great amount of poorly designed devices with severe security flaws. Normally their manufacturers sacrificed secure designs in favour of cost. End users must seek trustworthy partners and products for their digital transition because this stage of digital transformation cannot come at any price.
  3. Security.  Our organization’s footprint is bound to extend as we go digital. Protection and prevention measures against cyberattacks must also grow as our connected footprint does. New threats such as ransomware are a new battlefield for security experts. The best path for newcomers is to stick to a digitization strategy that takes into account secure business environments and seek the assistance of digital security expert partners.
  4. Open for business. We are not referring to opening hours (although it could be the case). What we do mean is that the future of IoT is necessarily linked to open environments that break with proprietary closed ecosystems. Investing in proprietary systems could become an expensive choice. Even though this is one of the hottest debate topic around Internet of Things, the path towards open environments seems an unstoppable trend if we really expect to connect everything everywhere and not create an endless collection of incompatible small isolated proprietary ecosystems.
  5. Data, data, and more data. How can we define IoT in a few words? It is a set of connected digital devices with the capacity to collect, analyse and process data. The volume of information we use in the IoT is simply overwhelming. Adopting IoT technology is also opening our business processes to streams of data and business intelligence in order to take an evolutionary leap that will place me ahead of my competition.
  6. It is not too late but careful with being left behind.  Someday it will definitely be too late, but for the moment we can assure that organizations can still embrace digital transformation. The first stepping stone should be to select a solid IoT partner and take small (but firm) strides towards a digital future.

The future does not wait, neither does the market

We would like go back to our last statement and set an expiry date on what we previously mentioned. IDC forecasts that IoT spending will reach $1.3 trillion by 2019, but organizations will not risk waiting until it is too late. The return of investment of many IoT solutions has been proven for industries of practically any size or business area. The Darwinian principle that states that only the most adapted and fittest will survive has its business version: it is less important to be the first to embrace digitization; however not doing anything dooms companies to walking into tar pits. Digital transformation or disappearance; the future requires joining the pack of the best adapted businesses that decidedly count on things, connectivity and change.

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