Special report: Harnessing IoT in the enterprise (free PDF)

This ebook, based on the latest ZDNet/TechRepublic special feature, looks at how the Internet of Things is enabling data analytics and automation in ways never before imagined in business.

From the ebook:

For enterprises, the Internet of Things (IoT) currently represents something of a double-edged sword. On the one hand there are manifold opportunities to boost the efficiency of products and services, create new revenue streams and reduce operational costs by connecting all manner of devices (‘things’) to the internet and analysing the data they generate. On the other hand, this is still an immature market in which architectures technologies, standards and vendors are all moving targets, making investment a risky business. In particular, security is a major worry when it comes to the IoT.

According to Gartner’s Nick Jones, the IoT will be a ‘long tail’ domain, with ‘things’ ranging from automotive subsystems and security cameras to Bluetooth beacons, smart garments, agricultural crop sensors and many more. In the near term, ‘consumerization’ will play an important role, and all sorts of smart devices will find their way into businesses, causing headaches for IT managers (say hello to ‘Bring Your Own Thing’, or BYOT).

Meanwhile, ‘official’ enterprise IoT deployments will concentrate on a relatively small number of use cases that can deliver demonstrable business value, says Jones. These include predictive maintenance (of HVAC systems, for example), energy saving in smart buildings, automatic replenishment (of anything from fuel tanks to beer kegs), vehicle fleet management and monitoring of assets and people.

Looking further ahead, the IoT clearly has the potential to be a major driver of digital transformation, enabling new business models based on widespread internet-connected devices and the resulting data streams. CIOs will need to keep an eye on such long-term prizes while extracting business value from today’s immature—and therefore somewhat confusing—IoT ecosystems.

What does today’s IoT market look like? In October last year, research/analyst firm Venture Scanner organised the 1,428 IoT startup companies it was tracking into 20 categories. These businesses were spread across 46 countries and had amassed a total of $25 billion in funding (as of January 2017, the numbers had risen to 1,544 IoT startups, 47 countries and $27bn).

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