The Internet of Things (IoT) is exploding. Analysts expect there to be more than 50 billion devices connected to the internet by 2020, and these devices generate enormous amounts of data that businesses can leverage. However, the stats so far aren’t looking good—almost 75% of business IoT projects are failing.
So how can you avoid that in your business? Let’s look at some of the ways you can help prepare your company for the coming surge of IoT.
1. Plan Ahead to Avoid Common Mistakes
According to the May 2017 Cisco Report, there are five primary challenges businesses face that can cause IoT projects to fail:
- Budget overruns
- Integration across teams
- Limited internal expertise
- Quality of data
- Time to completion
Most of these issues simply come down to proper planning. As you organize projects, take your time and thoroughly assess what your budget needs are, how much time the task will take, and whether your team has the expertise to handle the project. If you can’t accommodate the budget or timeline of a project, postpone it. It’s better to have finish successfully later than to not finish at all.
2. Up Your Security Game
Security is going to be one of the biggest issues many companies will face going into the IoT revolution. In fact, in a poll by 451 Research, it was the top concern and reason why 50% of respondents haven’t already implemented IoT into their businesses.
We’ve all seen the big data breaches of the last few years and the effects they can have on the companies involved. It is important to avoid these types of data breaches and be prepared with a game plan for when they do occur. If your business can’t handle the security needs of its IoT network internally, don’t be afraid to outsource.
3. Anticipate Your Data Storage Needs
IoT is all about the data. The collection of enormous amounts of data and the subsequent analysis and implementation of that data is what makes the Internet of Things so great for businesses.
Just how much data are we talking? Around two zettabytes per year by 2019, according to analysts. A zettabyte is one thousand exabytes. And one exabyte is the equivalent of thirty-six thousand years of HDTV footage. The amount of data your business can generate via an IoT network is unprecedented.
So how do you store all that data? One option is to invest in your own local data storage system. On-site storage or cloud storage combined with fiber optic internet is another method you can use in place of, or as a supplement to, local storage. Just look through the variety of cloud storage providers and internet solutions for small businesses to decide which option best suits your needs.
4. Find and Test an Analytics Platform
You’ll also need a way to sift through all the collected data and put it to use through sophisticated analytics tools. Several platforms can help you make sense of all the data you’ll be collecting. IBM’s Watson Analytics is one popular suite, but the important thing is to find an analytics tool that works for your business and budget.
The process of testing out a platform will also help you to identify any areas where you might be short-staffed. Do you need to hire a new data analyst, or is it time for your IT team to expand?
5. Start With the Basics
Rather than diving right in with complex IoT solutions to problems that may not exist for your business, get your feet wet by using IoT to solve a long-standing but relatively simple problem your company may have.
Once you figure out what that issue is, use any of these easy-to-implement IoT solutions as a good starting point:
- Automate office maintenance with smart appliances and accessories, like smart locks and lightbulbs. These devices can improve efficiency and cut maintenance and utility costs.
- Implement smart RFID tags on items in retail locations to automate inventory tracking and ordering. These tags can make inventory tracking more accurate while simultaneously freeing up employees for other tasks and saving you on payroll.
- Use Amazon Echo devices or other brand equivalents to make mundane tasks easier and more efficient. For example, employees can use an Amazon Echo to ask Alexa to schedule a meeting for them rather than manually adding it to their calendars themselves.
These solutions just scratch the surface, and more options are likely to emerge in the coming years as technology and IoT continue to advance and people discover innovative ways to apply them.
6. Justify Your Projects
While most companies can greatly benefit from IoT and big data, the time may not be right in your particular business, industry, or local market to make the investment. You don’t want to jump on the IoT bandwagon just because it seems like the smart thing to do. Make sure it is the smart thing to do for your business before starting your first IoT pilot project.
Ensure your investment helps solve a problem within your company, such as streamlining shipping, cutting costs, or improving employee efficiency.
The IoT is evolving at a rapid pace. Business leaders need to stay on their toes to ensure their companies aren’t left in the dust. Start preparing now so you can take on the coming IoT boom with ease.