If we look at the recent Internet of Things technology trend, the future of this technology seems bright. IoT providers are experimenting with multiple IoT solutions such as smart homes, where IoT enabled devices control the home appliances, ensuring the desired temperature in your home before you arrive.
Similarly, the enterprise IoT is also at a boom. IoT solutions such as machine uptime monitoring provides manufacturers the equipment uptime/downtime data. This data helps in calculating the OEA (Overall Equipment Availability).
Q.1 Weâ€™ve had machines talking to other machines for decades. Whatâ€™s new about the Internet of Things?
The difference today is the data analytics, the Internet, and the possibility for both one to many and many to one relationship. Actually, the technologies and system necessary to make IoT effective are available today. The big difference exists where such a swift fall in the prices of the technology that will make it affordable in dynamic ways. Thatâ€™s what will create new opportunities and transform the existing ones for all the IoT providers.
Q.2 Which market verticals are you most excited about seeing transformed via the Internet of Things? Why?
It is hard to actually even segment it to particular marketplaces because it is expected to be omnipresent. The Internet of Things empowers us to transform the entire world truly. For example, consider a cellphone. I mean it is the simple, beautiful example of the Internet of Things. Using the cellphone, we can do â€˜Geofencingâ€™, which is a whole new approach to security. So, I think we are going to find all kinds of amazing ways in which the IoT is going to permeate our imagination.
Q.3 The term IoT is generally associated with consumer technologies, such as smart appliances. How is the enterprise IoT / Industrial IoT expected to grab headlines?
The key for enterprises to start to make headlines with IoT is for the executive to shift their focus. Right now, they focus very much on how to use this technology to increasing efficiency, lower cost in terms of facility management and in terms of inventory. Things that donâ€™t get headlines. They may be very helpful for the company, but they are not going to be newsworthy.
I think what really will change the game is when we start to focus on how to use this technology. First of all, in terms of how to drive more revenue, growth for the company, and start to have some stories for the IoT is helping to deliver much more value to customers. Secondly, the use of this technology to disrupt the entire market and industries. Now, thatâ€™s where the headlines will come, and we believe this technology actually has significance disruption potential.
Q.4 How will the enterprise executive know the business value, which resides in IoT solutions?
The key, to really harness the value available in the Internet of Things technology is for enterprises to have a systematic view in terms of how to target this technology more effectively. Right now, the deployment of technology tends to be at hawk. Somebody sees the technology, figures out it might be helpful in their part of the business. The real opportunity is to step back and first of all, look at the financial performance of the company overall and identify the key pain points or opportunity area. And then jewel down from the financial matrix to operating matrix and say, wherein the operating matrix of the company could we make the most significant difference in that financial matrix. As an example, your key pain point in financial terms may be revenue growth. The question at the operating matrix level can be the customer turn rates to losing customer faster than gaining new ones. And there is a third level to drill down the frontline matrix. To say, okay if the customer turn rates are a big problem, whatâ€™s going on at the frontline that could make a big difference in turn rates.
Q.5 What are the potential IoT pitfalls you foresee that enterprises will need to avoid?
The pitfalls fall into several different categories. One is an attempt to boil the ocean and do too much at once. Secondly, is around too much focus on asset management and not enough on relationship management and understanding the new intersections between customer and customer relationship, product and product relationships. The third one is around the security, privacy, and the ever-evolving situations we find ourselves in today of watching whatâ€™s going on to happen, whatâ€™s going to be prescribed from legal point of view, from a societal point of view, where our culture settles, and how important privacy really is.
Q.6 What is the state of the current IoT ecosystem? And how to enable success?
Itâ€™s interesting to see the development and deployment of Internet of Things technology at an early stage. Iâ€™ve been around long enough, and I remember back in the old days of the personal computer industry. There is something quite similar going on between the PC industry in the early days and the Internet of things today. In the early days of the personal computer, you had very proprietary technology stacks that went into the market. The same vendor made the hardware, operating systems, made the applications. If you want to buy, you had to take the whole package from one vendor. Similar kind of phenomena going on in the Internet of Things today. Lots of vendors coming into the market with vertical proprietary stacks of technology.
The real power of the IoT ultimately is aggregating the data that comes from all these sensors out there. And those sensors arenâ€™t going to be made by the same vendor. So, unless we figure out a way to cut through the stack of the silos and get that information aggregated and apply the analytics to it, weâ€™re going to be really underperforming in terms of the potential of the technology. So, over time, we would expect the IoT is going to evolve the same way the PC industry did. Moving from vertical stacks on the one side to more horizontal layers, where the standards will allow interoperability across those layers, and the users have much more opportunity to select the best solution in each layer.