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Internet of Things Is Driving Improvements in Overall Business Results

Business leaders across various industries feel that the Internet of Things is a primary driver behind improved operations, recent research shows. 

More specifically, Gartner found more than 40 percent of organizations in a recent survey said they expected IoT to have a significant and lasting impact on their business over the next three years. When asked about the long term, or more than five years, that sentiment jumped to 60 percent. Despite the perceived benefits IoT infrastructure has on businesses, less than 25 percent of respondents had outlined clear business leadership for the IoT, either in the form of a single unit within the organization or multiple business units taking ownership of separate IoT efforts.

The ceiling for IoT infrastructure is high, but its capabilities are still young and raw, according to Gartner Vice President Nick Jones.

"Only a small minority have deployed solutions in a production environment," Jones said in a release. "However, the falling costs of networking and processing mean that there are few economic inhibitors to adding sensing and communications to products costing as little as a few tens of dollars. The real challenge of the IoT is less in making products 'smart' and more in understanding the business opportunities enabled by smart products and new ecosystems."

Understanding IoT going forward

Businesses need to fully understand IoT capabilities going forward, otherwise their investment in its infrastructure won't yield the best results. That's not to say certain companies aren't already taking advantage of IoT capabilities. Certain business models that rely heavily on the Web and Internet connection already use IoT infrastructure to an extent; other organizations that use mobile and portable device technology are part of the IoT network as well. The IoT has come to fruition quickly, and with good reason. It connects man-made objects and living things to a vast network of information, creating a more agile and flexible business unit. 

"Business leaders feel IoT will improve future operations."

While adoption is growing quickly, IoT technology isn't quite yet a ubiquitous mainstay across different industries. However, companies that haven't looked into IoT infrastructure of some sort are falling behind, and quickly. Verizon's "State of the Market: The Internet of Things 2015" report found that by 2025, organizations that adopt IoT extensively will be at least 10 percent more profitable than competitors that do not. Verizon in particular saw a 45 percent year-over-year revenue growth in 2014 in their IoT business, 4GLTE.

The key to leveraging IoT capabilities takes more than getting behind the technology. It requires a detailed understanding of how IoT can help improve business functions to their fullest, otherwise the investment won't be of use. IoT technology can help connect consumer-facing businesses with their clients more regularly and effectively, while business-to-business uses of IoT can dramatically improve collaboration and improve the bottom line for both parties involved. In fact, Verizon predicts the number of B2B IoT connections - in the form of cellular, fixed line, satellite and short-range wireless connections - between 2014 and 2020 will increase by 4.2 billion. With further IoT adoption on the horizon, businesses need to develop leadership strategies for the near future.

Both leadership and vision are important for outlining future IoT adoption and strategies. As the technology continues to evolve, it's likely businesses will develop more clear policies. Gartner found more than one-third of respondents from organizations that expect the IoT to be transformational have some form of leadership plan in place. This will need to increase though as IoT technology continues to connect businesses to one another and general consumers everywhere. 

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