Leandro Balbinot, SVP Global IT & Chief Information Officer, H.J. Heinz Company
Critical Areas that Need to be Addressed for M2M and IoT Markets to Flourish
In my opinion, the critical factor for M2M and IoT to reach the expected growth and really revolutionize the industry is the ability to find the technical insights to transform the user experience and field operations.
The fact that we can virtually get every device connected is great and appealing, but if the technology is made available just for the sake of having the device connected without bringing a practical benefit to the user, something that they would not even suspect they could do with the device. I have seen different use cases recently but they seem to be much more focused on promoting the technology then really innovating and bringing real benefits to the users. Another critical factor is the cost. For many industries it is not feasible to use connected devices as the investment of implementation on the field is still too high.
Industries with Biggest Potential for M2M
The industry that has more conditions to leverage M2M is the consumer electronics, as they can embed the technology on their finished goods and get the ability to interact with the consumer through their products. Receiving data about how the consumers use your products is a great competitive advantage and a source of information to drive innovation.
People are still figuring out what are the opportunities that M2M and IoT can unveil. But virtually all the industries have conditions to benefit, as we can have factories productivity, logistics operations and retail store operations measured and monitored in a level never thought before.In logistics operations, we could mention the possibility to track the products from the factory to the shelf and monitor productivity in all the steps of the process.
In the production side, the opportunity to have all the factory equipment connected feeding real time information without the need to implement local network and cabling could raise the operational efficiency to another level.
The Future of M2M
The real-time access of information, straight from the machine utilization has the potential to transform the industry. When the scale reduces the cost of implementation and process benefits increase the margins, business cases will become positive and utilization will grow exponentially.
Also when the technical insights are identified, the middleware solutions get robust enough and the success cases become more and more public, M2M and IoT will become a cstandard for process monitoring, interaction with consumers and for productivity and control of any operation. Virtually any business will be impacted by this technology in the coming years and on-device intelligence and connectivity will transform every operation and every interaction with consumers.
The Weakest Link in M2M
Currently I believe that the weakest link is still the communications piece. Communications Service Providers have improved the coverage and ways to bill for this type of communication, but it is still a bottleneck. While building a business case to implement M2M, connectivity availability and communications infrastructure combined with the ongoing costs are the main blocking factor to approve a project.Next to that, the availability of solutions that really leverage the benefits of M2M is pretty limited. To be able to benefit from the technology, a company will most of the time have to build an in-house solution. Platforms are becoming more available and this is an important step to utilize M2M and IoT, but a great level of customization is still needed.
Internet of Things, Cloud and Big Data: The Role for M2M
IoT has brought another level of connectivity by allowing an IP-enabled device to interface data with a cloud platform. It allows cheaper, low-energy devices like sensors to connect to a cloud platform. The amount of use cases increases considerably by using IoT instead of M2M. If you integrate an IP-enabled device with a cloud platform and feed the massive data from all the devices into a Big Data capable solution, the analytical capabilities of a company can grow exponentially together with the amount of insights.
From M2M to Internet of Things: The Emerging Trends and Opportunities in 2015
The demand is clearly increasing for IoT. From products already in the market like fitness bands and smart watches to industrial utilization like smart thermostats and meters, the increase in the scale for the semi-conductor industry is allowing them to build cheaper sensors, increasing the scope of utilization to other products that are more cost sensitive. At a cheaper price and with more success cases, solutions will become available and IoT will definitively become a serious way of business to find opportunities for productivity, profitability and consumer insights.