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TDWI Upside - Where Data Means Business

Top IoT Insights for Executives

As organizations undertake digital transformation projects, data challenges threaten to slow innovation.

It’s 2020, and for many, the Internet of Things (IoT) is still just a nebulous buzzword thrown around to sound ‘techy.’ It’s time to change that. This year (and beyond) innovation in real, connected, smart products will come down to one thing: data. Streaming analytics and other new technologies to enable continuous data monitoring and help businesses make more strategic decisions will enable IoT to soar beyond the buzzword zone.

For Further Reading:

IoT and the ML Connection

The Importance of Being IoT

Protect Your Network: Use Caution with IoT Data Sources

When it comes to IoT in the enterprise, that’s just the beginning. Through a recent collaboration with TDWI, Altair, a provider of simulation design, HPC, and data analytics, surveyed executives and analysts from various industries to gather the latest IoT insights straight from the front lines of this disruptive and transformational technology.

To achieve IoT success, businesses recognize the importance of embracing this technology in exciting, innovative ways. In our study, more than a third (37 percent) of organizations surveyed already have IoT projects deployed and the rest aren’t far behind. Roughly a quarter (22 percent) are exploring IoT projects and 12 percent expect to deploy one in the next six months.

The survey also identified several trends executives need to keep in mind as they prepare their organizations for this IoT innovation.

Digital Transformation

As our TDWI survey uncovered, businesses have many motivators kickstarting their IoT projects, but digital transformation is the unrivaled leader of the category (62 percent). However, as organizations undertake digital transformation projects to reimagine product development, improve customer experiences, and create even more efficient internal processes, data challenges threaten to slow innovation.

A Deluge of Data Sources

As the number of IoT projects grows, projects are becoming more complex, with more data sources to contend with. Nearly 20 percent of our survey respondents said they’re dealing with more than 100 data sources at any one time. This problem will only grow as data volumes increase exponentially (175 zettabytes by 2025 according to IDC). Organizations need to ensure their data management solutions can keep up with these ever-growing data volumes.

New Year, Same Data Challenges

Although organizations face several common challenges (hardware, skills, training, etc.), when it comes to IoT projects, the TDWI survey identified data as a top challenge. More specifically, data security topped the list of challenges for both business leaders who are already running IoT projects (38 percent) and those planning out their IoT futures (36 percent).

Following closely behind is the struggle to handle the volume of real-time data IoT requires. Overcoming these challenges will require sophisticated data governance and business intelligence tools integrated with the IoT application that can deal with vast volumes of data quickly or risk falling behind.

A Minute (or Less) to Win It

Many organizations still struggle to efficiently access and effectively use their data. This -- and the need for data democratization within organizations -- has made it abundantly clear that real-time data visualization and analysis are critical features of any IoT in the enterprise. Our survey confirmed with most respondents (75 percent) saying their IoT projects require or will require the visualization of fast-changing data.

Diving deeper into the nitty-gritty of it all, 42 percent said they require real-time data visualization and analysis down to the minute and 24 percent want that analysis down to the second.

Although a second certainly sounds swift, honestly, it’s still not fast enough. Excelling in this space and achieving real-time results requires data that drills down to the millisecond or even the nanosecond -- but that’s another story.

What’s Next?

As we head into a new decade, the possibilities of IoT technologies are practically endless, and one significant takeaway is clear: data, data, data. Innovations in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning have helped organizations better manage the data that is the lifeblood of these projects.

Moving forward, it’s this quick and easy access to secure and accurate data that will be the critical point to success.

About the Author

Alvaro Everlet is senior VP IoT at Altair where he works with customers to successfully build Internet of Things solutions and strategies that meet both their technical and business goals on the road to digital transformation. You can reach the author via email, Twitter,, or LinkedIn.

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