The Internet of Things is perhaps one of the most talked-about topics being discussed in tech circles. There hardly seems to be any industry or sector that will remain untouched. The benefits that IoT poises to bring to the industry, be it in enhancing operational efficiency or optimizing expenditure, serve as a key driving force behind the enthusiasm. It even seeks to alter the way we go about our daily lives, enabling a highly connected world that threads together our homes and its contents, our vehicles, or communication devices and even our bodies. However, this positive outlook is not without concerns. In as much as industries, technocrats, equipment vendors and ICT service providers may want to see the IoT ball rolling without hiccups, its mass-scale adoption still has some hurdles to overcome. Below, we discuss some of the concerns that affect large scale IoT adoption.
Cost is a significant concern for enterprise IoT adoption, especially in emerging economies. High expenses related to digital products and services create a negative outlook for local companies in emerging markets, where despite high potential, mass adoption of IoT is often not a strategic focus. Nevertheless, this also creates a positive, more creative ecosystem wherein companies and local agencies strive for foreign investments, and engage with local and regional players to ensure uptake of IoT related services. Digitization should indeed be a strategic goal for companies of all shapes and sizes across geographies and they must realize the long-term benefits of investing in digitization initiatives to stay competitive, efficient and maintain a strong connect with customers across multiple channels.
A key challenge that all interested parties need to overcome is in dealing with limited or no awareness in how a connected ecosytem can benefit them. An agriculturist should know the pain points involved in growing an agricultural produce and how IoT can help. A telecom operator, apart from providing the connectivity, should be able to understand how a connected offering can benefit its own operations and network performance, optimizing processes, enhancing its understanding of customer behaviour and related target marketing. Mining specialists need to be aware of the enhancements in safety monitoring that IoT can bring to personnel involved in deep-Earth mining. It is important that service adoptors realize the extent to which IoT can create value for their respective organizations. Different entities along the value chain, be they sensor manufacturers, service specialists, network providers, data analysts or platform providers, should engage in a partnership-oriented relationship to increase mutual awareness of beneficial use cases.
Just as the acronym IoT stands for the Internet of Things, it also stands for the Internet of Threats. Cybersecurity worldwide is a key concern of governmental agencies, security services, financial institutions – in fact, no industry is immune to cyber threats. The myriad of devices that will connect together create a serious security concern amongst IoT adoptors. Security is as strong as the weakest link, and with the billions of interconnected devices across the ecosystem, it is but natural to ensure optimum (read, fool-proof security may not exist yet) levels of security to prevent data breach, theft or for that matter, data manipulation. Imagine a connected car getting hacked on the freeway and comtrolled remotely by a rogue element!
Data translation is key to ensuring success of IoT initiatives. Organizations and teams need to understand the relevance of each data stream and the relation one data flow can have with another. And considering the massive scale of connected devices, it becomes all the more important to understand how each data source can bring about greater value to the organization. As an example, for telcos, how can subscriber usage information be mapped to a region and devices used, which in turn may be related to the potential for churn or the lifetime value of customers. Understanding the technical requirements in conjunction with business needs is critical to ensure full uptake of and benefits from a connected system. Hence, data translation will play and increasingly important role as IoT ecosystems expand and mature.
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