2018 will go down as a turning point for IoT. It was a period of time that saw meaningful progress on IoT projects moving into operation. Some companies took the bold step to be innovators and leaders in their industry segments. Across multiple industries like Energy, Healthcare, Transport, Industrial/Resource automation and Facilities Management, we are seeing the signs of companies taking the early adopter advantage. With the advent of cost-effective sensors, aggressive tariffing of communication services and flexible, scaleable, cloud-based IoT platforms, disruptive solutions are now possible without the need of heavy IT integration and in-depth knowledge of the full stack.
However, more has to be done to unleash the “billion devices connected” potential, analysts keep talking about. The enabling technologies are becoming available and there is real and growing interest, from companies of all sizes, in business cases that add digital intelligence to the physical world. 2019 will be the year when IoT will become the next IT poster child for revenue growth.
Unlocking the potential
The greatest challenge for IoT is finding a way to unlock the ‘do nothing paradigm’. It is far too easy to wait until all the elements of IoT – the sensor, the broader availability of low cost/low powered communications networks and the plug-and-play cloud based IoT platforms – all sing in harmony. NBIoT, 5G, LTE, Cat M, Cat 1, LoRaWAN and Sigfox all have a place in this new world. Fixed and old wireless technologies like WiFi, also provide viable business options. However, it is often too hard for organisations to find a path through, to an end-to-end solution. Similar to the adoption curves of other technologies, businesses are in various stages of adoption for IoT. From fully integrated systems and sensors feeding data into an ERP or asset management system, to a spreadsheet wishlist of trackable datapoints in the physical spaces a business operates in.
How do businesses make a business case for IoT? What is the cost of doing nothing? (Competitively and strategically.) How can businesses deliver the maximum IoT ‘bang for their buck’?
Low cost, low power networks
The Telcos have been slow in deploying networks that would make business cases for IoT work. LPWANs are attractive options for certain applications and in many cases are available now. To connect hundreds and thousands of devices to a network, you need a tariff that is cost competitive and a sensible protocol that won’t drain battery powered sensors. All these are technically solvable today. But without more pervasive coverage throughout the country, IoT will be held back.
The hype around AI and machine learning
There has been much hype around these two topics. And while analysts and consultants talk about the value of these, they won’t work unless the data from devices/sensors is collected, i.e. connecting these resources in the first instance. IoTStream sees this as one of the fundamental pieces of the IoT puzzle. Connectivity of devices with streamed data, enables decision making processes to be applied. It is only then that we truly achieve data driven decision making.
It is also worth considering how to technically achieve data driven decision making with machine learning. The programming acronym GIGO – Garbage In, Garbage Out – is particularly applicable here.
The case for simplification
The prediction for 2019 is that more and more IoT projects will be enabled. Analysts, such as Forrester, predict that IoT deployments will enter a growth phase, with contracts being signed for development, implementation and operation of IoT initiatives. A simplified market navigation will assist in the deployment and scale of these initiatives.
Achieving these at scale and managing them more pervasively, will only be achieved by enabling IoT-as-a-Service. Essentially simplifying the activation/connectivity between hardware, network and the management of data streams, into an ecosystem that is open and easy to configure.
IoTStream delivers IoT-as-a-Service:
Fast. Out-of-the-box solutions. IoT in days and weeks, not months.
Convenient. Platform and connectivity fee charged on the same operator bill.
Pre-configured. No programming needed, pre-configured and ready to go once device is ordered and activated.
Fully hosted and supported. Browser-based platform with no infrastructure required.
Scalable. Hosted to support millions of devices.
Local. Support and consultancy in country.
By enabling IoT-as-a-Service with the release of low cost/low powered networks, will we truly be able to achieve what analysts are promoting – millions and billions of ‘things’ connected, in a world where physical devices and human-beings easily and effectively interact.
– Stephen Argyropoulos, CEO IoTStream Australia