2016: When IoT becomes mainstream

With the support of a visionary and progressive government, wise regulation policies, the last mile connectivity, a strong ecosystem and an earnest public-private partnership, the IoT ecosystem will gain higher acceleration in the coming year

By: Sai Pratyush, Additional Vice-President, Product Management – Managed Services, Tata Teleservices

2015 was a big year for technology as companies continued to stretch the boundaries of innovation on the face of evolving industry dynamics and market demands for newer more innovative digital solutions. IoT (Internet of Things) based solutions were the frontrunner among these innovations and the year witnessed IoT implementations in myriad sectors like manufacturing, automotive, retail, security, healthcare, construction, transportation, telecommunications, and many more.

As we head into 2016, it can be said that while IoT has gained mainstream awareness, implementations are yet to achieve the kind of scale that every market research organization predicts they will. It’s clear that organizations are still struggling with the IoT ecosystem and the complexities associated with such implementations.

According to Gartner, by the end of 2016 some 6.4 bn ‘things’—devices from toasters and kettles to cars and hospital equipment—will be connected to the Internet. This is a 30 percent rise from 2015—and will grow further to reach 20.8 bn by 2020. By 2016, as many as 5.5 mn new ‘things’ will get connected every day. As a result, analysts predict that the IoT will support total services spending of $235 bn in 2016, up 22% from 2015.

IoT can revolutionize Industries by enabling the digital transformation of businesses, facilitating new business models, improving efficiency, and generating new forms of revenue. Though there are significant benefits, IoT solutions bring with it a higher level of complexity since they involve multiple components usually from different suppliers – sensors, business processes, middleware or platform; analytics and most importantly seamless connectivity.

It’s clear that in 2016, IoT will gain further acceptance as suppliers iron out the various challenges associated with IoT implementations. Here are the top 3 predictions for 2016:

Cloud-based IoT solutions

CIOs will be a lot more open to the adoption of cloud based IoT solutions especially considering the investments captive solutions will otherwise require. As suppliers make their platforms more robust and secure, enterprises will test the waters by adopting cloud-based IoT solutions which will require less investments and more importantly, be quicker to implement.

Horizontal v/s vertical play

Currently most Enterprises are implementing IoT solutions to address a specific business challenge. There are numerous organizations which have implemented multiple IoT solutions which are not necessarily linked and hence from an overall organization perspective, not an ideal implementation. We believe that CIOs are recognizing the benefits of studying their overall organization needs and putting in place a horizontal IoT strategy rather than for disparate individual business processes. Here’s where the potential of Big Data analytics will also nudge CIOs to look at a horizontal approach for the organization.

Social media and the Enterprise

With over a billion active users on social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, companies can no longer ignore the impact of social media on their business. By ensuring and enabling an optimum balance of digital platforms, social media and physical processes to identify and meet customer requirements, an amalgamation of social, mobile, and IoT will allow businesses to harness the power of the digital age better.

Disruptive innovation in the digital space, from cloud computing to IoT to the growing penetration of social media and mobile applications—present multifarious opportunities for Enterprises and the road-map begins with robust, reliable, and strong connectivity. At Tata Docomo, we are gearing up to ensure that we are in a strong position to support our customers as they roll out their IoT and Digital strategies in this coming year. Our IoT solutions are being developed keeping in mind the following key principles:

  1. Solutions on the Cloud across a host of business use cases so that enterprises can implement solutions quickly without having to make significant upfront investments.
  2. Horizontal platform based approach to ensure that enterprises can eventually implement IoT across multiple business processes in an integrated and seamless manner.
  3. Service provider and device vendor agnostic so as to ensure there is no dependence on a single supplier whether its connectivity or devices.
  4. One-stop shop seamless solution provisioning to ensure that Enterprises don’t have to chase multiple suppliers for a single implementation. IoT services are the real driver of value in IoT, and increasing attention is being focused on new services by end-user organizations and service providers. Businesses, instead of implementing IoT themselves, are contracting external providers to order, design, install and operate their IoT based projects. At the same time, Gartner says connectivity services, through communications service providers, and consumer services will grow at an even faster pace.

It won’t be wrong to say that in the future, technology will no longer only be a part of a business but will be the business itself. With the support of a visionary and progressive government, wise regulation policies, the last mile connectivity, a strong ecosystem and an earnest public-private partnership, the IoT ecosystem will gain higher acceleration in the coming year.

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