The IoT market is a great barometer for how human interaction with machines and information continues to evolve. Its progress is everywhere you look too, touching nearly all market areas and businesses at every stage. While 2018 was a milestone year for IoT adoption, the trends we’re seeing across our industrial customers indicates more growth, sophistication and traction is just around the corner.
Some of the main factors driving this momentum includes:
More industrial companies are turning to mixed edge and cloud solutions for their IoT deployments
Industrial companies have typically rejected the cloud in favor of on-premise technology to meet their stringent security requirements. However as more companies familiarize themselves with the cloud and what it is capable of, trust will build throughout the industrial sector, with many businesses even preferring cloud solutions. As confidence grows, these organizations will also harness the power of the cloud mixed with edge computing to improve operations and increase ROI.
Currently people think of cloud and edge as two separate entities, but there are many advantages to layering edge computing into cloud workflows. As the option to distribute processing power becomes more widely known, companies will be able to pick a solution for their unique business needs more easily – oftentimes, it will be a multi-tiered approach.
For example, a large manufacturer might leverage server-class equipment on their factory floor to aggregate information and make decisions before contacting the cloud. While a company with a small fleet of trucks might use a gateway device that is meant to handle a lower number of endpoints. In an extreme example, a company might even run logic directly on a sensor. No matter where an organization falls on the edge-to-cloud spectrum, it’s important that they choose a computing approach that best fits their business needs in order to gain competitive advantage.
IIoT pilots are disappearing as more companies jump into initial deployments
Many organizations enter into an IoT pilot to test a technology’s ability to provide the anticipated results that would make it worthwhile to move on to a full deployment. While this was necessary in the past, these technologies have matured to a point where there are many successful proof points in the field. In fact, there is a risk associated with entering into a pilot because organizations rarely progress to a full implementation and miss out on tangible benefits as a result. According to the World Economic Forum, 71 percent of industrial organizations reported being stuck in limbo during their IoT pilot phase in 2018.
A pilot can become mired in a state of uncertainty for a variety of reasons. Some don’t have the needed support from upper management, others bite off more than they can chew making it near impossible to scale, and others fail to identify a clear business objective before beginning. These potential pitfalls are leading more organizations to skip pilot phases and jump straight to an initial deployment. Regardless of how companies introduce IoT to their digital strategy, it is still important that they carefully consider what they want to achieve with the technology before getting started.
IoT applications are becoming widely available, leading to a democratization of IoT
IIoT platform vendors are realizing that a single software platform will not work for all customers due to the unique nature of each business. As a result, these vendors are embracing services and offering IoT applications through partnerships with leading cloud service providers, such as AWS or Azure.
This approach offers a lot of incentive for IoT platform vendors. First, this collaboration allows IoT platform vendors to leverage the software and R&D of cloud providers. Second, it ensures customers get the built-in security, higher availability, and greater scale they demand. Partnering with cloud providers also helps a vendor expand their sales presence by connecting them to more customers. In fact, it won’t be very long until IIoT service revenue eclipses product revenue.
With more IoT applications becoming available via cloud providers, businesses in many industries will be able to add IoT with a click of a button. This will result in more standardization in the collection of data as well as how it is processed, significantly reducing time to value.