- The APJ region is projected to ‘become the frontline for the Internet of Things’
- However adoption is slowed due to fragmentation of standards
THE Internet of Things (IoT) is set to have a huge impact on the APJ region, but few organisations have been able to find the formula to success – or even envisage what this will look like. However, according to IDC, the APJ region is projected to ‘become the frontline for the Internet of Things’, with 8.6 billion devices connected, and US$583 billion of market opportunity by 2020. For Malaysia, it is forecasted that the initial IoT potential will register RM9.8 billion by 2020, and is expected to experience exponential growth beyond 2020 to reach RM32.7 billion in 2025.
So what do businesses need to do to capitalise on this opportunity?
The reason for this growth is evident in its potential benefits: IoT has the scope to move us from guessing to knowing about our physical world, making our world more intelligent. However, this does not mean that for the organisations that are planning on using IoT, adopting it is an easy feat. There will be some challenges to overcome, which can be addressed by an agile approach.
What is holding back IoT adoption?
Research suggests, whilst enterprises agree that the scope for IoT is promising, they are still in the beginning stages of adoption – 90% are still in the planning phase. So what is causing this delay?
First and foremost: the complexity and fragmentation of the IoT market and its solutions. Angel.co reports that there are over 3,000 IoT startups globally. Navigating through the intricacies of the IoT market is holding enterprises back in the planning phase. Enterprises are often looking for customised and comprehensive solutions, but these are slow to create.
Secondly: there are far too many standards—there are currently over 400 and growing. If you look across different vertical markets, the list grows even more as applications become more niche. This is confusing and time consuming in the research and development phase.
Thirdly: the proliferation of data. More connected devices means more data. Analytics is often created custom in line with specific business needs. For example, in an industrial automation scenario, maintenance alerts and warnings need to be triggered when certain parameters or conditions are met. So planning how to manage the increasing amounts of data takes time to establish.
And finally: security. A report by McKinsey showed the greatest concern about IoT is security. However, many connected devices are currently not designed with security in mind, instead viewed as an add-on after the fact.
Why the right approach is an agile approach
These challenges cannot be resolved overnight, so to navigate these barriers and see the benefits of IoT quicker, organisations should take an agile approach to implementation.
This requires moving quickly out of the planning phase, and choosing a few use cases that solve real problems as proofs of concept. This offers quick evaluation and feedback, targeting high priority issues first. As a report by Deloitte argues: “targeted deployments…reduce initial investment, shorten lead-times to value creation and maximise the value generated”.
The technology used has to allow for faster implementation, and for new projects to develop based on the success of previous projects. Interoperability is the key to achieving this.
IoT initiatives at Saensuk Municipality in Thailand is just one example of the why. They are leveraging IoT solutions for an intelligent eldercare patient monitoring pilot project, achieved by using health monitoring, emergency notification, environment sensing, home monitoring, and tracking for safety. Value is found by connecting the data across these applications and allowing them to interact–value is found in interoperability.
Working with end-to-end solution providers means projects are more likely to offer interoperability in the long term, across edge to core to cloud. Whilst one overarching platform is not available today, seeking solutions that work towards this goal will help implementations come together as you add more use cases.
An open source platform is an important step towards making this possible. EdgeX Foundry, an open source project hosted by the Linux Foundation, is building a common open framework for edge computing with an ecosystem of interoperable components. It offers interoperability across standards, applications and services across a wide range of IoT use cases. Therefore, cautiously evaluating and selecting providers embracing open source will pay off in the long run.
To further accelerate IoT adoption, Dell Technologies recently unveiled a new IoT Division dedicated to helping customers navigate the complex and often fragmented IoT landscape, and is committed to investing US$1 billion in new IoT products, solutions, labs, partner program and ecosystem over the next three years via its venture arm, Dell Technologies Capital.
The reality is that IoT adoption will be a challenge and will have failures along the way. Start small, fail quick, and keep “interoperability” at the core of technology adoption. With this agile approach, IoT projects can speed from a theory to a reality.
Amit Midha is Dell EMC president of commercial APJ
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