Float like a butterfly, sting like IoT

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The buzz around Internet of Things (IoT)

With the industry in transition, and with new smart-metering entrants like Nest and Hive creating a buzz, utility companies are right to be concerned about getting ‘stung’ by IoT. A new Gartner survey confirms what many of us already knew, that IoT (Internet of Things) is moving into the mainstream, with 43 per cent of respondents planning on implementing a solution in 2016, up 50 per cent on last year. In our white paper “The Butterfly Effect” we note that success is never guaranteed. But it seems likely that the most connected and engaged companies will be the ones to dominate the future utilities landscape.

The technology is very close to home for BT because it’s network dependent. It’s based on machine-to-machine communication that has multiple use cases across many industries, where connected objects with sensors – devices, vehicles and even buildings – can facilitate more efficient services. It all comes back to connectivity.

With it comes an opportunity for gathering and analysing data at an unprecedented scale, informing better business decisions and improving the customer experience. New business models, and indeed new businesses, will also evolve more quickly on the basis of vast new data-sets on platforms that BT can readily make available through our unparalleled global connectivity and the strength of our partnerships.

Cisco partnership

We have been working with one of our long-standing partners, Cisco, on a number of initiatives. At the leading edge of IoT, Cisco describes its approach as the Internet of Everything, because its connected solutions encompass people and processes as well as devices.

So where does the business case make most sense? Gartner characterises two distinct types of IoT adopters, heavy utility and manufacturing industries, which account for 56 per cent of adopters, and lighter, service-oriented sectors that make up a further third.

The Butterfly Effect”, white paper from Cisco/BT highlights our work around the utility sector and smart cities in the UK.

The idea of the Butterfly Effect is that tiny changes we make do in fact make a difference. And when those tiny changes are aggregated among millions of people, we can truly make a real difference in how we receive services and make the best of our urban environments.

We are also focused on enabling more flexible and efficient production lines in manufacturing and creating increasingly smart supply chains, all of which are as relevant for the Irish market as the UK.

Cisco predicts

By 2020 the number of connected entities, people, items, and smart devices will be up to 50 billion, and that IoT will have the potential to automate up to 50 per cent of manual processes. The caveat is that some organisations will find it easier than others to embrace the technology. Gartner notes that nearly 30 per cent of its survey respondents have no plans to implement IoT, which it puts down in part to having insufficient expertise around the technology.

Extended IoT ecosystem

This is where we can help, providing an extended partner ecosystem to support your IoT initiative, whether it’s using our cloud for crunching the data that connected devices generate, our data centres for storing it, our global network to transport it or our partner’s services to complement it.

Our experience can help inform your choices. BT and Cisco are at the forefront of this transformation. We’ve been working together for 25 years. And right now, we’re helping make the vision of Smart Cities and connected utilities a reality.

We look forward to turning IoT innovation into viable business models for Irish organisations – public and private – in the months and years ahead.

Meanwhile, we’ll be taking part in the IoT summer school, at the University of Limerick, at which we’ll explore the ‘Industry of Internet of Things: Experience, Challenges and Evolution’. More on that in my next blog on the buzz around IoT.

The Butterfly Effect – How smart technology is set to completely transform utilities

Steve Coakley


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