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IoT: More than just hype

22 Nov 2016

Businesses are being advised to not treat the Internet of Things as just hype – rather, it should be considered a key piece of an organisation’s digital transformation journey. 

That’s the word according to NETSCOUT, who says the IoT can deliver ‘significant value’ when it comes to competitive advantage. 

“The key business value of IoT is the insight and efficiencies that can be gained as a result of the communication between the increasing number of connected devices and other internet-enabled devices and systems,” explains Amit Rao, director – APAC channels, NETSCOUT.

“However, it’s important to remember that not every connected ‘thing’ will add value,” he says.

“This is why many industries have tried to make a distinction between consumer IoT and industrial IoT, which is solely focused on improving operational efficiency and business models,” says Rao. 

“Industrial IoT includes things like machine learning and sensors that provide actionable intelligence,” he explains. “Using this intelligence and existing machine-to-machine (M2M) technology, industrial IoT provides business value by increasing data accuracy and consistency.” 

According to Rao, industries like manufacturing and infrastructure began this transformation long ago and it is beginning to take hold in other sectors. 

“Organisations in these sectors have realised they can save time and money by eliminating inefficiencies in their business models while increasing their visibility into core business functions,” he says. 

“With this new intelligence, many organisations can optimise or even fundamentally change their business model to adapt to new opportunities and swings in consumer demand.”

Five ways businesses can take advantage of IoT, according to NETSCOUT:

1. Understand the risks.  Increasing IoT technology in the business does not come without risk, says Rao.

“As businesses begin to seek the benefits of IoT, they should expect an increase in IT complexity and security risks as well,” he says. 

“This increased risk includes concerns such as operational disruption and a lack of service assurance. The key for organisations beginning to capitalise on the potential of IoT is to be able to pinpoint the root cause of performance issues across the entire network and decrease the time it takes to resolve performance issues,” Rao explains.

2. Gain visibility.  According to Rao, the key challenge of enabling a successful digital transformation strategy that includes both IoT and service assurance is having a true and complete understanding of all the moving parts of the enterprise in one clear snapshot with context and actionable intelligence. 

“This visibility can’t be limited to one area of the enterprise; it must include everything from finance to ERP, CRM, social, and IoT,” says Rao.

“Once visibility is established across the entire network, the IT team must embrace continuous monitoring of traffic-based data and real-time analysis to provide a transparent and holistic view that supports the new or updated business models being developed using IoT and other technology improvements,” he explains.

3. Avoid deceleration.  “With an understanding of the risks involved and actionable intelligence provided by comprehensive and real-time visibility, organisations can use IoT to improve the business model,” Rao says.

Rao says the challenge is avoiding a deceleration in business velocity. 

“To avoid this, organisations should look at data coherence and service assurance. The IT team needs a deep understanding of the relationships and interdependencies of the service delivery environment to diagnose whether client services, servers, application environments, or the network infrastructure is causing a service performance problem,” he explains.

4. Plan to scale.  Rao says digital transformation and IoT is growing exponentially and will continue to drive more connections between people, machines, data, and processes. 

“As such, an organisation’s digital transformation strategy must be able to scale as the network surface continues to grow along with the business itself to accommodate business velocity and agility acceleration at any level,” he says.

“There’s little doubt that the IoT is having a major impact on business and dismissing it means that organisations will be left behind,” Rao adds. 

“By undergoing the business transformation that empowers organisations to have a holistic view of all technologies and data points, organisations will have a higher chance of overall success.”

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