How IoT Brings Digital Transformation to Key Functions, without the Pain of “Disruption”
Posted by on July 23, 2017 8:00 pm
By: Max Silber, VP of Mobility, MetTel
Technology leaders are always extolling the newest innovations that can disrupt prevailing industries and business models. The latest craze is artificial intelligence (AI) and not long before that, businesses were excited by the potential of 5G. Everyone should be talking about the power of wireless connectivity and IoT to revolutionize industries. This is part of the digital transformation, which is a major focus for all industries. While moving to a software defined IT architecture and cloud environment is addressing major business challenges, rising adoption of IoT and wireless helps organizations implement changes easier, faster and with a new approach to connect disparate business solutions. (Yes, I am hearing the intro to Star Trek in my head as I re-read this.) History is proof that the tech world has a knack for thinking big and talking bigger.
It is verifiable that some things don’t get talked about enough. Sometimes in our zeal to bring the latest and greatest technology to market, the real business impact and/or specific business functions unintentionally get overlooked. This is especially true when there is no standardized manner or protocol yet in existence for these technologies. (Think 5G or IoT.)
The dirty secret to most industries are the things that happen behind the curtain. How does Amazon get you all those products the next day? Why do those ads within our Gmail accounts seem to reflect our preferences? How are companies that rely on factories and manufacturing facilities digitizing their businesses to stay ahead of the competition? The answer is most aren’t yet tapping into new technologies that can address this issue, but a select few are and now IoT offerings are resolving existing business challenges, like silos. IDC anticipates that IoT technologies will be materially affecting the way that all companies manage their supply chains by 2020—with estimations that the IoT market will reach $1.7 trillion.
Today we announced MetTel’s IoT Single SIM—the first of its kind that automatically connects to the strongest signal, ensuring the most bars available anywhere in the world. Now we can celebrate a new technology that is more than disruptive hype—it’s practical innovation. By the way, disruption sounds cool, if you’re the disrupter. For all those companies who need to throw out their current way of doing business and scrap all related investments, disruption can be well, very disruptive to business. Looking at that way, improving existing business flow can be transformative, if not as sexy as disruption—but a lot less painful.
IoT Single SIM helps answer a number of annoying, yet important questions: How do we get all of our “things” on the same network? How can we be sure of connectivity if our carrier isn’t represented in a specific area? How do we know if our supply chain is working to peak efficiency and where the bottlenecks are?
This is exciting because we are solving a very specific and crucial business need. We’re providing companies with real-time, always-on wireless connectivity, regardless of the device, network, equipment or carrier. We’re also allowing customers to tap into the IoT ecosystem, which ensures that we’re making the previously invisible, visible and making sure things that are connected stay that way!
So, why is this important and why you should care? As an example, lets look at supply chain management. This space has experienced more than a few challenges. By various perspectives, IoT can transform traditional supply chain management to achieve unprecedented efficiencies by automating and closely coordinating supply, stocking, shipping and everything in between, which largely removes the need for human intervention and potential for human error.
Some companies are effectively implementing wireless or IoT solutions to impact supply chain issues, according to an IDC report the impact of IoT on a company’s operations inevitably will vary. In one example, IDC predicts that by the end of 2018, digitally connected processes will drive 15 percent productivity improvements for manufacturing supply chains. Companies like Tyson, which uses IoT to connect to grocery stores and provide data and connection to customers, use it to ensure inventory is accurately stocked, shipped and tracked. DHL has implemented IoT technology to change the way it manages delivery, communicates with customers and provides business insight.
To add some more color to this, a recent survey by GT Nexus and Capgemini found that 70 percent of retail and manufacturing companies have already started a digital transformation project in their supply chain and logistics operations. Although, this isn’t as sexy as, let’s say, the next version of the iPhone, the backend technology really is because it’s dramatically changing the way enterprises do business—efficiently and cost-effectively. These digital transformations are overhauling a company’s ability to save operational costs (such as inventory, fuel costs for shipping, product recalls/errors, etc.) across the board. The conversions are providing visibility into functions previously working in disparate departments and often managed in isolation.
With IoT technologies, supply chains can put their focus on the customer because their systems are ‘talking’ to each other in real-time and leveraging a network of sensors that lets them know when to re-stock, ship, sell, and so on. The transformation allows a company provide faster, more accurate materials to customers. Simultaneously, company’s can connect to existing ERP solutions and access/analyze data like never before.
There are all kinds of powerful ERP, CRM, digital marketing and procurement solutions. Most companies have a mix of these solutions, but many are moving towards adding sensors, RFIDs and more technology. It is exciting to know that we’re solving a lot of the issue and angst that goes with these tools and solutions.
We’re now able to provide more capabilities, with a simpler solution and our IoT Single SIM is an example. We’re already experiencing tangible impacts from this technology.
- In healthcare, we transformed an assisted living facility that had been struggling with it’s mobility issues for years. Within one week, we changed the way they added devices to networks, connected disparate teams and even changed the way residents were connecting with the staff.
- In consumer packaged goods, we’re working with a major packaged goods player that is able to track, stock and carry inventory in a way that’s providing significant cost savings.
- In energy, we’re seeing their outdated industry be able to offer new services, consolidate/rethink efficiencies, etc.
Regardless of your industry there is an inescapable truth. Companies must digitize to grow. The evolution and transformation doesn’t have to be disruptive and painful. When it comes to thinking of the latest and greatest technologies, sometimes it’s taking an older concept, applying new technology—like the IoT to revive it by making it new again. IoT is indeed a transformative agent. And Single SIM makes it practical and therefore, useful.