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By now, the internet of things (IoT) has become a familiar term for most. Amplified by the arrival of 5G and it’s potential, most businesses are already considering ways that they can implement the technology, and how it might benefit their business. Yet like any new technology, gathering practical information can seem like a minefield. Stefano Gastaut, Director of Vodafone Internet of Things (IoT), has put together five top tips to consider when planning your own IoT strategy.

 1. IoT isn’t only about disruption: it is essential for digital transformation

While over half of IoT adopters believe that IoT has completely disrupted their industry, it is also clear that it forms an integral part of the modern digital workplace. That is why it is an essential factor when trying to switch your organisation to a more digital mindset.

In fact, it is now so embedded in the core of enough businesses that 73% of adopters don’t believe it can be left to IT departments alone, with most believing the responsibility of IoT needs to span multiple departments. 

2. Integration is key

IoT integration with pre-existent business systems is the primary focus of most IoT adopters, regardless of their sophistication. It ranks higher than both expanding IoT projects or developing new ones. The more sophisticated the firm, the higher it ranks its integration priorities, which indicates a positive correlation between the two objectives.

The more integrated IoT is, the better position you will be to scale quickly and see improvements in business outcomes, as well as helping enable digital transformation.

IoT also shouldn’t be considered in isolation - almost 90% of most sophisticated adopters consider it alongside analytics, AI and cloud. And with more off-the-shelf solutions offering IoT, integrating it with core systems is easier than it ever has been.

3. Not one size fits all

Not all IoT solutions deliver the same outcomes, so a clear understanding of exactly what the business objective driving a specific IoT implementation becomes essential to guide you to the right applications.

Is the main objective to:

  • Drive efficiencies?
  • Improve customer experience?
  • Improve data delivery?
  • Improve reliability?
  • Reduce cost?

Whatever the aim, a flexible IoT infrastructure is essential – remember, not all IoT applications need to deliver a continuous stream of data, nor do all of them need to transfer large amounts of data. The flexible and varied nature of IoT might seem confusing, but the reality is that it gives you more options when seeking the best solution for your business.

4. Use AI to extract insights

It is becoming better known that IoT gives you access to an incredible amount of data, which can be used to improve your customer experience and drive better-informed business decisions. However, the volume and disparate nature of this data can make it almost impossible for a human to find meaningful correlations. This is where artificial intelligence comes into play – the most sophisticated adopters unanimously agree that it will be connected to their decision making.

AI can also help you better identify mission-critical data and distinguish between what you can and cannot delete, as well as unearth potentially useful information in the mundane. Flexible, cloud-hosted storage is recommended for this, as this enables easy scaling and accessibility for projects.

5. Earn your customers’ trust

With the general public interacting with IoT in more and more ways – from smart TVs to Alexa –concern around its security and how the data is being used has also increased.

While IoT can give you access to customer data on a granular level, it is essential to be as transparent as possible with how it is used, especially when it comes to data privacy issues. A robust IoT data management framework that will help with compliance issues is key, especially in the age of GDPR.

For more information on any of the above, take a look at the 2019 Vodacom IoT Barometer

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