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Will IoT Ever Grow up?

Anthony Sayers
By Anthony Sayers - February 5, 2019

SAG_Twitter_MEME_IoT_The_Peter_Pan_Jan19Despite the fact that Internet of Things technology has been absorbed into many aspects of our lives – from smart meters to fitness monitors and smart office buildings - many businesses are questioning what the IoT can do for them.

They still see it as a disruptive technology - young, unproven. So does this make IoT the Peter Pan of technology? If so, will it ever grow up?

To understand if IoT will ever truly “grow up” we first need to understand at what stage of the journey organizations are implementing IoT – and ensure we are aware of which direction they are planning to move.  So, is IoT maturing or will it remain forever young?

According to Gartner, there are five levels of IoT maturity that can be mapped across the seven dimensions of maturity, all of which are interconnected. This means that to progress between stages, all dimensions including fast data ingestion, contextual awareness, situational intelligence, predictive analytics, prescriptive analytics and intelligent action must be taken into consideration.

The five stages are as follows:

  1. Initiating
  2. Exploratory
  3. Defined
  4. Integrated
  5. Optimizing

At the moment, most businesses are situated anywhere between stage one and stage three. Most organizations have only just started connecting everything to one central system. This means that processes are no longer operating in siloed conditions, but that businesses are now focused on learning about what their environment is like – so that they can progress to eventually working in a more data-driven landscape.

However, this is starting to change and we are beginning to see companies navigating their way into stage four – a crucial step to achieving IoT maturity. Typically, companies are beginning to realize that they need to integrate their IoT projects into the company’s overarching strategies. This is the ultimate turning point in ensuring IoT “grows up” to create truly seamless, connected experiences.

It’s important to understand that IoT cannot be implemented in isolation. This is why integration is a key part of the IoT jigsaw puzzle. By creating a more integrated strategy, businesses will be able to reap the benefits of gaining insights from third party data, in addition to their own data.  Not only this, but a more integrated IoT model offers deeper time and trend-based analysis.

Once we are able to implement IoT successfully in this way, it will become engrained so seamlessly that we will stop noticing it as an add-on technology enabler. This is where we are beginning to see organizations transitioning; business models are starting to take both the predictive and prescriptive elements into consideration. This means connecting all data points to achieve a predictive maintenance strategy.

There’s no denying that we are currently positioned at a crossroads. Some organizations are still in the infant stages of making use of IoT, focused on ensuring everything is connected. Meanwhile, others are focused on developing a more integrated business model.

Ultimately, while we may describe IoT as the Peter Pan of technology now – having remained in its infancy for some time - there’s no escaping that, as businesses cross over into a more integrated space, it is possible for them to achieve true IoT maturity. The IoT will have well and truly grown up when it can be used seamlessly to solve real business problems.

This article first appeared in IoTNow: Will IoT ever grow up?

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