It’s difficult to discuss the impact of the IoT on businesses because it has so fully infiltrated operations. Enterprise IoT is ubiquitous, affecting everything from manufacturing machinery to safety monitoring and procedures. But IoT is a role player, not a star. It supplements existing systems and processes, making them more efficient and updating them to handle an influx of big data.
In 2018, enterprise IoT deployments expanded, something we can only expect to continue in 2019. Zebra Technologies’¹ second annual Intelligence Enterprise Index, cited by Forbes,² highlights just how substantial those deployments were.
Zebra found that 38 percent of enterprises have ongoing companywide IoT deployments. Companies will spend $4.6 million each in average IoT investments. Eighty-four percent of enterprises expect to complete their IoT implementations within two years and 82 percent to dispatch information from IoT platforms more than once per day, with 67 percent sharing in real time or nearly so.
That money is being spent in a broad range of ways. It would be impossible to run through all the use cases for enterprise IoT, but there are key areas where many businesses are focusing their efforts and working to become digital enterprises. Below are four arenas and products enterprises will focus on in 2019 to improve their performance.
Enterprise Video Analytics for Security and Customer Insights
The first is Nokia Scene Analytics, a smart video analytics solution that marries cameras and the IoT. In businesses, video analytics are typically used in conjunction with CCTV video cameras, which monitor business areas for security or to provide customer insights. Legacy video analytics systems don’t work well in such complex environments. Too much happens too quickly for legacy platforms to provide actionable data in real time.
The Nokia platform turns cameras into IoT sensors. “It derives abstract information such as motion, direction, density, and velocity vectors from each video feed” and uses Nokia’s Bell Labs’ machine learning technology to analyze this data in real time.³
Nokia’s machine learning technology analyzes complex data and learns what’s important to companies and what isn’t. The more data the system processes, the more accurate its analysis becomes. Nokia’s system can flag security concerns such as theft, or highlight important customer intelligence, such as store aisles that are consistently crowded and could be adjusted to provide a better customer experience.
Businesses can use the information from Nokia’s Scene Analytics product or other intelligence video analytics solutions to improve security, operations, and sales. With the benefits being well-documented in a variety of case studies, we expect investment in this area to increase in 2019, with more businesses adopting video analytics solutions.
Enterprise Asset Analytics
Asset-intensive industries have been investing in asset management software and analytics for years. But in 2019, we’ll see a greater emphasis on IoT asset management and analytics.
Nokia provides options in this category as well, offering a new product called Asset Lifecycle Optimization. Like their Scene Analytics product, Asset Lifecycle Optimization uses IoT and machine learning technology to monitor assets and provide insights on how they’re performing.
Asset Lifecycle Optimization can flag at-risk assets that are likely to fail, enabling predictive maintenance and reducing critical outages. The ultimate results are reduced costs, better long-term planning, improved safety and regulatory compliance, and data that helps optimize capital spending.
Preliminary research has shown major benefits for predictive analytics and improved asset monitoring, making this a top area for enterprises to consider investing in during 2019.
Unconventional IoT Productivity Tools
Herman Miller designs and builds office furniture and other products found in offices. In 2017, the company introduced OS, a line of office furniture designed to improve ergonomics, which makes employees more comfortable, healthy and productive.
Ergonomics are common, but what makes Herman Miller’s line unique is that it uses the IoT to collect data, enabling customized, one-touch operation when employees want to perform actions such as switch the position of convertible sitting/standing desks. The IoT sensors also collect data aimed at optimizing space usage and the office environment.4
The line is an unconventional way to improve employee productivity. While likely to be a fringe investment in 2019, enterprises should start paying attention to innovative new ways companies are leveraging enterprise IoT technology to improve performance. If we start to see compelling use cases for IoT office furniture boosting productivity and results, this will become more of a mainstream investment.
M2M Device Management and Security
Often considered a precursor to IoT technology, M2M is still in play in the enterprise world. By 2020, the M2M market is predicted to be worth nearly $200 billion.5
Unfortunately, M2M and IoT both still have multiple standards that they can adhere to, often specializing by industry. It’s also common for M2M device networks to contain a mixture of legacy assets and next-generation technology.
To better manage their M2M devices, we expect companies to ramp up investment in 2019, with a renewed focus on integrated management platforms and security protocols. M2M device management platforms that can handle both legacy assets and newer devices on different standards are a powerful tool to consider this year, as are security tools that reduce your business’s risk of compromising operations and data.
2019 Will Focus on Specialized IoT Investment by Industry
These are just the tip of the iceberg. Enterprise IoT is likely to experience investment in many other key areas in 2019, often specializing by industry. Healthcare is one example, with specialized healthcare IoT investment opportunities as diverse as smart pills and keeping tabs on patients – such as those with dementia – and equipment. ZDNet reports that spending in the healthcare sector is projected to grow from $41.22 billion in 2017 to $405.65 billion by 2026.6
The IoT will also be a focus in the oil and gas industry. AWS, for instance, works with the IoT to generate the deep analysis required by the companies in the sector.7
Use Your Business’ Key Drivers to Dictate IoT Investment
There are major enterprise IoT arenas that businesses from multiple industries should consider in 2019, including asset analytics, video analytics, and M2M device management. But for your business to develop an effective roadmap, you need to start with your major business drivers.
Identify key performance indicators and where you either fall short or have the greatest opportunity to improve. These are the areas where investments will make the biggest impact on your business and, with the ubiquity of enterprise IoT, chances are there’s a product that can help.