Ushering in the Age of IoT: Trends for Business Development

by Andrew Morawski

The Internet of Things has become a trending topic within mainstream technology, from connected cars to smart home devices, pet tracking and countless other applications. However, we’re seeing an entirely new set of trends develop within the IoT space pertaining to the transformation of businesses. The fact is, IoT technologies and broader services represent the future of how businesses will drive innovation, engage with their employees and customers and ultimately impact ROI in a big way. In fact, McKinsey&Company predicted last year that IoT technologies could generate up to $11.1 trillion a year in economic value by 2025.

But what are the driving forces behind ushering the age of IoT and turning potential into reality? There are four key trends within IoT that will be pivotal as the Internet of Things becomes integral to business operations in the future.

IoT Applications will be critical to business: no longer “if,” but “how”
We’re entering a new transformative era – one where connected applications are the norm. Full IoT integration is increasingly becoming a necessary asset for business growth and development. In fact, most businesses will be using IoT within the next two years. According to the 2016 Vodafone IoT Barometer, 76% of businesses believe IoT will be “critical” to success in the future.

However, simply adopting these technologies will no longer serve as a differentiator for businesses. Organizations cannot afford to ask if they should adopt IoT. The question, instead, should be “how?” In order to truly gain a competitive edge in the market, IoT applications will need to be fully ingrained in IT landscapes and digital strategies. In the next few years we’re going to see businesses adapting practices in order to leverage IoT across business sectors. Whether it be using a highly visible technology to help drive revenue or process efficiency, or using IoT as an intrinsic part of the business environment, these advances will become an integral asset for development.

IoT will play a significant role in business outcomes
The Internet of Things will become increasingly consolidated into overall business practices and strategies. It will soon be indistinguishable from other standard business processes. Today, we’re already seeing IoT applications becoming essential to modern warehouse systems, company car fleets and more. Business-led approaches to procuring and managing IoT will become increasingly pivotal in driving measurable results. Additionally, IoT and other crucial IT components such as cloud, mobile and analytics will be purchased together as part of a fully-integrated, total solution.

Businesses will take active security measures when it comes to IoT
It comes as no surprise that cybersecurity is progressively becoming an essential concern to businesses who are relying on IoT applications. We’ll increasingly see businesses strategize and work to integrate IoT security into their overall business practices. As IoT is absorbed into overall IT security measures, we will see businesses employing active practices to protect this crucial asset.

Several industries will take the lead on customer engagement
We’ve already seen that IoT applications of all kinds are making noticeable impacts on employee and customer experiences. Through successful deployment, businesses in certain sectors will undoubtedly emerge as thought leaders in the way IoT is used to engage with customers. Currently the automotive and healthcare industries are among some of the main markets driving new and innovative deployments of IoT technologies. The connected car, both for personal and shared use, is already changing the way we’ll drive in the future, while mhealth is enabling remote treatment of patients and changing the way physicians are approaching treatment plans. As these inventive uses of IoT continue to grow, we’ll steadily see specific industries drive new uses and developments across the IoT space.

Ultimately, the Internet of Things is not a novel concept. However, we are on the brink of a new set of trends within IoT as businesses begin to deploy these innovations across their daily functions and overall strategies. The next few years will define a new age of success for businesses that are able to successfully integrate and utilize IoT across all sectors.

Andrew Morawski is the president of Vodafone Americas.


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