Businesses move from "Should we use the IoT?" to "How should we use the IoT?"

From connected cars, to remote healthcare, to smart street lighting and smart homes, IoT applications appear to have countless opportunities to transform the way we live and work. As the world continues to adopt IoT technologies and we build connectivity into everything, these solutions will play a major role in how businesses engage with partners and customers, and, ultimately, how they drive innovation and revenue.

With so much potential attached to IoT, it begs the question, what are the driving forces behind the adoption and implementation of IoT technology? The reality is that there are several different trends behind IoT. These key trends will impact how businesses build connected capabilities into their operations as IoT becomes an indispensable technology across industries.

The fact is, connected applications are already becoming mainstream in modern businesses. IoT integration is increasingly becoming a necessity for business development and growth—in fact, according to Vodafone’s 2016 IoT Barometer, more than 75 percent of businesses say the IoT is critical to future success. Given its importance, simply adopting the IoT will no longer serve as a business differentiator. The question for businesses will shift from whether or not to implement IoT to how they’re using the technology. Whether IoT is leveraged as a highly visible technology, or an intrinsic part of business processes, it’ll be a necessary component for any forward-thinking organization.

The IoT is quickly becoming an intrinsic business feature, and will soon be indistinguishable from other standard business processes and services. For example, we’re already seeing IoT applications starting to become essential to modern warehouse systems and commercial transportation fleets. With connected technologies being rolled into standard IT practices, IoT technology and other crucial technologies such as capabilities, mobile and data analytics services will be purchased together as part of an integrated, total solution.

Many IoT applications are already making noticeable impacts, especially in industries focused on employee and customer experiences. Through successful IoT deployment, these industries will begin to take the lead in IoT implementation, helping to change the way businesses interact with their customers.

Additionally, the health and automotive industries are showing leadership in their respective markets. The auto sector is bringing features such as advanced security, GPS, and infotainment to drivers through the connected car, while, in healthcare, remote patient monitoring with IoT-enabled systems is helping doctors provide patients with more personalized care.

Cybersecurity will continue to be a key focus for all organizations as business becomes increasingly digital. Whether businesses are just beginning to apply IoT to their operations or building on the way the technology is used within their organization, security will be a major consideration. As businesses begin to integrate IoT applications into overall IT protocol, they’ll begin to implement active security measures to protect data gleaned from IoT technologies.

Erik Kling joined Vodafone in September 2010 and holds the current position as Vice President IoT New Business Development. His responsibilities include building and developing the IoT domestic new business team including the Latin America region, driving IoT solutions into Vodafone Global Enterprise accounts along with additional customers and markets and defining, developing and nurturing the IoT ecosystem within the market place. He has more than 20 years of experience in the communication technology field covering hardware, software, services, and solution elements of the industry.

Topics covered in this article