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The Changing Landscape of Enterprise IoT: Moving Beyond Connectivity

At the Mobile Ecosystem Forum MEF Connects IoT Event in September 2023, Andrew Parkin-White of TecFutures explores why IoT suppliers need to move beyond connectivity to a more holistic and value-added approach. In discussion with Nassia Skoulikariti, MEF IoT Program Director, he shares the main findings of the free-to-download MEF / TecFutures report on Unlocking Value in Enterprise IoT.

In a fast-evolving tech landscape, the Internet of Things (IoT) has become a game-changer for businesses. However, it's important to understand that the IoT market is not just about connecting devices; it's about delivering real value to enterprises. In this blog, we'll explore the dynamic enterprise IoT market, its challenges, and why we should start thinking beyond connectivity.

Market Overview. The enterprise IoT market is booming, with projections of billions of connections in the coming years. However, it's not all smooth sailing. Two major challenges have emerged: increasing competitive intensity and a race to the bottom in terms of prices. Barriers to entry have diminished, intensifying competitive pressure, reducing prices and leading to consolidation in the market.

The Shifting IoT Landscape. IoT connectivity is the foundation, but enterprise needs stretch far beyond connectivity alone. Using technology for business advantage is a main driver for the adoption of IoT. Security is also a top concern, and businesses are looking to leverage adjacent technologies such as IoT, cloud, edge processing, AI and digital twins to drive digital transformation. The focus is on enhancing customer experiences, improving workflows, achieving digital transformation, and saving costs.

Challenges in IoT Projects. While there are successful IoT projects, there are also stories of failures. The main reasons behind these failures include a lack of expertise, the need to integrate multiple technologies, and underestimating the impact on existing processes.

Beyond Connectivity: What Enterprises Want. Enterprises are seeking more than just connectivity. They value sector-specific solutions, efficient device onboarding, robust security, remote device management, data analytics, and compliance with regulations.

Where Does This Leave CSPs? CSPs in the IoT ecosystem must adapt to the changing landscape. They can no longer rely solely on offering connectivity services. Instead, they need to expand their portfolios and focus on adding value to enterprises. The market is dividing into volume and value and CSPs are faced with three strategic choices – hyper-scaling, specializing or exiting the market.

Strategies for CSPs. CSPs can take several steps to stay competitive and meet enterprise needs. They should understand what drives enterprises, such as enhancing customer experience, achieving digital transformation, and saving costs. Recognize that IoT implementation is a business decision rather than a technology solution. There is also a need to categorize enterprises based on their sophistication and needs and tailor solutions accordingly.

Recognize Pain Points and Think about Onboarding Issues. Address the challenges enterprises face, including a lack of expertise, integration issues, and security concerns. Offer seamless onboarding, robust security, and lifecycle management services.

Differentiate and Become a Business Partner. Differentiation is key in a competitive market. CSPs must find new ways to stand out, offer specialization, and form strategic partnerships with enterprises.

The enterprise IoT market is evolving rapidly. CSPs need to go beyond providing connectivity and focus on delivering value to enterprises. By understanding enterprise drivers, addressing pain points, and offering comprehensive solutions, CSPs can thrive in this dynamic ecosystem. As the IoT landscape continues to transform, it's essential to adapt and stay ahead of the curve. The future of enterprise IoT is about more than just connecting devices; it's about shaping the future of businesses through innovation, differentiation, and strategic partnerships between enterprises and suppliers.

To learn more about the evolving IoT competitive environment, download the joint MEF and TecFutures report on Unlocking Value in Enterprise IoT for free here. Other IoT reports are also available.

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