About 8.4 billion connected devices will be in use worldwide in 2017, up from 31 per cent in 2016. This is well on course to reach 20.4 billion by 2020, says research firm Gartner. It also says total spending on endpoints and services will reach $2 trillion in 2017. This is the boom predicted in the Internet of Things (IoT) technology. Let’s see how enterprises are faring with respect to such digital transformative technologies.
Manufacturing industry is exploring Internet of Things (IoT) technology
There are quite a few factors involved in new-tech implementation in manufacturing industries such as suppliers, partners, vendors, adaptability, returns on investment (RoI), revenues, and bottom line generation. The IoT technology is capital-intensive and a company planning to implement it would wish to know the tangible results out of such an adoption. Of late, several companies are planning to implement the IoT technology, particularly for the assembly line. However, most such innovations are in a nascent stage. This kind of digitalization should result in improved mobility (mobile device friendly), payback, data monetization, increased efficiency and revenues, together with reduced bottom lines. There should be improvement in efficiency, around 15–20%, along with a 10–15% increase in productivity.
Applications of IoT in the industry
There are three aspects. The first is in the area of product and technology, when new product is invented, for instance, replacements for mechanical switches. The second aspect is process-related, like manufacturing, dispatch, etc. The third is Inspection and Test Plans (ITP), in which software robotics, Artificial Intelligence, machine learning come into the picture.
“IoT technologies help programs run automatically, with increased efficiency, access, and reduced human involvement. IoT technologies can be helpful in data churning, testing, and maintenance. Backed by predictive analytics, this could lead to crisis response and preventive management in situations such as breakdowns and technical snags,” said Shashank Dixit, CEO, Deskera.
20–30 billion devices connected to Internet by 2020: Are estimates optimistic?
With predictions of 20–30 billion devices to be connected to the Internet by 2020, there is surely a digital transformation waiting to happen. Companies are working with new technology partners. In India, most are aggregators. Although there may not be a lot of activity in the manufacturing sector, consumer product industries such as appliances and automobiles like fridge, TV, etc. are seeing a flurry of activity. There have been investments too. Internationally, US and German companies are innovating at the rate of 15–20 per cent every year. Indian companies can leverage this spree and co-innovate at the rate of 5–10 per cent.
Security concerns regarding IoT implementation and connected appliances
There have been concerns about data security as well as malfunctioning which has been making enterprises jittery about the new technology.
“I believe security concerns will go away with time. Take the example of cloud computing technology. There were a few concerns about data security initially. However, with the entire world moving to the cloud, that concern has more or less disappeared. Two things of particular interest have happened as the technology has matured: data concerns have been resolved; second, data security is no more that big an issue till the technology is cheaper and more efficient than on premise systems. Similarly, IoT will mature and these things will get resolved,” added Shashank Dixit.
Impact of Internet of Things and connected devices in the long run
IoT will be disruptive. Companies could start deploying robots. Currently, hi-tech IoT tech is expensive but with time it may become affordable. This could lead to large-scale changes. Digital transformation is surely and truly underway.