It's 2017 and Internet of Things (IoT) continues to be a buzz; appearing frequently in almost every news article regarding technology trends, digital transformation and the next "industrial revolution". However, behind the seemingly robust industry boom, rates of IoT adoption across ASEAN seems to be at a more conservative level.
Enterprises and organisations are cautious of adopting IoT for various reasons, and it is important for solution providers to understand these gaps in order to address enterprises' challenges and bring IoT to a wider reach.
Arguably the second-most popular buzzword, security issues have been the top concerns of any digital, connected projects out there. 2016 was a "year of hack" around the world, from the (alleged) hacking of the US elections, US $81 million stolen from Bangladesh Bank, and hacking of airports and banks in Vietnam. All these issues raise the concern of the security of enterprises putting up sensitive information about their business in the cloud, where IoT devices without basic security functions can be hacked within minutes.
Ensuring cyber security is crucial for businesses when they decide whether or not to migrate into the cloud and rely on technologies for operations and sensitive information.
Cost is another big concern for enterprise IoT adoption, especially in the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in ASEAN. Many of the IoT product offerings currently pose a challenge for SMEs to adopt, especially when the benefits are usually seen in the long run rather than short-term. This is especially apparent in emerging economies like Myanmar, where despite the high potential for enterprise ICT/IoT adoption, the high cost of digital products still poses a challenge to the local companies, prompting them to either seek foreign investments, collaborate, or find localised products that are more affordable - prompting local system integrators and distributors to be active in helping to grow the local markets.
This also prompts another important issue of having a strategic planning when it comes to digitisation and using IoT, in order to cut upfront costs while still benefiting from the new technologies.
Sustainable investments & developments
As the IoT buzz continues to ride the waves of publicity, especially from big names like Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM, Oracle, Microsoft and Google, enterprises should avoid jumping on the bandwagon without understanding the actual benefits and what IoT can bring to the table. A Bain & Company survey found that 59% of global companies believe they lack the capabilities to generate meaningful business insights from data, while another survey had 85% of respondents saying that they will require substantial investments to update their existing data platform - which can be costly and time-consuming.
Understanding the challenges that the businesses and enterprises face will be crucial for solution providers to offer not only products for the sake of having products, but also be able to offer their clients advice on strategies and plans of how to apply IoT successfully and strategically - depending on each company's needs and requirements.
Businesses in ASEAN comprise many young, robust and innovative enterprises hoping to use technologies to differentiate, expand and produce with high efficiency and productivity. Addressing the pain points and challenges of technologies will allow solution providers and businesses to have better understanding of each other, and help the ASEAN IoT market to reach new heights.
What is the top challenge that your company is facing with regards to technologies/IoT adoption?