The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the playing field for organizations in every sector—helping them “increase operational efficiency and grow their businesses”, according to a report, State of the Market: Internet of Things 2017, by Verizon Communications Inc.
In 2017, the most investments in the IoT space are being made by manufacturing ($183 billion), transportation ($85 billion) and utilities ($66 billion) sectors, it said. But the fastest spending growth is expected to come from insurance, consumer and cross-industry initiatives like smart buildings.
The report stated that, while earlier, organizations focused on simple use cases to track data and send status alerts, IoT has now become “enterprise-grade”. IoT platforms, including new low-power networks, are providing organizations with a single environment for developing and managing applications and paring costs.
“This year, simplified end-to-end solutions, low cost IoT technologies and connectivity solutions, and new regulatory requirements around food safety, pharmaceuticals, energy and the operation of commercial drones, are driving IoT deployments,” the report said. It cited the example of how pharmaceuticals manufacturers and distributors are working with logistics and transportation providers to leverage IoT solutions to track and trace medicines from production to patient, in a bid to comply with the US Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA).
The report pointed out that while innovations in IoT are advancing rapidly, the costs of deploying the technology are coming down.
However, some challenges in IoT remain as daunting as ever. According to the report, security concerns remain “the number one barrier to large-scale IoT deployments” in the enterprise.
The report quoted Gil Press, a technology consultant, as saying, “The lack of standards and security risks will continue to slow down the adoption of IoT for years to come. But the sudden emergence of a ‘killer app,’ possibly in the enterprise rather than in the consumer market, could accelerate IoT adoption regardless of any security and interoperability concerns.”
Two other big demands from enterprises looking to deploy IoT solutions, the report said, are scalability, or the ability to quickly roll out a project across the enterprise beyond pilot stage, and simplicity, to reduce management complexity. “For now, the bulk of new IoT analytics applications and services are concentrated in the B2B market. In addition to predictive maintenance, popular use cases are inventory management, fleet and asset management, and remote patient monitoring,” the report highlighted.
The report identified drones as a bright spot in the IoT ecosystem, noting that “analysts expect enterprise and commercial use cases to expand exponentially” in the next few years.