Everyone is talking about the Internet of Things. But what is the IoT? Why do you need it? And how do you roll it out in your company?
This blog post will answer these big questions. We will demystify the topic and provide a step-by-step guide to ensure a successful IoT launch. So let’s get started!
Understanding the Internet of Things: the basics
IoT (Internet of Things) describes a network of physical devices that connect to each other and exchange data. These devices can be anything from small meters to connected vehicles. They can be located anywhere – from in the home to in the middle of a forest. Whatever, these IoT devices will be embedded with electronics, software, sensors and actuators that help them gather data and send it to a central server.
By connecting physical objects this way, the IoT creates smart environments. With this comes an opportunity to introduce new levels of efficiency, automation and analytics into everyday life. At the domestic level, there are examples such as Amazon Echo and Google Home – both of which can control lights and thermostats. There’s the Apple Watch that track your fitness and health data.
On a more industrial level, there are now IoT use cases that monitor soil quality or track the location of shipping containers. The list of applications is endless, and is opening up incredible opportunities for businesses of all types.
The IoT integrates the physical and digital worlds
Fundamentally, the Internet of Things integrates the physical and digital worlds. It enables physical objects to be sensed and controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure. For enterprises, the IoT makes it easier to control and monitor critical processes.
This is a significant breakthrough. It can slash costs, improve efficiencies and reveal new approaches to established operations. This represents a fourth industrial revolution. The potential is enormous. According to McKinsey, the IoT can generate economic value of up to $11.1 trillion a year by 2025. This would be equivalent to about 11 percent of the world economy.
Preparing for your successful IoT roll-out
OK, so you are convinced that an IoT roll-out will benefit your business. But how do you get started?
Implementing an effective IoT roll-out strategy begins with clearly defining a business case and understanding the expected return on investment.
With this in place, the next primary requirement is a comprehensive understanding of your current situation and what’s needed. This will boil down to three things:
1. An audit of available resources, technology, infrastructure and personnel.
2. An assessment of the IoT platform’s capacity and security requirements (ensuring they align with company objectives).
3. A timeline for the launch with realistic milestones to track progress across implementation phases.
Let’s dive in.
In terms of IoT infrastructure, you will need to assess networks, hardware and software, along with any changes that need to be made to existing systems. Your network must provide the bandwidth necessary to support all connected devices. And your hardware and software components must facilitate a unified IoT platform. Be aware that you might need to alter existing systems to ensure they integrate with the new IoT ecosystem.
Setting short and long-term goals is also key. This will help you evaluate whether you have the resources and expertise to properly manage the IoT system over time. It will also surface any risks that may arise during launch.
Developing a comprehensive IoT plan
Once you have assessed your resources and readiness, you can create a comprehensive IoT plan. This will set out in detail all component parts – from the initial infrastructure to the data collection to the analysis method.
At this point, it’s a good idea to identify all stakeholders that will be impacted by your decision to roll out an IoT. Sharing your plans and timelines with stakeholders will help you to embed your IoT network into everyday operations.
With a solid IoT plan in place, you can develop actionable strategies. You can take the data generated from device interactions and use it to improve processes and become more competitive.
How an Internet of Things roll-out can complement your wider digital transformation strategy
Digital Transformation is one of the big business buzzwords of the day. Like all such buzzwords, it is a little slippery while also expressing a powerful idea. In essence, it describes how companies can use digital technologies to create new (or modify existing) business processes, workplace culture and customer experiences.
Obviously, the first phase of this process saw companies focus on digitising their customer-facing operations via websites, mobile apps and so on. Now, there’s an opportunity to digitise every other facet of the business. Clearly, the Internet of Things is key to that process.
In any business that has truly embraced the promise of digital transformation, data from IoT-enabled devices will inform the decisions and optimise their operations.
From hardware to integration and implementation, the Internet of Things can seem overwhelming for those who are new to the technology. However, with the proper planning and understanding of what an Internet of Things roll-out requires, you will be well on your way to a successful roll-out.
Global Telco Consult (GTC) is a trusted independent business messaging consultancy with deep domain knowledge in application-to-person (A2P) services. GTC provides tailor-made messaging strategies to enterprises, messaging service providers, operators and voice carriers. We have expertise in multiple messaging channels such as RCS, Viber, WhatsApp, Telegram and SMS for the wholesale and retail industry.
GTC supports its customers from market strategy through service launch, running the operations and supporting sales and procurement. The company started in 2016 with a mission to guide operators and telcos to embrace new and exciting opportunities and make the most out of business messaging. For more information or industry insights, browse through our blog page or follow us on LinkedIn.