TCS: How to generate value from the Internet of Things

By Janet Brice
Overcome hurdles to take IoT beyond the experimental stage and leverage the technology for maximum investment, says a White Paper from TCS...

 Companies can take Internet of Things (IoT) beyond the experimental stage with a unified device managed platform and subscription management solution, according to a White Paper by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). 

The report looks at the hurdles for companies to overcome when adopting IoT systems. Although IoT has taken the industry by storm 60% of companies report they are finding it difficult to find the right IoT technology to fund. 

According to TCS concerns extend beyond initial implementation, to long-term sustainability and ways to monetise this emerging technology which will to maximise investments and achieve significant returns.

“As IoT evolves and becomes integral to the technology backbone across industries and sectors, this will prove critical to ensuring providers retain their differentiated market position and stand out ahead of competitors in the long-term,” outlines the White Paper entitled The Internet of Things: Maximising Efficiency and Value Generation.

Hurdles to overcome

Heterogeneous devices and networks coupled with a paucity of strategic partnerships are sighted as major hurdles to adopting IoT systems. According to TCS, IoT implementation can be recognised as having two major impact areas. 

First, it helps to drive bottom line growth by identifying areas of operational efficiency and cost optimisation. 

“This could lead to major savings, such as monitoring room occupancy to identify empty spaces in hospitals or to predict equipment breakdowns in manufacturing,” states TCS. 

“Several industry players have already explored a number of applications, however, given that these applications are limited to routine tasks (which would otherwise require manual intervention) measuring the Return on Investment (ROI) is the biggest challenge. 

“On top of that, any positive impact on the bottom line may be spread over an extended period after implementation, creating ambiguity around sustainability.”

First phase hurdles:

  • Identifying value-add for the end customer
  • Managing heterogeneous devices
  • Deriving the right set of actionable insights for future strategies 
  • Ensuring data security and user privacy aligns with latest mandates

Secondly, IoT can help introduce a new family of marketable services which could allow digital companies to become an orchestrator on the IoT value chain and reap profits. This stage allows companies to reach out to new-age customers. IoT products could range from smart doorbells to logistics drones and entire smart cities. 

Second phase hurdles:

  • Difficulty in integrating with partners and vendors 
  • Lack of adequate frameworks and managing service subscriptions

TCS reports that to overcome these challenges, enterprises need a set of key drivers at both stages. However, despite IoT devices and sensors gathering data, maximising the output remains a challenge in the absence of a robust technology backbone. 

Once a vision is clearly defined, a platform is required which can:

  • Reconcile and manage heterogeneous devices and protocols 
  • Integrate IoT nodes with other enterprise modules such as incident management 
  • Centralise configurations for all connected devices and network pathways 
  • Enable remote diagnostics and data backup or restoration 
  • Ensure transmission of voluminous data through secure channels 
  • Continuously monitor IoT devices and feed into real-time dashboards
  • Outcomes enabled through such a device management platform include: 
  • Seamless device integration and ease of management 
  • Consolidation and standardization of voluminous data flows 
  • A single source of information to power analytics 
  • Built-in report generation and dashboards to aid decision-making 

Companies that can introduce an IoT service bundle, mass personalising to individual customer requirements, will gain a definitive market advantage, claims the White Paper. 

This requires a solution which includes:

  • Subscription management for service activation, assurance and metering 
  • Accelerators to shorten the time-to-market 
  • Support during management of sales, customer onboarding and service activation 
  • Revenue models tailored to IoT offerings, leveraging unique revenue management approaches 
  • Partner management capabilities to simplify technology and IT service alliances 
  • Automated device management with capabilities to discover, activate, configure, and diagnose 
  • Data analytics to cross- or up-sell IoT services

Key to success

The path to progress is marked with several complexities and milestones. 

TCS concludes: “The key to success, therefore, lies in improved device management, tighter integrations with a wide network of partners and revenue or subscription models built for the as-a-service era. Finally, any solution employed must be industry agnostic (facilitating the broadest possible end customer base) and rapidly scalable.”

For more information on business topics in Asia Pacific, Australia and New Zealand, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief APAC.

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