Internet of Things: walk before you can run

I came across this article posted on Forbes yesterday about the Internet of Things (IoT) and its crucial link with enterprise mobility.

It struck a chord with me because it states that before businesses can really harness the true power of IoT, they need the right foundations in place. The ‘right foundations’ being a powerful enterprise mobility platform, which is something that I truly agree with.

For those of you not familiar with the term ‘enterprise mobility’ – it’s the ability for employees to be able to interact with enterprise applications and the information stored within them, on any mobile device, at any location, at any time. By doing so, it ensures that employees are completely connected to the business while working outside of the office and can collect job data and report this back in real time. Online or Offline, on any modern mobile device , from smartphone to tablet to laptop. From Apple to Android to Windows.

This is crucial for remote workers who are not bound by a desk or an office.

I was surprised by the statistic that ‘80% of companies could not access their maintenance management software from a mobile device,’ since maintenance staff present one of the strongest use cases for enterprise mobility and IoT, especially within facilities management.

If employees don’t have access to their key software via mobile devices, how do companies expect IoT to improve their efficiency and service levels? It seems as though we are all caught up in IoT as a buzzword, with very few organisations actually having the infrastructure in place to harness its power.

An organisation with siloed workers and siloed applications is in no fit shape to implement an IoT strategy. If its workers aren’t connected in the first place, how will a device be able to communicate with them to carry out an action?

Imagine a warehouse containing industrial freezers. IoT sensors have been placed in each freezer to monitor temperature levels. If the temperature rises above a critical level, an alert is fired off. However if there is no mobile strategy in place, where does that alert go? What instructions are provided with that alert? If an engineer arrives, how will they quickly access the maintenance history of that freezer? If a new part is needed to fix the freezer, how will they request or order that part? How will they ensure that the job is invoiced? And so on…

They put it perfectly when they say, “The largest barrier to digital transformation may have nothing to do with connected things but connected people.”

It’s therefore essential that organisations learn how to walk before they can run and in the case of IoT, that means getting the right framework in place so that they can harness the full transformational power that this technology has to offer.

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