Summary: IoT has disrupted both consumer and industrial sectors across the world. It has also been identified as one of the top Industry 4.0 technologies that will improve the manufacturing industries’ operational efficiencies. However, with their small budgets and legacy IT frameworks, most SMEs have yet been unable to materialise the gains from this system of connected devices and sensors.
A 2019 market research estimated the worldwide spending on IoT software and hardware to grow from USD 726 billion in 2019 to US$1.1 trillion in 2023.¹ Another report found the Asia-Pacific region accounting for a significant chunk of this spending, with India spending USD 20.6 billion on the technology.²
The top factors driving IoT adoption across global markets are:
- Reducing costs of data services, sensors and devices
- Increasing smartphone penetration and mobile app usage
- Low costs of computing and storing data in the cloud
- Evolving trends in edge computing
Although established manufacturing enterprises have been deploying IoT solutions to improve product quality and customer experiences while simultaneously reducing costs, a significant number of small-medium enterprises (SMEs) in India are still struggling with the adoption of this technology.
The key challenges that have prevented them from using IoT solutions fruitfully are:
Lack of clarity on how to prioritise the uses
Behavioural studies explain that people are more likely to invest when they are presented with fewer options. Adopters of IoT solutions have followed a KPI-driven digital strategy to identify valuable use cases. How will IoT help in improving supply chain visibility? How can logistics be improved with IoT? In what ways will technology help with workforce management? Service providers must answer such specific queries to help SMEs understand the actual gains from IoT.
Lack of talent and skills for implementing and maintaining an IoT ecosystem
Talent development for new technology calls for concerted efforts and the ability to adapt to recent changes. Teams in a manufacturing organisation must have a disruptive mindset to drive innovations that increase productivity, improve customer experience and reduce operating costs.
Usage of legacy data management systems
For years, manufacturing companies have been using multiple legacy data collection software. From spreadsheets to ERP and MES software, they employ a range of tools to collect and analyse data on their operations.
Such organisations are, therefore, concerned about adopting more solutions that may not be compatible with their existing setups. For small-scale manufacturers, spending resources on deploying new tools and bridging data gaps between different systems is a challenge.
Technical issues of connectivity, compatibility, interoperability
Successful implementation of IoT solutions calls for a healthy ecosystem of service providers and OEMs. A lack of IoT interoperability inhibits data from being effectively transmitted across siloed devices and systems.
Additionally, vendor lock-in deprives businesses of control over their data, infrastructure management and network uptime. It prevents them from moving to more advanced or cost-effective IoT apps in the future.
Another potential issue is technical instability. If a vendor fails to deliver the promised services or the product does not perform as expected, the business not only suffers impaired quality-of-service but may also face potential network scalability issues and security challenges.
Data privacy concerns and cyber threats
Even where IoT is progressively innovating business models with digital transformation, the rapid growth of technology platforms has highlighted privacy and cybersecurity concerns. For their own safety and that of their customers’ data, organisations must ensure that the sensors and edge devices do not become threat vectors or get hijacked.
In using IoT tools, businesses are also worried about:
- The blurred lines between digital and physical
- Dynamic nature of IoT tools due to constant mobility
- Physical platform security challenges and storage of collected data
- Dependency on external parties
Helping the manufacturing industry SMEs build an IoT ecosystem
Contrary to common perception, there is no need to overturn an organisation’s entire existing infrastructure to deploy digitally advanced IoT solutions.
Digital asset management is one such system that enables manufacturers to monitor their consignments without requiring substantial monetary investments. Companies can use it to track their raw materials and finished products in transit.
By offering real-time updates on goods, IoT-based asset management developed by Tata Tele Business Services (TTBS) minimises the risk of theft loss and delayed deliveries due to inaccurate routes taken by truck drivers. Manufacturing companies can leverage asset management tools to update their customers on the exact status of products to be delivered.
Another IoT product that manufacturers are using for efficient logistics and distribution is the fleet management tool. It enhances fleet operations and reduces operational expenses with better route planning, higher fuel efficiency and safer driving.
TTBS has custom-designed its fleet management software using the GPS tracking system to monitor driver behaviour, fuel consumption and route tracking in real-time. It is simple to integrate with any vehicle and sends alerts to managers securely on connected desktop and mobile devices.
The IoT solutions deployed by TTBS are plug and play solutions for which your business does not need detailed technology infrastructure. With their as-a-service model, your employees can use them without comprehensive training.
Our tailored IoT solutions help you build deeper business intelligence and use data successfully for better end-user experiences. With embedded security features, our IoT solutions also weave data integrity and privacy into the tracking systems’ very fabric.
To know more about our products, connect with us at 1800-266-1515.