There was an interesting session at Mobile World Congress yesterday on the many enterprise applications of the Internet of Things, and challenges and barriers to their adoption. Unsurprisingly, high cost and security issues remain primary barriers to installing IoT networks for business purposes. But there’s no doubt that the enterprise IoT market is growing. The Business Insider report hyperlinked above notes that the enterprise sector is the largest for IoT, ahead of consumer and government, and spending on enterprise IoT products and services will reach $255 billion globally by 2019, up from $46.2 billion in 2013.
From our perspective, we’ve seen certain front-runner applications in different industries that will pave the way for others on the horizon:
- Oil and Gas – Use cases of IoT (industrial Internet of Things) networks in the oil and gas industry are well documented, from remote condition monitoring to advancing the latest extraction techniques. Other IoT applications we’ve seen include operation automation for systems, components and devices; remote control of different parts of the grid or specific oil pads; broadband communications and monitoring of the environment around offshore oil platforms to ensure compliance with EPA regulations; real time video monitoring and surveillance; and preventative maintenance reporting. This is just the tip of the iceberg. We predict that given this industry’s size and global importance, many IoT applications have yet to be conceptualized and will make their debut in oil and gas.
- Agriculture – We know a farmer in the Pacific Northwest who uses our equipment to monitor his hundreds of acres of crops. Through knowing the exact moisture level of every acre of his land, he is able to conserve water by only watering when and where it is absolutely necessary. As 70 percent of the world’s total water withdrawal is used for agriculture, increasing irrigation efficiency on a global scale would have a tremendously positive effect on every farmer’s livelihood and our planet’s ability to feed itself.
- Retail – A component of IoT, radio frequency identification (RFID), has been used in the retail sector for years. Originally, it was marketed as a technology to increase supply-chain efficiency, but in their experimentation with RFID, retailers found an even more useful application. Now is RFID’s big-bang moment as its ability to wirelessly communicate inventory accuracy allows retailers to create a truly omnichannel shopping experience, helping brick-and-mortar stores competing with ecommerce sites. By knowing when to replenish a particular color and size of a shirt, for example, retailers won’t lose out on an in-store sales opportunity. Of course, clothing chains aren’t the only businesses that have suffered since the advent of online shopping. If RFID reverses this tide, then it’s a good bet that other businesses in the same boat can take a page from Macy’s book.
Are there any enterprise applications of IoT you’ve seen in practice? Be sure to tell us in the comments below. If you’re in Barcelona, come chat with us at Stand 7B41 in Hall 7, and find out how our technology fits into existing and future enterprise networks.