IoT in times of crisis – relevant now more than ever
The Internet of Things (IoT) has been around since the 1970s when it was first implemented in ATMs. Despite predictions and forecasts of IoT becoming ubiquitous in all aspects of our lives, companies are still holding off on large-scale IoT investments.
The benefits of IoT are plenty, connected equipment improves operational efficiency, fixes processing problems faster or predicts and prevents equipment failures. Machine learning, AI and analytics help cut costs and maximise productivity, providing businesses with a clear competitive advantage. Manufacturing companies are investing in remote condition monitoring, predictive maintenance, remote assistance for field service engineers and even start to commission heavy machinery thanks to virtual connectivity.
The current COVID-19 situation has brought the focus on reducing human-to-human contact to contain the spread of the virus. Smart and cost effective IoT devices help track social distancing. Thanks to IoT, we can now call elevators touch-free using our mobile phones. Apart from such measures to help contain the spread of the virus and adhere to physical distancing, the current economic uncertainty at the moment only increases the importance of informed decisions driven by real-time data. Still, IoT investments seem to be stalling.
Why are companies holding out?
Data, data everywhere: Data sharing and privacy are real considerations with IoT. With billions of interconnected devices, there are opportunities for things to go awry. Data protection regulations are increasing and the public is more cautious about how their data is used.
Tough times ahead: With recessions affecting many countries and uncertainty continuing with COVID-19, companies are postponing investments not seen as essential to business operations. However, IoT provides real-time data crucial to making informed business decisions, which are all the more important in an uncertain economic environment.
Too many possibilities: There is a seemingly endless number of IoT pilot cases to start with, but the question is where to get started and how? Companies can explore IoT without a full-on digital transformation since the basic technologies are readily available and there are multiple tried-and-tested small-scale IoT use cases to start with requiring limited effort for any industry.
Digital acceleration - planning ahead will pay off
The current pandemic will end, but other disruptions and challenges will certainly arise, geopolitical, social, economic and companies would be wise to plan for such unknowns.
Now more than ever, IoT is worth exploring and investing in for companies to emerge stronger post crisis and build up their resilience, flexibility and profitability for unexpected future disruptions. More companies are shifting to remote working or a blend of remote/in-office and the concept of “remote” is one of THE key aspects of IoT. Companies should start moving in this direction before accelerating trends force such a change.
IoT’s breakthrough moment, though much hyped, is still hindered by misconceptions of IoT itself and hesitancy around data collection and processing. Companies also struggle to find skilled workers to embark on their IoT journey since experience with larger scale IoT implementations is still limited worldwide. IoT should be viewed as an enabler of the digital transformation on a small or bigger scale.
Because IoT sounds complex, intangible and disruptive companies are hesitant to implement these types of projects and solutions. True, IoT projects can be expensive if they are not easy to scale, there are complex IT integrations required and above all, there are crucial cyber and data security aspects to implement. This is why it is important to work with a global IoT market leader with a broad range of services and expertise to meet client needs across all industries.
As our recent Power Up Switzerland report highlights, innovation will be the key for the country and the companies based here to maintain its competiveness. We are happy to work with companies to discuss the new IoT solutions that have the potential to revolutionise the way we lead our lives and run our businesses.
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The term Industry 4.0 encompasses a promise of a new industrial revolution—one that marries advanced manufacturing techniques with the Internet of Things to create manufacturing systems that are not only interconnected, but communicate, analyze, and use information to drive further intelligent action back in the physical world.