The Internet of Things has been in the spotlight for quite some time now, but it is still one of the hottest topics around when it comes to technology. Even though it seems it has passed its infancy years, IoT still faces issues with adoption rates and roll out times.
In the last couple of years, Vodafone Group has built this great habit of publishing a yearly IoT Barometer which contains very useful information and statistics around the IoT industry. If you haven’t read it so far, I strongly encourage you to do so and you can find the latest one here.
A while back when we decided to quit our telecom jobs and embark on this new adventure, I remember reading a very interesting piece of information from the Barometer stating that the average roll out time for an IoT project was 18 months. “18 months!!??!!”, we said, “that can’t be right, we can do better than that”. We attributed this high figure to the slow moving pace of large companies and continued with our plan of building a platform that will not only be able to deliver projects in a fraction of that time but also do it better and cheaper. After a couple of years down the road, we found out why IoT’s project roll out lasts so long, and it wasn’t only technology or the speed of large companies. Here is what you need to watch out for:
- IoT is not the core business: IoT is for many companies what we call an auxiliary technology in the sense that it doesn’t directly impact or transform its core business, but rather provides the means for improvement and most of the times for better information or decision making. As important as it may sound, many companies are still in doubt about its benefits, which turns into a passive approach leading to slow movement and adoption.
- Speaking with the right people: addressing various problems, IoT can help many departments inside a company and although this diversity opens up a lot of opportunities, it also raises a potential big problem. Without a clear traditional owner inside the company and with lots of potential beneficiaries the whole process of rolling out an IoT project can turn into a complicated and lengthy process.
- Budgets: with uncertain owners or internal customers/beneficiaries, finding the right budget to source IoT’s projects can prove to be a challenge. Also, most IoT projects are “a first” with many companies so with little previous experience on how to handle that, spending money on it is not a thing that comes easily.
- Risks: still in its early stage with many companies, IoT comes without a provenoutcome or some previous experience, generating a fair amount of reluctance. Sometimes it is hard to even find similar successful examples in the market. Proving to be a challenge and concern even for the innovators, the rest of the pack, the followers, have even harder times to get started with IoT.
- Lack of standardization: makes companies less open to adopting IoT for many reasons, from fear of vendor/technology lock down to waiting for the next better solutions. Lack of visibility regarding the adopted technology and the corresponding investment is a real deterrent when it comes down to logical business decisions.
Can these be mitigated? Well, we believe it can. Some will be naturally solved as time passes and as IoT becomes more popular. Others will depend on the IoT service providers’ abilities to provide customized products and services that don’t need an 18 months long project and a six digits budget to be successful. Watch out for our next post where we will discuss how a horizontally layered platform will help all this.
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