The Next Wave of IoT Enterprise Digital Transformation

Amol Ranade, General Manager, Data Centre Business Development, IT Business, Schneider Electric

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Today, a growing topic of discussion in workplaces is the “Internet of things” (IoT). The concept of IoT has the potential to impact how we work and live. With the world moving towards smart devices, IoT is the next big wave of change. Gartner describes IOT as the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment. IoT connects smart devices to the internet, providing a secure network for data exchange. It is predicted that by 2020, 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet. In today’s scenario, the cost of connecting to the internet is decreasing with broadband internet widely available. Mobile data subscriptions are rapidly multiplying along with an increase in smartphone penetration. Wi-Fi capabilities are built into devices owing to lower technology costs. All these factors are creating the perfect ecosystem for the rise of IoT.

The Internet of Things has been at the top of the hype curve for some time, but IoT technologies can and will continue to drive real business value across industries and geographies. The IoT offers a store house of data aiding in insight mining. For businesses today, this is a boon considering the dynamic consumer and competitive environment. IoT can catalyze the growth of an enterprise from ground zero to the top. Businesses now need to make informed decisions to position themselves to maximize IoT’s value in their organization.

The following areas are creating a huge interest in IOT, and the value that it can add to businesses.

The next wave of digital transformation:
IoT will trigger the next wave of enterprise digital transformation, unifying the worlds of OT and IT and fueling a mobile and digitally enabled workforce.

As more companies both expand and deepen their digitization programs enterprise-wide, IoT will increasingly take center stage. This new wave of transformation will be enabled by more affordable “connected” sensors, embedded intelligence and control, faster and more ubiquitous communications networks, cloud infrastructure, and advanced data-analytics capabilities.

Insightful data:
IoT will translate previously untapped data into insights that enable enterprises to take the customer experience to the next level.

When thinking about the value proposition of IoT, most businesses point to efficiency and cost savings as the key benefits. Yet access to data – including previously untapped data – and the ability to translate it into actionable insights, the hallmark of IoT, will deliver greater customer-service transformation and new opportunities to build brand/service loyalty and satisfaction.

Smart Data Centers:
IoT is finding applications even in the Data Centers where the data gets converted into information and knowledge.

Schneider Electric is already deploying IoT and analytics to improve the performance and efficiency of data center cooling (for example). The solution utilizes sensor data, and uses artificial intelligence algorithms to convert this information into actions that drive the operation of Data Center cooling.

Premise-to-cloud confidence:
The IoT will promote an open, interoperable and hybrid computing approach, and it will foster industry and government collaboration on global architecture standards that address cyber-security concerns:

While cloud-based IoT solutions will grow in popularity, no single computing architecture will monopolize their delivery. IoT instead will flourish across systems, both at the edge and on premise, as part of private cloud or public cloud offerings. Making IoT available across heterogeneous computing environments will help end users adopt IoT solutions in the way that best suits their security and mission-critical needs while also offering entities with legacy technology infrastructures a logical and manageable path forward, allowing them to transform over time.

Innovations that leapfrog existing infrastructure:
IoT will function as a source of innovation, business model disruption and economic growth for businesses, governments and emerging economies: Just as the Industrial Revolution, birth of the Internet and mobile revolution have driven advancement, innovation and prosperity, so will IoT. Businesses and cities alike will deliver new IoT-enabled services; new business models will emerge; and, in particular emerging economies will have a significant opportunity to quickly leverage IoT without the constraint of legacy infrastructure, essentially leapfrogging old ways. In fact, McKinsey forecasts that 40 percent of the worldwide market for IoT solutions will be generated by developing countries.

A better planet:
IoT solutions will be leveraged to address major societal and environmental issues:
IoT will help countries and their economies respond to the biggest challenges facing our planet, including global warming, water scarcity and pollution. In fact, survey respondents identified improved resource utilization as the number one benefit of IoT to society as a whole. In concert with the private sector, local and national governments will embrace IoT to accelerate and optimize current initiatives to curtail greenhouse gas emissions in accord with the breakthrough COP21 climate agreement, whereby 196 countries pledged to keep global warming under the threshold of 2 degrees Celsius.

The growth of the IoT has enabled access to large amounts of data. A large number of organizations feel that the knowledge gathered from the data and/or information generated by the IoT is being shared effectively throughout the organization. Businesses are knowledge enabled, leading to provide industry specific solutions, adding value to stakeholders and staying ahead of the curve in the competitor environment.

The era of the Internet of Things (IoT) has begun and has the potential to touch every individual and every enterprise, improving daily life and helping companies be more agile. The amount and variety of data from smart devices is increasing exponentially. It is predicted that, by 2020, there will be an installed base of over 50 billion smart devices worldwide. To take full advantage of the Internet of Things, a highly secure software infrastructure is required that has broad connectivity, is modular and extensible, can manage and analyze huge amounts of data and is capable of delivering knowledge and results to an increasingly mobile workforce.

Schneider Electric is very strongly placed with its diverse software portfolio and is closely working in several areas like Smart Cities and Asset Management, to accelerate the Internet of Things.

This IoT phenomenon is an evolution that has actually been underway for quite some time. Key drivers include a rapid acceleration of the number of connected devices, a broader acceptance of open standards (such as Ethernet) and a new affordability of the “smart” technology.

The intelligence allowing IoT devices to communicate is not a new concept. However, Operational Intelligence implies a new degree of visibility to data and assets that allows for tremendous cost savings, rapid response time, and better decisions across both home and business environments.

Smart cities:
Cities are actively connecting more of their assets together to help improve service, reduce cost and maintain safety. Schneider Electric is working with cities across the globe to provide the software infrastructure they will need to take full advantage of the data coming from their diverse systems today and into the future. These Platforms are helping municipal governments become more efficient at connecting their water, waste, energy and transportation systems together so they can better manage their assets and provide affordable, reliable and safe public services.

Asset Management:
Smart devices will allow more accurate and timely management of productive assets. Schneider Electric solutions take a comprehensive physical and logical view of assets including the complete maintenance history. This enables our clients to truly leverage the volume of information coming from this new technological wave.
The intelligence that allows IoT devices to communicate in a bidirectional fashion is not a new concept. Physical infrastructure electronic devices that are able to sense, generate and transmit data have been around for nearly 50 years. Another important factor that is enabling faster IoT growth is the shift in human behaviour and the changing workforce. The desire to measure and compare the effectiveness of objects that humans interact with is leading to a rapid acceleration in data creation, and more visibility to that data.

Of all the technology trends that are taking place right now, perhaps the biggest one is the Internet of Things; it’s the one that promises to give us the most disruption as well as the most opportunity in the coming years.

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