In a recent survey of 381 IT execs by IT industry trade association CompTIA, only one-third of the respondents expressed the view that the Internet of Things (IoT) will improve their bottom line over the next one to two years. Moreover, 58 percent of respondents are either uncertain or don’t think IoT will ever improve their bottom line.
These findings show some skepticism towards IoT, but the same survey found that 80 percent have taken action to understand IoT opportunities. These actions include following IoT news stories, reviewing analyst reports, having discussions with customers, having internal strategy discussions, receiving information from vendors or distributors of IoT products, and attending conferences or webinars.
Are you ready for IoT?
The CompTIA survey identified a number of areas where IoT is expected to have the greatest impact in the long term: controlling and monitoring newly connected devices or systems (53 percent), collecting new streams of data (46 percent), adding intelligence to previously “dumb” devices or systems (46 percent), and creating new value from connected systems (42 percent).
Today, corporate networks have powerful hubs surrounded by less intelligent objects. Most devices are managed and operated from a few centralized data centers. IoT devices are typically located at the edge of the network, they often use inexpensive carrier 2 G services for connectivity, and their replacement cycle is far longer than for your typical piece of enterprise technology. For example, connected items such as LED light bulbs have an expected life of 20+ years, making their longevity a key asset to the organization for many years.
Applying a centralized cloud-based business model to these devices will mean decades of expense managing an ever-increasing volume of devices. The devil is in data consumption. If they use Wi-Fi the costs are negligible. If it relies on a 2 G carrier network the cost is also low, but the volume of devices will be exponentially higher.
Telecom managers need to prepare now for this new IoT world. It will not be cost effective to have individuals use manual processes to create inventories and optimize costs. IoT will require more automation to manage costs more effectively. It will require more efficient systems to track assets, the costs associated with those assets, and reporting. Wireless Expense Management (WEM) and Telecom Expense Management (TEM) systems will become increasingly more important in the IoT world.