INFOTECH: How the Internet Of Things Can Facilitate Connected Business Transformation
Recent Gauteng Business News
Technology is becoming increasingly sophisticated, and the world is more connected than ever before. The way we shop, work, play and interact has become intrinsically linked with this connected technology. With the advent of the new digital age, we are also witnessing a new era of consumerism, which has fundamentally changed the way organisations need to do business. Enterprises must try to keep pace with rapidly changing trends, understand their customers better, develop sales cycles with a more personal touch, and find new, innovative ways of engaging with customers in order to remain competitive. The Internet of Things (IoT) brings interconnected intelligence to technology, with the vision of providing seamless integration between the physical and digital worlds. In an age where business success hinges on an enterprise’s ability to innovate, IoT has the potential to offer significant competitive advantage. Furthermore, it also assists greatly to improve services in a number of areas, delivering connected business transformation for a digital world says Shailendra Singh, Business Director, Africa Region, Wipro Ltd and Siby Abraham, Chief Technologist and Vice President, CTO Office, Wipro Ltd
With the digital revolution and the shift in the way people communicate and interact, consumers expect a great deal from business. They are no longer satisfied with generic solutions – they demand greater levels of customisation, direct and personalised feedback, and excellent user experiences. Organisations need to be able to cater to this demand in order to remain competitive, and central to this ability is the IoT.
While the IoT is not a new phenomenon, referring to the increased connectedness of many devices and technology, it is gaining traction with the recent advances in mobile technology and connectivity. The heart of the IoT is the ability to bring interconnected intelligence to physical items such as machinery, appliances and more. Central to this concept are four key components: the increasing availability of low cost sensors, the ever-decreasing cost of computing, the availability of ubiquitous and low cost data networks, and the fast and advanced data analytics techniques. The combination of these factors has resulted in the IoT finally becoming a reality, and one that can help to add value for organisations across all areas and sectors of business.
Gartner has forecast that 4.9 billion connected ‘things’ will be in use this year, a 30% increase on 2014, and this number is expected to reach 25 billion by 2020. This sudden expansion will boost the economic impact of the IoT as consumers, businesses, city authorities, hospitals and many other entities find new ways in which to exploit the technology. Consumer applications will drive the increase in number of connected things, however it is the enterprise that will account for most of the revenue, making leveraging the value of the IoT essential for business success.
Data is key to the value of the IoT. As more and more connected items emerge, increasing amounts of data are available. New ways of obtaining data, more easily than in the past, will enable data to be available when you need it, in the way you need it. Data generated by sensors, combined with other available data, will enable organisations, and even the devices or things themselves, to make intelligent decisions and learn from past data extrapolation. Devices will be able to adapt based on the data, improving both efficiency and the user experience with minimal or even zero no human intervention. This begins to usher in an age where devices and machines can become self-sufficient and autonomous. This in turn will enable organisations to leverage better operational efficiencies and improved productivity coupled with far more enriched user experiences. Furthermore, as with any new and disruptive technology, the IoT will also create new opportunities and business models that did not exist in the past.
The applications of the IoT are practically limitless. Smart networks can deliver predictive analytics, intelligent decision support, remote monitoring and more for organisations across all industries. Specialised offerings can then be developed specific to the needs and requirements of that sector. Healthcare is one sector that can benefit enormously, for example, remote patient monitoring, in-hospital device management, intelligent medical devices, wearable devices that can provide remote diagnostics with cloud-based clinical decision support, and more. This has the potential to dramatically improve healthcare for millions around the world.
The advantages of the IoT will become increasingly clear as this technology becomes further embedded in our everyday lives. In order to leverage these, however, organisations will need to ensure that their engineering teams work closely, since there are many variations of hybrid IT and IoT integration, and the IoT will enable many more layers in terms of digital security architecture and dozens of platform options.
A core IoT platform is central to the entire process, as it sits between the sensors that provide data and the analytics that facilitate enhanced decision-making, and enables the processing of data that is being shared by the connected devices. Such a platform should, for maximum benefit, be able to easily integrate with existing legacy systems and enable seamless integration. In addition, an experienced IT partner with a strong background in integration, analytics and understanding of product engineering can be instrumental in unlocking the value of the IoT for business.
The IoT is a disruptive technology that is set to shape the future, possibly in ways that nobody could predict. Staying on top of disruption has fast become the key to business success. Organisations need to accept that change has become part and parcel of the digital age, and they must be open and flexible to manage these changes in line with their business. Enterprises must be flexible in their approach towards new technology, including the IoT, in order to facilitate business transformation that will ensure competitiveness and customer satisfaction in the future.
Business News Sector Tags: Infotech|