Connecting anything – machines, devices, gadgets, and even people or animals – to the world wide web is a simple way to define the Internet of Things (IoT) concept. Since these “things” are able to communicate by sending and receiving data via an internet connection, even without human interaction after a point, the possibilities for IoT to impact our day-to-day lives are endless.
Given the huge potential of its applications to businesses, it is perhaps not a big surprise that IoT has in recent years quickly grown from a creative idea, which was difficult to comprehend, to the main focus for lots of companies. Here’s how enterprise IoT is evolving.
Growth in IoT
According to a forecast by Gartner, Inc, over 20 billion connected things will be in use worldwide by 2020. This prediction equates to a growth of more than 3 times the 6.4 billion units recorded in 2016. In geographical terms, the three regions of North America, Western Europe and Greater China are together driving the use of connected things and account for 67% of the total IoT installed base.
The consumer segment is the larger user versus business, with the former owning 4 billion (63%) of those connected things in 2016 and the latter accounting for the rest. Growth in the consumer and business segments is predicted to occur at the same rate, such that 12.9 billion (63%) out of the total 20.4 billion units owned in 2020 will be by consumers.
Yet, the number of business-owned connected things is forecast to grow most rapidly in the number targeted at cross-industry devices, such as those LED lights, HVAC and physical security systems aimed at smart buildings. Applications tailored to vertical-specific businesses, such as process sensors for electric plants, field devices in manufacturing and real-time location devices for healthcare (in addition to smart meters), are meanwhile predicted to grow at a much lower rate. This prediction amounts to cross-industry and vertical-specific devices accounting for 4.4 billion and 3.2 billion units respectively in 2020, compared to the figures of 1.1 billion units and 1.3 billion units recorded in 2016.
Spending on IoT
Although consumers own more connecting things than businesses, it is the latter who spend more on devices in total. Business spending on IoT amounted to $0.85 trillion (61%) of the total $1.38 trillion across industry and consumers in 2016. This gap in spending is predicted to decrease though, as consumers purchase increasingly more expensive connecting things, such that spending by business will amount to just $1.43 trillion (49%) of the total $2.93 trillion in 2020. Consequently, the Internet of Things is no longer just hype, but it is now regarded, according to PwC’s Global Digital IQ® Survey, as one of the most important technologies to invest in.
What does the rise of enterprise IoT mean for your business?
IoT solutions provide new opportunities for every business. You can simply collect more data, gain greater insights into your own operations, and eventually save time and money by optimising them. What’s more, the Internet of Things can be used in different industries.
Still, there are a few sectors that can benefit from this concept in particular. According to the Boston Consulting Group, by 2020 almost half of overall spending on IoT is expected to be driven by manufacturing, as well as transportation. Forbes Insights and Intel also add healthcare to the list – and the use cases within all these industries have truly been remarkable.
If you’re involved in any of those sectors, you could use IoT solutions to:
- Address challenges in quality and productivity with real-time insights for every machine,
- Optimise manufacturing processes,
- Control engine health and manage your fleet and its performance,
- Reduce fuel consumption and vehicle maintenance costs,
- Checking on patients at all times,
- Oversee the condition and location of medical equipment.
The list goes on, especially with interconnected devices and powerful IoT solutions being implemented across industries these days. IoT applications clearly have a promising future – and it might be high time to take advantage of them and transform your business.