Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Time to stop doing things wrong if IoT is to meet expectations

Steve Rogerson
November 7, 2018

The benefits of IoT have been exaggerated and the difficulties under-estimated, according to Annie Turner  (pictured) from IoT Now Transportation, speaking at last week’s Advantech IoT Co-Creation Summit in Suzhou, China.
“We got excited about IoT and jumped up and down,” she said, “but things went wrong. This has led to some very public failures. It is a noisy, confused market with more than 500 IoT platform available.”
An example of one of the public failures, she said, was in the UK where the government spent £11bn on installing smart meters in people’s homes but these did not work if householders changed suppliers.
“The smart meter turns into a brick with your new supplier,” she said.
She was also critical of the new ecosystem model for IoT.
“There is no-one in charge and that puts off customers,” she said. “They don’t know where to start. You have to do a lot of bespoke stuff and one of the things you have to do is scale.”
She said there were too many technologies and a shortage of available skills. And it was difficult for businesses to understand how it applied to them.
“IoT companies are forgetting the number one rule and that is being easy to do business with,” she said. “We need to take a step backwards and spend time and energy educating people about what IoT can do. You need to think about what you need to achieve.”
She said that companies needed to specify how the relationships between partners in the ecosystem worked and remove the complexity.
“On the good side, costs are falling and that’s always cheery,” she said. “You need replicable templates and processes. We need more success stories because that cheers everyone up. The more case studies you get out there, the better.”
She said that 5G was going to be a challenge. “That is blindingly obvious,” she said. And she took a swipe at analysts, calling for people to stop counting the number of connected devices.
“People don’t care,” she said.
And she said it was important to start thinking of IoT as an embedded part of the business.
Jash Bansidhar (pictured below), sector head for industrial IoT at Advantech, described Europe as a very complex place to do business, with many different ways of doing things and different regional customs.
He said that though Eastern Europe had only ten per cent of European business, Advantech was investing there. It was also putting more people into the UK as Brexit would mean adopting a different approach.
“Even though it is one continent, it is a complex situation for business,” he said.
On the industrial front, there were more than two million factories in Europe.
“Advantech has 400 people in Europe, so we need to address that,” he said. “So we have built a partner network with 75 partners. This means the core sales team of Advantech can concentrate on the big guys, especially in automotive. The automotive manufacturing sector is a frontrunner in IoT. They are bringing innovation for Industry 4.0.”