The Internet of Things is about much more than smart home controls or automobiles with sensors -- enterprises are showing increasing interest in IoT deployments, according to a recent survey by market research firm 451 Research.
According to the survey, a majority of enterprises – 65 percent – already have incorporated IoT technologies into their business by gathering data from sensors on data center IT equipment, cameras and surveillance equipment, and end-user systems.
“Organizations are both enhancing their already connected endpoints with greater capabilities as well as connecting new objects with sensors and circuitry to derive net new value for the business,” said Dan Harrington, research director at 451 Research. “The term 'Internet of Things' has proliferated rapidly and taken on different meanings depending on the audience. … They vary immensely from traditional use cases such as IP-connected cameras, building automation, warehouse automation and telematics to emerging industrial use cases such as crop monitoring and remote patient monitoring.”
In terms of business value, 66 percent of enterprises said their IoT deployments reduced risk, while 63 percent said the implementation optimized operations. Developing new or enhancing existing products or services is another value, according to 33 percent of respondents.
Thane Hathaway, president and CEO of EAC Product Development Solutions, a Burnsville, Minn.-based solution provider that is ramping up its IoT strategy, said the company is seeing interest from enterprises but some are still struggling with forming a strategy.
“The amount of customers who are already thinking about IoT is surprising,” said Hathaway. “We see a large percentage of customers interested, but they don’t know how to make money. They are interested in IoT, and can visualize a platform, but are having a hard time figuring out where they want step in.”
451 Research’s survey explored these impediments to IoT deployments – according to the company, 29 percent of enterprise organizations are skeptical about IoT’s benefits or its ability to generate a positive return on investment.
In the survey, 46 percent said security concerns were an inhibitor, while 32 percent cited a lack of internal skill sets. Up to 29 percent of respondents also cited a lack of IT capacity.
For those enterprise customers who haven’t looked at IoT deployments, Hathaway suggested a simple tip for solution providers: “We’ve been asking our sales force to ask a specific, simple question of customers with traditional solutions: What is your IoT strategy? And that simple question has led to really great conversations with parts of customer organizations that we may never have talked to in the past,” he said.
EAC, which started ramping up its strategy around IoT based on PTC’s ThingWorx platform two years ago, has a vision of how to make money from IoT through strategy services, connected product development, and overall scalable cloud IoT purpose-built platform development. For EAC, Hathaway hopes that in the long term, IoT will be the “essence of what our company is about.”