IoT devices for the office are making their way into the limelight with digital assistants, security devices, and mobile workflow tools advancing swiftly. According to Gartner, by 2020 over 50% of major new business processes and systems will include an element of IoT; however, the progress of IoT implementation in businesses is still somewhat slow. While some business leaders are raring to go, believing IoT could be a major business differentiator leaving slow-to-adopt competitors in their dust, others point out that adopting IoT tools simply because they’re available instead of for any obvious need or benefit is foolish.
To Implement or Not to Implement
Naturally, each organization has its own set of objectives, and jumping into the IoT fray without careful analysis of risks and benefits is unwise. With its continuing development and advancement, IoT tech will likely hold benefits for every organization in the years to come, but that doesn’t necessarily merit adoption today. By understanding what’s currently available, investigating probable future applications and trends, and holding a clear vision of what IoT will be required to do for their organizations, business leaders will be able to create the most effective timeline and implementation strategies. If a convincing business case for IoT execution can be made, and staff buy-in seems likely, it might be time to roll out a pilot project, incorporating thorough user training, to test the value of IoT in the organization.
Better Decision Making, Enhanced Mobility, and Industrial IoT
IoT promises a range of benefits, not least of all improved productivity thanks to amplified employee participation. The connectivity offered by advanced IoT implementations doesn’t only ensure our machines are talking to each other, it’s also connecting humans and machines in a variety of constructive ways to improve agility, collaboration, knowledge sharing, and much more. Such technology, with its array of sensors delivering improved measurability, further allows better decision-making thanks to the wealth of constructive information made available to the relevant personnel in coherent formats.
And IoT is also advancing mobility, along with remote working applications, making the nomadic employee more valuable than ever before. Connected cars, smart watches, collaborative networking, and mobile connectivity are making it easier for staff to set up office just about anywhere, and both business and customer are reaping the rewards.
But the commercial and office environment isn’t the only sector of business gaining from IoT innovations; industrial IoT is likely to see much growth this year and well into the future as manufacturing and industrial provision categories implement connected devices in their operations. Smaller businesses and startups have been quick to apply such devices, but many larger companies are following suit, expanding their existing capabilities through IoT opportunities. With high purchasing costs of machinery and equipment in the industrial sector, along with ongoing maintenance requirements and severe productivity and profit losses caused by downtime, industrial organizations are more than willing to test ground-breaking IoT solutions that might transform their businesses.
Ensuring a Successful IoT Implementation
Once the decision has been made to go ahead with an IoT implementation, a few central considerations can ensure a smooth execution:
- A robust security foundation is essential; don’t make the mistake of implementing a high-connectivity network with hidden backdoors for intruders.
- Account for the current value of legacy systems and plan for proper integration, and eventual replacement.
- Get the whole workforce on board; ensuring that your non-IT personnel are as excited about the implementation as your tech staff is a surefire way of measuring a solution’s actual business value.
- Consider the value of a co-development model that offers the option of a range of service providers, employment of open standards, and long-term flexibility.
- Take it slow; a step-by-step approach to new technology, measuring successes and failures along the way, might be the less exciting option, but it’s often the safest and most fruitful one too.
As with all innovation, the path can sometimes be hazy, but in the case of IoT, it’s certainly worth at least some exploration.
By Jennifer Klostermann