As it turned out, the answer was much simpler. 451 Research had defined enterprise IoT as using smart devices and sensors to gather data to assist with business operations and deliver new insights. However the device types included:
- Datacenter IT equipment (51 percent)
- Camera and surveillance equipment (34 percent)
- Datacenter facilities equipment (33 percent)
- Smartphones and other end-user devices (29 percent)
Is this definition too broad for enterprise IoT?
While we know that the advent of IoT will require new datacenter capabilities, should we consider it an "IoT device"? On the flipside, is there merit to considering it from the end user perspective- as long as they are gathering data for useful business outcomes, can it be labelled as IoT?
It came as no surprise though, that the top business outcomes that enterprises were using the data for were:
- Risk reduction. 66% of the surveyed enterprises focused on risk management. For instance, oil companies are starting to use drones to inspect oil rigs, which can be a dangerous task for humans to perform.
- Optimize operations. 63% used IoT solutions to increase efficiencies. E.g. manufacturers can use sensors to gather data about machines on their assembly line to predict when they might fail, and fix them prior to experiencing any downtime.
- Develop new or enhance existing products. 33% used IoT to differentiate their product from the competition. An example would be car companies that are putting cellular data connections into their cars to gather data about them and provide Wi-Fi hotspots for passengers.
- Enhance customer targeting. 21% leveraged IoT solutions to gain insights on how to build stronger customer relationships. A good example of this would be a retailer that uses in-store beacons to target customers with real-time offers sent to their smartphone based on their location in the store.
These business outcomes are important in any any digital transformation project. Should we then relax definitions of IoT, focusing instead on the use of technology in moving enterprises up the value chain?
It is no doubt that enterprises will be the top adopter of IoT solutions since it will help lower operating costs, increase productivity, allow for expansion into new markets, shorten products time to market among other benefits.
Business Insider projects that enterprise investment in IoT technologies will skyrocket from $215 billion in 2015 to $832 billion in 2020, and new use cases for IoT technologies will further validate this development over the next few years.
How can we help Southeast Asian enterprises get ready to benefit from the business outcomes brought about by IoT? Will having more discussions focusing on the business challenges that can be solved by IoT be useful?
Join us at our series of Asia IoT Business Platform events to find out more about what enterprises need in their IoT journey.