By Albert Gibosse | Blue Label Weekly Magazine | Website
With the Internet of Things (IoT) spreading across all verticals, including the home and the enterprise, key industries are leading investments in the revolutionary technologies that are changing how we live and work.
Although others are quickly catching up, manufacturing, transportation, and utilities top the list of industries investing heavily in the Internet of Things.
IoT will fundamentally change how business and manufacturing will be done worldwide. IoT adoption has already reached over 43 percent of enterprises worldwide and has been identified as the next wave of internet technologies, and is expected to create hundreds of thousands of well-paying professional jobs.
Over $6 trillion will be invested in the consumer and industrial IoT markets, with industrial IoT leading the growth, by 2020.
Among the industries, thus far, manufacturing made the largest IoT investments – or $178 billion . Transportation followed, at $78 billion, and utilities comes in third, at $69 billion.
Good news! These investments represent just the start of this journey.
That being said, here are the top five industries that are leading IoT investments and adoption as well as valuable tips for how your enterprise can benefit:
IoT is evolutionary and emerges out of a history of using networked automation systems in industries such as manufacturing and transportation. As networking technology improves and advances in processing technology and sensors, monitoring and optimizing the use of physical assets extends to all industries.
IoT’s manufacturing origins continue, as the largest investments in the technology remain in that space, Middleton said. These investments fall into two categories: Inward facing (those concerned with optimizing systems and saving costs), and outward facing (those that make improvements in customer usage).
In terms of internal investments, manufacturers are using IoT to optimize their processes, monitor equipment, and do preventative and predictive maintenance on that equipment. Manufacturing operations was the IoT use case that saw the largest investment in 2016 across all industries, at $102.5 billion, according to IDC.
In the outward-facing arena, those in this industry use IoT devices to examine how their products are used by customers by maintaining a networked link to those products, and sampling usage data and sensor measurements. This way, manufacturers can analyze results and see broad patterns in terms of how the product is used, which can inform the next generation of the product, or help diagnose problems early.
The transportation industry has invested heavily in IoT and represents the second-largest IoT use case across all industries. Freight monitoring drives much of the IoT spending in this sector, at $55.9 billion in 2016, according to IDC,
Increasing numbers of freight and public transportation vehicles are equipped with sensors that help schedule maintenance, optimize fuel consumption, monitor operating or driving behavior for insurance purposes, digital data recorders that are programmed to take video samples under conditions of heavy acceleration that might be indicative of a serious traffic accident. That video could then be used in an investigation.
In the utilities industry, investments in the Smart Grid for electricity and gas totaled $57.8 billion in 2016, according to IDC. The case for electricity meters has power and makes a straightforward case– you don’t have to pay someone to read the meter.”
With the oil and gas industry being spread across large areas with lots of equipments (lots of pipes and valves and pressure gauges) to monitor, IoT solutions can prevent loss of revenues, help with predictive maintenance as well as with providing additional safety oversight.
Healthcare, which include medical machines that share images with a patient’s other caregivers, monitoring and troubleshooting problems with equipment, and real-time location systems that can track equipment, dispensation of medicine, and even staff and patients, is one of the industries that is expected to see the fastest spending growth in IoT.
IoT’s use in the healthcare field is very broad and includes advances in implants, prosthetics, and wearables also take advantage of IoT, streaming data back to medical providers. Connecting pacemakers and other medical devices to the internet benefits patients by reducing errors and providing more data to doctors to improve diagnosis and quality of care.
Granted IoT puts these devices at risk for cyber attacks, security should be part of the design requirements of the system.
Consumer electronics and cars
With digital assistants, such as the Amazon Alexa and Google Home becoming prominent, home and office automation systems have risen significantly making consumer IoT purchases the fourth-largest market segment toward becoming the third-largest segment by 2020. In the past year we’ve seen the rise of
Although digital assistants have gained popularity recently, it will be awhile before most people invest in fully connected homes and offices as the inertia of needing to buy a new refrigerator or home security system that has these capabilities, unless the old one breaks.
With connected vehicles being also an IoT industry leader in the consumer space, Cisco’s IoT connectivity management platform wasted no time and already hosts 8,500 enterprise customers worldwide — including General Motors – that utilize the platform to manage connectivity of 43 million IoT devices.
For example, every General Motors car produced today has IoT capabilities that allow drivers to gain diagnostic information and connect to the internet, among other features, Bui said.
Smart buildings are also predicted to rank among the top industry segments for IoT adoption throughout the next few years.
With every industry now investing in IoT, it’s imperative to ensure that these devices have strong security systems built in to prevent attacks like denial-of-service attacks from IoT devices that have been hijacked.
Although the cost of building a product that connects to a network continues to fall, architecting a low-cost product, such as a smart light bulb, still requires paying attention to network security, because it would be possible for an attacker to enter a network through that one inexpensive IoT device.
For companies beginning their IoT journey, “we recommend that operations or engineer departments strive to work more closely with IT departments,” Middleton said. “It will enable a more cohesive plan in the use of technology across a given enterprise, as opposed to having islands of usage where people don’t communicate and leverage best practices.”
Forming a team within your organization that coordinates the selection of technologies, considers possible use cases, shares best practices, and provides security oversight. This group can start with pilot projects, and use lessons learned from those to develop more detailed return on investment calculations and justify scaling up to a full initiative.