TecFutures research into enterprise IoT has revealed six key trends that suppliers need to embrace to build lasting competitive advantage in their markets.
We will explore each in turn and you can see a more detailed assessment in our forthcoming report - Building Competitive Advantage in Enterprise IoT, available for soon for download at www.tecfutures.com.
Increasing competitive intensity
IoT CSPs fear a race to the bottom on prices in an increasingly competitive market. There are a vast number of connectivity providers active at present even though there are clear moves towards consolidation. Growth looks to be slowing as the market matures. Based on our recent TecFutures survey, CSPs expect to see growth of 6.5% in enterprise IoT connections in the next 12 to 24 months. In this context, CSPs can adopt strategy of being a specialist or generalist. What is clear is that differentiation and focus is key and a vanilla strategy will not result in long terms success.
Multiple connectivity technologies in the mix
There is no single technology that IoT CSPs believe will dominate over the next 12 to 24 months. Enterprises will be seeking a blended solution to their connectivity requirements across licensed and unlicensed technologies. Both LoraWan and SigFox appear in the top three when ranked for importance. Wi-Fi is the second most important connectivity technology overall. 5G clearly demonstrates a growing relevance and focus for IoT connectivity and satellite IoT is a relatively new contender in the IoT connectivity landscape and will complement a connectivity technology offering for applications in poorly covered connectivity areas. This is all driven by a wider set of IoT applications that are becoming viable, and a successful suppliers will offer a blended approach to enterprise connectivity requirements depending on their particular use case.
Inadequate understanding of security
Without robust end-to-end IoT security, the enterprise is extremely vulnerable and yet we see that it is not high up the list of enterprise requirements. Of course, the need for security does vary by industry vertical or use case, and becomes even more important as IoT applications proliferate. There are multiple points in an IoT deployment where vulnerabilities are high and enterprises need to recognize and act upon these. CSPs need to urgently educate the enterprise on the critical importance of security, both to existing users and those looking to adopt IoT solutions.
Leveraging adjacent technologies
Enterprises need to be confident to work with a range of different technologies adjacent to IoT to really drive digital transformation. They can have complex needs encompassing cloud connectivity, edge processing, AI, machine learning and digital twins, and these technologies are clearly high in enterprise thinking about their future IoT deployments. They have a strong need to integrate these technologies with their IoT applications to really gain maximum impact and whilst some enterprises have a clear understanding, others may need guidance. Suppliers need to support the in their technology deployments and help them to leverage these adjacent technologies to their advantage.
Importance of non-connectivity elements
We researched enterprise needs beyond connectivity and there were two services that they appeared most interested in. Providing sector-based solutions is the most important non-connectivity service that CSPs can offer, followed by effective on-boarding (focusing on efficiency and zero-touch). Sector based solutions tie in with the desire to see vertical market track record, a feature that emerges through-out our survey.
Delivering value for the enterprise
Enterprises deploy IoT solutions to deliver tangible business and competitive advantage. They are looking to enhance the their customers’ experience and improve workflow. Suppliers need to recognize what is driving the enterprise towards IoT and deliver this value through IoT solutions, so demonstrable understanding of the broader business case is essential. Equally important is to recognize enterprise pain points – lack of expertise and technical understanding, need to integrate multiple technologies and concerns around security. Guiding an enterprise through the design, build and implement process builds a strong relationship.
TecFutures is a leading independent research and advisory firm focusing on the enterprise experience of digital disruption and transformation technologies and helping suppliers to capitalize on market growth. We specialize in research-based consulting to support our clients’ tactical and strategic market decisions, identifying business opportunities for suppliers involved in the entire technology ecosystem. We can also provide tailored briefings on any of our reports. Visit www.tecfutures.com to find out how we can help.