Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

IoT on cusp of explosion in Canada, says Telus

Iain Morris
July 17, 2014
The Internet of Things (IoT) is on the cusp of an explosion in Canada, according to a new survey from telecoms operator Telus, with annual IoT spending in the country set to rise from just $5.6 billion in 2013 to around $21 billion in 2018.

Although just 6% of Canadian businesses have currently rolled out IoT services, another 7% are preparing to deploy them in 2014 and an additional 30% intend to make use of IoT technology over the next two years, according to the survey, which was produced in collaboration with market-research company IDC.

“The Internet of Things can fundamentally alter the way Canadian companies do business and we expect a sharp spike in growth as business leaders embrace the technology,” said Jim Senko, senior vice-president of small business and emerging markets for Telus (Vancouver, Canada). “We’re currently working with companies of all sizes to help them understand the potential of IoT and developing solutions that transform how they operate, making them more productive and profitable.”

Telus says that while “first-generation” IoT technology is more widespread in the utility and transportation sectors, where companies have been making use of applications like remote monitoring and fleet tracking for more than a decade, recent advances in wireless networks and cloud computing will spur M2M adoption in the manufacturing, oil and gas, healthcare, retail, financial services and healthcare sectors.

“We have customers across a wide range of industries using IoT,” said Senko. “We are implementing applications in the financial services industry with wireless connectivity for ATMs, in the oil and gas industry with lone-worker safety solutions and remote monitoring of field equipment, and in retail with wireless point-of-sale devices and smart interactive digital displays.”

Telus says IoT can be employed to reduce costs, automate business processes and improve services, speeding up delivery times in the transportation sector, for instance, or leading to better patient care in the healthcare industry.

One example the operator provides is of Arrow Transportations Systems, a Vancouver-based trucking and distribution company that has used IoT technology to monitor location as well as mechanical and driver safety data.

“Transportation is a business with high variable costs [and] when Telus connected our fleet with an IoT solution we immediately realized savings of 8% on fuel costs alone,” said Mitchell Zulinick, Arrow Transportation’s chief operating officer. “By collecting and acting on data in real time, we're able to provide better service to our customers and realize enough direct savings for the solution to completely pay for itself.”

Despite the potential of IoT, only 13% of current projects are considered to be “transformational”, meaning they fundamentally change business processes, says Telus.

However, IDC expects the number of transformational projects to rise over time as business leaders recognize the possibilities of IoT and learn from pilot projects.

The survey covered 209 medium-sized and large (that is, with more than 100 employees) Canadian organizations and was carried out between March and April 2014.
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