INSIGHT: Beyond the hype - how to gain value from IoT

The Asia Pacific region is at the forefront of Internet of Things (IoT) adoption worldwide.

The Asia Pacific region is at the forefront of Internet of Things (IoT) adoption worldwide.

Enterprises increasingly view IoT as a strategic asset, with both corporate IT leaders and business unit heads looking for ways to use connected technologies to gain value from data.

We’re seeing interest in both consumer and industrial space – from connecting cars and homes to deploying IoT in different industries, including energy and utilities, transportation, logistics / supply chain, automotive, healthcare, Industrial assets and more.

While IoT deployments encompass a mix of connected devices, networks, platforms and applications, it is not the technology that poses the greatest implementation challenges. In my experience, four factors underpin every successful IoT strategy.

• A well-defined and measurable objective

Prior to beginning any IoT project, it is vital to consider whether your business model will need to change and how you will measure your Return On Investment (ROI).

Many early adopters in Asia Pacific are already using IoT to achieve significant cost savings.

We are seeing organisations using IoT networks to enhance the productivity of workers in healthcare and other service industries, to save fuel by improving fleet scheduling and vehicle and driver performance, and to track and manage inventory in warehouses and in transit.

While impressive cost savings can accrue from very small efficiency gains, Customers should not ignore the potential to generate new revenue through IoT as well.

Clarity around ROI, Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and any necessary process changes has an important benefit: it will help you build the business case for IoT.

Leadership teams and shareholders want to know exactly how IoT will help them accelerate innovation, create new revenue streams and contribute to greater efficiency and flexibility for the business all within a specific, measurable, time-bound and realistic way.

• A global view

Globalisation is shrinking the world and increasing competition. IoT technologies can help you improve productivity and deliver better services, but this global playing field presents a unique challenge.

For example Asia Pacific is not only unique geographically but also from a socio-economic perspective. Some corporations already need to operate and manage tens of thousands of connected devices worldwide - tracking shipping containers to hundreds of locations worldwide, for example.

Other companies have to anticipate future needs, as a manufacturer might when launching a product that could end up anywhere in the world. It is better to ensure global coverage from the outset than to tackle this issue at a later stage.

• A strong ecosystem

IoT solutions are frequently multi-dimensional requiring expertise in many disciplines, including hardware, software, integration, cloud, security, networking and analytics.

There is a great deal of experience and innovation in the market and costs continue to decrease, enhancing business confidence in IoT.

• Integrate security processes into IoT

Security deserves a special mention. As organisations connect more devices to the Internet, more data is being collected.

As cyber threats continue to escalate, the need to integrate security processes into IoT deployments becomes critical. An effective IoT solution carefully balances access and end-to-end security.

Device-level protection, secure network connections and advanced controls in the cloud platform are now mandatory for businesses serious about safeguarding their data.

A comprehensive security assessment can also be of great value to understand how best you can update your network and infrastructure policies. Routine compliance assessments and a proactive threat management plan will add further peace of mind.

And finally, stay the course…

By Sandy Verma - Senior Director for Internet of Things Strategy, AT&T Asia Pacific

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