The Internet of Things (IoT) is impacting businesses across various industries as technology continues to make advancements towards smart apps, augmented reality, and virtual reality. In the age of connected things, IoT is a growing topic of conversation among business leaders. How can businesses prepare to incorporate IoT into their digital strategy? What challenges will they face? What tools are necessary to adopt IoT solutions?
In this expert blog roundup, we spoke with technology thought leaders to find out what challenges companies commonly face when integrating IoT and what is the best way to get started. Here is what they had to say:
What’s Holding Companies Back From Developing IoT Solutions?
“Aside from the successful execution of transformation initiatives (over 70% fail), the biggest challenge many companies face is their own assumption that they are transforming their business using digital. Instead, they are only executing siloed digital projects, which often create a better version of the past. While transformation creates the future, many firms are unknowingly investing all their effort into fixing the past. This neither disrupts markets nor defends against disruption. So while they are busy digitizing, they live under a transformation illusion and continue (often unknowingly) to become obsolete in the fact of disruptive innovation.” – Rob Llewellyn, Chief Executive, CXO Transform
“The technology is not the issue. It’s generally the level of adoption (in the domestic market specifically). At the moment, IoT technology is still a bit in the enthusiast/geek domain, so there are not many consistent examples of customer adoption. The volume and commonality will come, and there are several early pilots that are rightly exploring what the demand will be. The key thing is to find out what customers want as a service and what they would be prepared to accept in terms of sharing data about activity and habits through their IoT devices.” – Rod Willmott, Chief Wzard, Wzard Innovation
“In my view, IoT is a bit of an inflection point. On the one hand, we are seeing immaturity in the market, with technologies that are still not fully baked. The Dyn hack last year is a clear example, where thousands of consumer IoT devices were leveraged in a massive DDoS attack. And more recently, and grotesquely, Burger King was able to co-opt Google Home devices in audience living rooms through a devious TV ad that called out “OK, Google.” Yet, despite these pre-pubescent signals, this is also an industry that is ready for IoT. None of us are surprised when we step outside and can track on our phones where exactly our Lyft driver is on route to pick us up. We universally adapt quickly to new technologies like Apple Watch or Amazon Alexa. With any emerging technology, there’s always a combination of technical hurdles to overcome and organizational and change management challenges. With IoT, I think we’re coming to grips with both.” – Ross McKegney, Director of Platform, Box
“It’s not a question of holding back, but one of evolution. There are many underlying challenges – change takes time. Businesses need to adopt market development strategies and solution roadmaps to guide efforts. IoT strategy depends on how companies connect the dots between networks, sensors, microprocessors, software, etc. There is a logical flow to development. Applications will drive growth and demand will drive development of apps.” – Charles Caldwell, CEO, GEM Analytics
“The investment in innovative technologies, organizational capability, partnerships and the skills required to realize value from that investment are holding back the development of IoT solutions. Considerable effort in combining “Things” into customer propositions that create the value and allow monetization to drive the investment cases is needed, and this can take time and research. Use cases and a ‘start small’ and iterative approach is needed.” – Ian Kingstone, Digital Transformation Advisor
What’s the Best Way to Get Started With IoT?
“IoT lends itself well to tinkering, so my suggestion would be to start with something simple and fun. Program an Arduino to turn on your lights when motion is detected. Or use a tool like Zapier for microflows that can be triggered from Alexa actions. Getting beyond tinkering, engage your team to step back and think of the future of your business, be creative and open-minded. At Box, we did an exercise with Y Media Labs recently, where we reimagined patient at home care with Box Platform and Amazon Alexa. The result is more science fiction than immediately applicable, but now we have something to work backwards from. – Ross McKegney, Director of Platform, Box
“Experimentation. Both with the data that can be retrieved – I would recommend establishing a model office setup — and equipping an existing in-house installation with some IoT kit and just seeing what sort of data is available. Then customer research, looking for both customers’ own ideas about what they would see as valuable, and potentially taking company-based ideas to customers and seeing if they like them.” – Rod Willmott, Chief Wzard, Wzard Innovation
“Define your IoT strategy as part of your overall strategic plans and think about its contribution to customer centricity, effective knowledge worker and operational excellence.” – Ian Kingstone, Digital Transformation Advisor
“Demand to create better value is key – ability to improve productivity and reduce costs is important. The objective is to have a goal and to pull together resources to support efforts to attain goals.” – Charles Caldwell, CEO, GEM Analytics