How to turn the Internet of Things (IoT) into a business advantage

Most businesses now realise that Internet of Things (IoT) solutions can help their company and it is now about how best to use them. Key thoughts to bear in mind with the Internet of Things:

  • Using the IoT can make you more competitive. However, it is about more than just connecting devices to the Internet – you need a return on investment at a business level
  • Focus on using IoT to create new business models or revenue streams that can deliver real value
  • You need expertise and IoT partners to profit from changing business conditions while mitigating risk

When considering if the IoT will give your company a competitive advantage, there are three key points to bear in mind.

1. Think about the value IoT can provide

Before, companies would deploy IoT solutions for one of two reasons: either to increase efficiency or cut costs. With advances in tech, we can now look at IoT services to add strategic value. IoT can increase customer satisfaction and bring in new business models or revenue streams.

For example, water scarcity is getting worse around the world. However, help is at hand. Smart city solutions using IoT and acoustic tech can help detect leaks in water mains. The city can reduce the damage and water loss caused by leaking pipes. Even complex legacy systems need not be a barrier to IoT success.

2. Calculate the ROI

IoT can help you cope with changing business conditions. You can identify which IoT tech will drive the best value for your business and an expert solution provider can then help you design, test and build the right IoT solutions for you.

In the logistics sector, for example, overcapacity is a challenge. Using connected devices to track shipments can give transport providers a competitive edge. In a 2014 global survey of shippers by EyeForTransport Reports and AT&T, found 80 per cent expected to see a return on new IoT deployments within two years.

3. Consider the security risks of the IoT

IoT can bring new security risks. Each connected device needs guarding. Connected devices can make cybersecurity more complex. They also increase the volume of data that companies must protect. In addition, IoT devices can provide hackers with a means to threaten critical systems such as factories or supply chains.

Across industries, the answer is to build multiple layers of security controls. These controls need to surround IoT devices and their connecting networks. In the connected car for example, this will mean separating critical safety systems and engine control units from infotainment and tethered device connections. This will make it more difficult for a criminal to use these connections to hijack critical systems such as to unlock the car’s ignition or remotely take over brakes or steering.

Make the IoT part of your strategy

IoT is not without challenges. The key is to address them in a cost effective and practical way. The value that IoT delivers can far outweigh those challenges. An experienced solution provider and an IoT ecosystem that delivers value helps to protect its customers will make the effort worthwhile.

John Vladimir Slamecka, Regional President, AT&T EMEA

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