Getting your IoT business-ready
Information & Communications Technology and Media | 22 Jan 2020
Internet of Things (IoT) is now one of the buzzwords in the world of technology. IoT is changing how we live and work. From connected vehicles and wearable tech, to building automation and asset management for business, the demand for IoT devices and technology has been steadily on the rise.
According to Premium-Statistic, the number of connected devices will be more than 75 billion worldwide by 2025. Yet, despite IoT’s arrival and adoption, industry insiders say the technology is still in its infancy. Is your IoT business-ready? We recommend 7 areas to consider on your journey to get yourself IoT ready.
Not sure about what is the Internet of Things (IoT)? Read more here: What is IoT?
1) Never proceed without a plan for IoT
Never launch a premature network. IoT deployments are time-consuming so spend time planning and researching. Your testing may include sandbox tech, proof of concepts, case studies, and pilots in the initial stages of deployment. Include your staff and stakeholders in the process of planning, orientating and training.
“The Internet of Things is part of the digital disruption and transformation of our world. A digital strategy requires a data strategy and an analytics strategy. To prepare for IoT, companies need to take advantage of big data and advanced analytics so they are ready for the transformation”, said Oliver Schabenberger, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, SAS
2) Leverage your data and build a data driven culture
All IoT applications produce data, lots of data. The total volume of data generated by IoT will reach 600 zettabytes (ZB) per year by 2020, according to Cisco estimates.
When preparing for IoT, think about how you want to act on the data and what you need to understand. Your business will need to prepare data ingestion processes, data delivery pipelines, data collection and data analytics, for the data to be acted upon in real time to capitalise on business opportunities or customer experiences, or to detect critical alerts. Create an analytics-centric, data-driven culture so that you are able to observe, model, predict and decide.
3) Focus on and invest in your IoT security
“Every connected device can provide convenience and data to both legitimate users and malicious attackers. A good rule of thumb is to only allow trusted devices to connect to sensitive networks. Untrusted devices should not have access to critical assets.” says Caroline Wong from Cobalt.io.
3 security areas to consider, especially for Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT):
- Network security: invest to leverage machine learning (ML). ML enables context-aware authentication for logging in and can override the threats of brute force attacks.
- Device security: The technology of the new devices should be secure, e.g. with multiple security shields, to close gaps for unwarranted attacks by hackers or malware.
- Data security: When data is generated on a device, it travels through a multi-channel system into the cloud. There can be several potential points of data breach. Therefore, ensure the safety of sensitive data, and personal and operational information at all points.
4) Ensure IoT operational consistency
Many businesses use devices over three to four years old. As older devices were not designed to be IoT compatible, getting them connected on a secured network can be challenging. Old devices and technology might leave the entire network vulnerable, buggy and/or confusing.
Businesses should keep IoT devices flexible, ensuring that the equipment on the vast network can communicate with Big Data and are able to handle evolving demands without interruptions.
Do note that as the new technology is easily scalable and extremely cost-efficient, it is quite easy for users to deploy more devices than necessary. This situation creates more opportunities for potential threats, and more of a mess for the admins. Set up an architecture that can seamlessly integrate with different data aggregators and insight providers to create your own competitive edge, while continually monitoring which devices should connect to the network and which are indispensable.
5) Pay attention to storage
The low cost of storage is one of the primary drivers of the IoT revolution. Beside storing operational data on the devices of the IIoT networks, companies are using their existing hybrid and private cloud spaces to store company data. Evaluate how much space you want to allot for data storage and make a realistic inventory of the space available. Aside from a local data-storage system, you can also consider using cloud storage with fiber-optic internet.
6) Look for the right skills and enable your employees
It is one thing to collect data and another matter to make data useful. Businesses should not ignore implementing a systematic approach to equip your employees with the skills and technologies to work productively.
However, some businesses may lack the specific experience required to run their IoT projects, e.g. expertise related to research and development, engineering talent, user experience and interface, cloud support, and data security. Consider outsourcing some or part of your IoT needs to access the necessary talent, scale quickly and stay ahead.
7) Government support for tech and IoT (Singapore)
For IoT to really take off, governments can play a big role. In this last section, we discuss specifically what Singapore can do by focusing on two areas: developing the ecosystem and boosting its adoption.
An ecosystem to develop more IoT-related innovation can be fostered by setting up a sandbox environment for virtual experimentation in regulated areas such as the telcos. E.g., innovators can test-bed using smartphones to link up with smart homes including remote control of electricity and IoT-enabled white goods.
According to Juvanus Tjandra, head of technology, media and telco, KPMG, in Singapore: There will be costs for bringing in technology experts and urban planners to pilot projects using Singapore talent, and to enable local or overseas training for employees. The government may consider tax deductions on these costs and co-fund up to 50 percent of R&D-related costs incurred by established enterprises active in Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) to drive IoT initiatives aligned with Industry 4.0.
Support to build the ecosystem may also come in the form of enhanced training subsidies to organisations and encouraging universities to focus on IoT-related curricula. IoT areas can include industrial automation, IT knowledge in networking, analytics and insights into manufacturing or public governance, and technology integration skills.
Despite IoT’s potential, adoption by the private sector in Singapore has generally been slower than some other countries, even in the region. Even with an established IoT ecosystem, there is a need to shift the mindset of existing industry players and potential entrants to make the transition into an IoT-powered world.
To encourage higher adoption, Singapore could consider tax deduction on the cost incurred in IoT development and on the capital expenditure on technology-based investments into approved infrastructure projects. The government could also extend the Intellectual Property (IP) Development Incentive for activities under Smart Nation and Industry 4.0 as well as further encourage industry partnerships in Smart Nation projects to any consortia that includes three or more Singapore-registered businesses.
With all the hype, why is IoT not more widespread or adopted faster? Read more here: Challenges and limitations of adopting IoT
The adoption of IoT will grow steadily, and new and experienced entrepreneurs alike are tiptoeing into this new technology to stay competitive. The correct implementation of IIoT (and IoT) in coordination with Big Data, machine learning and AI will be crucial to maximise operational efficiency, help you steer clear of snags in operations, and slow bad investment decisions.
The fusion of business with new technology has already started. Businesses run the risk of getting left behind if you do not prepare to ride the wave of digital transformation.
This article is contributed by Moses Ku, Manager (Engagement), IndSights Research.