IoT: The Peter Pan of technology?
As the IoT becomes more mainstream, there’s no denying that people are growing accustomed to using connected devices as part of their everyday lives. Whether it’s consumers with smart meters and fitness monitors, or businesses benefiting from smart office buildings, IoT - like all disruptive tech - has become absorbed into our daily personal and work lives.
By Anthony Sayers, Internet of Things Evangelist at Software AG
Yet, many businesses are still asking questions about what IoT can do for them and how they can implement it successfully. This begs the question, is IoT the Peter Pan of technology? If so, will it ever grow-up?
To understand if IoT will ever truly ‘grow-up’, we first need to understand at what stage of the journey organisations are implementing IoT - and ensure we are aware of which direction they are planning to move.
Of course, no one organisation’s IoT journey will be at the same stage; Gartner identifies five levels of IoT maturity to assess how far businesses have come in their journey, and indeed how far they have yet to go.
So, is IoT maturing or will it remain forever young?
The IoT maturity model
According to Gartner, the five levels of IoT maturity can be mapped across the seven dimensions of maturity, all of which are interconnected. This means that, to progress between stages, all dimensions, including fast data ingestion, contextual awareness, situational intelligence, predictive analytics, prescriptive analytics and intelligent action, must be taken into consideration.
The five stages are as follows:
At the moment, most businesses are situated anywhere between stage one and stage three. Most organisations have only just started connecting everything to one central system. This means processes are no longer operating in siloed conditions, but businesses are focused on learning about what their environment is like - so that they can progress to eventually working in a more data-driven landscape.
However, this is starting to change and we are beginning to see companies navigate their way into stage four - a crucial step to achieving IoT maturity.
Moving into a more integrated environment
Companies are realising that they need to integrate their IoT projects into the company’s overarching strategies. This is the ultimate turning point in ensuring IoT grows-up to create truly seamless, connected experiences.
It’s important to understand that IoT cannot be implemented in isolation. This is why integration is a key part of the IoT jigsaw puzzle. By creating a more integrated strategy, businesses will be able to reap the benefits of gaining insights from third party data, in addition to their own data. Crucially, a more integrated IoT model also offers deeper time and trend-based analysis.
Once we are able to implement IoT successfully in this way, it will become engrained so seamlessly that we will stop noticing it as an add-on technology enabler. Business models are starting to take both the predictive and prescriptive elements into consideration. This means connecting all data points to achieve a predictive maintenance strategy.
A great example of a company already doing this is Royal Dirkzwager. As the European leader in providing information and communication technologies to the maritime-logistics market, the company tracks nearly two trillion ship locations a year, for 800 maritime organisations, in real time.
By taking an integrated approach to IoT, the company has enabled accurate, customer-accessible ship ETAs, reduced new service turnaround time and increased real-time message handling. This is a great example of how IoT can be used to deliver notable benefits directly to customers, in a more integrated fashion.
IoT: A mature future
There’s no denying that we are currently positioned at a crossroads. Some organisations are still in the infant stages of making use of IoT, focused on ensuring everything is connected. Meanwhile, others are developing a more integrated business model.
Ultimately, whilst we may describe IoT as the Peter Pan of technology now – having remained in its infancy for some time, there’s no escaping that, as businesses cross over into a more integrated space, it is possible for them to achieve true IoT maturity. The IoT will have well and truly grown up when it is used widely and seamlessly, to solve real business problems.