It is not all that surprising that the Internet of Things caught on so quickly in the consumer marketplace, as the general population has proven its desire to purchase and use the most advanced gadgets around time and time again. What is somewhat surprising at this point is that business leaders and other decision-makers are appearing to embrace the IoT more rapidly than many would have expected, and that this trend is likely to become a cornerstone of IT strategies in the near future.
Last June, International Data Corporation forecast the annual volume of global expenditures related to the IoT to be roughly $1.7 trillion by 2020 following six years at a 16.9 percent compound annual growth rate. The report outlined some of the more popular items within the IoT at large, including wearables, and pointed out that consumers are likely to begin purchasing these items a bit more quickly with the passing of each year.
"While wearable devices are the consumer face of the Internet of Things, and where recognition of IoT appears to begin, the real opportunity remains in the enterprise and public sector markets," IDC Senior Vice President Vernon Turner explained. "The ripple effect of IoT is driving traditional business models from IT-enabled business processes to IT-enabled services and finally to IT-enabled products, which is beginning to disrupt the IT status quo."
This is largely coming to fruition, but is likely to be overshot once organizations and municipalities start putting more chips on the IoT. If you would like a short rundown of the ways in which the IoT will likely impact the average business, check out this video from The IoT Business Channel:
Modern IT infrastructure and strategies will be critical to ensure that the IoT is advantageous rather than being disruptive, and entrepreneurs who have not digitized their core business processes will need to do so as well. So long as unified communications and IT frameworks are up to the standards of the modern era, and leaders are poised to intelligently embrace the IoT, this trend will surely be a boon to a range of operational performances.
Gartner recently explained some of the key trends that are beginning to take shape in the IoT arena with a specific focus on what corporate leaders and decision-makers need to be watching and understanding. Some of the points within the report were positive, including the forecast that businesses will be using the IoT to power more than 50 percent of their newer projects within the next four years, showing how quickly the movement is spreading.
However, some indications were not quite as promising. Perhaps the most obvious threat involved in the IoT is related to security, as this trend comes with even more challenges and complexities than enterprise mobility, which has been a root cause of many breaches. According to Gartner, businesses will need to shift their security budget management in the direction of the IoT much more heavily in the coming years. The analysts stated that such expenditures took up 1 percent of budget on average last year, but this rate will rise to 20 percent by 2020.
"Major cybersecurity vendors and service providers are already delivering roadmaps and architecture of IoT security, in anticipation of market opportunity," Gartner Research Vice President Earl Perkins stated. "Small startups delivering niche IoT security in areas such as network segmentation, device-to-device authentication and simple data encryption are offering first-generation products and services, including cloud-based solutions where applicable. Large security vendors have already begun acquiring some of these IoT startups to support their early roadmaps and fill niches in their portfolios."
What's more, the researchers believe that the black market will find a new ally in the IoT, with hackers and cybercriminals expected to begin taking advantage of the novelty of sensors and gadgets. Perhaps most important, though, is the fact that companies will likely struggle to actually get their initiatives and projects moving along at the speed they have come to expect in the past few years.
Gartner argued that between now and 2018, roughly three-quarters of these projects will not be completed even close to the date originally planned upon.
"Product-centered enterprises will be the worst affected," Alfonso Velosa, Gartner research vice president, affirmed. "They will seek to launch smarter, connected products, although this will often be a reactive, tactical approach that seeks to address their competition's IoT product. However, even for enterprises conducting internally centered projects that may focus on cost reductions, there will be people issues. Most of these issues will center on the normal introduction of a new technology model."
With little time before the IoT begins to take hold, entrepreneurs need to get moving on projects to batten down the hatches as soon as possible, and this begins with internal performance improvements.
"Digital transformation has not been easy."
Digital business transformation has not been easy by any means, but has been a project that virtually every organization has had to undertake in the past few years given the novel demands of the modern marketplace. Managed services have become far more popular with the passing of each year because of the complexities and challenges involved in migration, modernization, integration, optimization, security and other matters pertaining to the IT department.
Looking ahead, challenges are likely to become more intense and abstract given the accelerating speed of innovation among manufacturers, telecommunications enterprises and others of late. Should small-business owners lose sight of their workforces' capabilities or lack thereof, the chances of capitalizing on what should be advantageous trends such as the IoT will be inherently lower.
By leveraging cloud services for the foundation of IT and ensuring that solutions vendors can be supportive when the time to change or deploy new technologies comes to pass, entrepreneurs will be far better-positioned to compete at a high level in the coming years. The right service provider can bring organizations up to speed in a shorter time than those companies could achieve going it alone without the right experience and expertise on hand.