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IoT an essential ingredient for digital transformation

March 24, 2022

Praveen Arora   

Vice President - Internet of Things (Business Unit), Tata Communications

In the new world of work, as enterprises reimagine their business strategy, new age technologies like IoT, AI, ML and others are setting the pace for a digital makeover. There is no escaping the deployment of IoT solutions for any enterprise. In this blog, Praveen Arora,  Vice President – IoT, Tata Communications highlights the importance of IoT across sectors and how technology must evolve.

To elevate customer experience, protect employees, and maintain operations all at the same time, IoT has proven to be an efficient and effective solution. From smart cities to smart manufacturing, IoT solutions have now tested the waters and gaining adoption across industries. In fact, investments in India were close to USD 5 Billion in 2019 and this is only set to grow at a CAGR of 17.1%

Integrated IoT platform

An increasing number of digital-first enterprises recognise IoT’s potential across all functions, to create better business outcomes. Enterprises are also moving beyond the integration of the technology to niche functions like supply chain management or production line automation. They are

conscious of deploying IoT across the value chain to create better efficiencies and looking for a holistic solution and not just a point solution to the device, or the network or application. They are looking at an integrated implementation or an integrated platform. Hence, it is vital for IoT to evolve and provide a full suite of solutions as a platform. It therefore comes as no surprise to know that McKinsey’s Global Institute predicts IoT will have an economic impact of between $4 trillion and $11 trillion by 2025!

A case in point is retail stores can leverage IoT to track footfalls and accordingly adjust the in-store conditions like temperature settings or energy, gas, and water consumption. Check-outs can be automated, preventing long queues and lost sales. Similarly, IoT can aid in smarter inventory management, reducing wastage and manual intervention in procurement. In sum, IoT will be a big game changer in maximising customer experience with optimised resource utilisation.

Redefining healthcare

“The onset of telemedicine that we saw with the pandemic was only the tip of the digital-healthcare iceberg.”

The exponential growth of IoT in healthcare is expected to rise to USD 188 billion in 2025, due to its abilities of tracking, identification and authentication, and data collection. The onset of telemedicine that we saw with the pandemic was only the tip of the digital-healthcare iceberg.

What if IoT sensors are able to monitor the Covid-19 infection spread? Identifying areas that are highly contaminated and geo-fencing them without any delay would reduce the transmission of the virus. These are the kind of predictive and proactive healthcare tools that we need to be future-ready. IoT will unveil a healthcare ecosystem with redefined patient care, doctor interactions and hospital management. For instance, medical equipment powered with IoT sensors will aid in effective remote patient monitoring. This will also result in significant reduction of hospital bills with lesser patient walk ins and be a big boon specially for the elderly. The data analysed from monitoring devices can enable medical experts consider the best suitable treatment routes. On the other hand, hospitals will be able to track, analyse and optimise the use of their inventories, assets, or logistics.

Enhancing remote work and employee safety

“Our frontline heroes from key sectors were running the show for the nation even during the peak pandemic times. This is where IoT can play an instrumental role in minimising the manual reliance.”

Municipalities are leveraging smart lighting solutions with minimised disruptions in service. IoT provisions for prompt servicing, centralised governance and orchestration of streetlights are spread across cities and this is picking momentum.

Similarly, IoT solutions can also make working environments safer for sectors like mining or power. For example, the vital parameters of workers equipped with smart wearables can be tracked in real-time. In case of any anomaly noted with an employee, real-time alerts to the response team for swift action and timely help preventing a mishap.

Transforming Global supply chain

“Going forth, enterprises need to reimagine human dependence on supply chain management to ensure employee safety.”

Supply chain management was one of the earliest use cases identified for IoT, yet its adoption was slow. With Government-mandated limitations on resources and logistics, IoT-backed automation was the only oil that keep factories running. Going forth, enterprises need to reimagine human dependence on supply chain management to ensure employee safety. IoT will help enable this, while ensuring that economies of scale are achieved, with multiple benefits like predictive maintenance of assets and raw materials or smooth management of inventory and logistics. Asset tracking solution (ATS) is quickly evolving as one such solution to provide a unique asset management system that allows enterprises to track their assets in real time. So, a distributed asset with limited mobility like heavy construction equipment, is geo-tracked remotely, preventing unauthorised movement. Even the health parameters of the equipment can be monitored so one can stay at a competitive edge with reduced unplanned downtime.

Reducing emissions

“Increased IoT adoption means more data being sent to the cloud for storage and computing, and therefore additional energy consumption.”

To curb this, enterprises need to deploy edge computing capabilities on their IoT networks. Data processing at the edge reduces latency and strain

on bandwidth, with faster analysis and insights-generation. Edge computing can also help in predictive monitoring of the manufacturing process to restrain hazardous emissions or cut down on wastage. For example, heavy industries like steel, chemicals or cement contribute an enormous amount of carbon footprint. IoT sensors have the capability of monitoring the possible imprint and reducing them at source.

This is the best time for future-proof enterprises to identify where they stand in their IoT journey and fill the required gaps to create value for their stakeholders. Going forward, IoT platforms will become more complex, as they have to work in tandem with other disruptive technologies like AI, edge computing or 5G connectivity to create even more path-breaking use cases. The right digital ecosystem enabler, having a multi-tech expertise, can enable enterprises streamline these processes to unlock improved profitability and productivity.

For more information on this, read this blog on How eSIM Hub helps enterprises with management of IoT applications