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How to create a data strategy for IoT

When it comes to IoT, the potential for our lives, businesses and industries to completely transform and improve has never been greater. From fully connected homes, hospitals and cities that collect and share data, the influence of IoT is endless.

Research predicted that by 2020, there would be 20 billion connected IoT devices. Now, figures state that by 2025 there will be over 41 billion devices connected, according to International Data Corporation 2019. What this means is that the amount of data being collected — and potentially the high volume of low value data collected — is becoming truly overwhelming.

Though 5G and edge computing will make it possible to transmit data through high powered, low latency networks, these technologies are in their infancy with few use cases. Network infrastructure challenges mean that 5G is still some way off and if we are going to be doubling the amount of connected IoT devices, 5G will struggle to deliver unless organizations can quickly begin to understand the value that is locked within the data being transferred.

5 tips to help achieve value from IoT

The question then becomes this: Why does all IoT data need to be sent back to data centers? If organizations want to become truly data driven and be able to have IoT data move their business forward, they must begin by having a concise business strategy in place, teamed with supporting technology.

Define the challenge the business is trying to solve. Just because an organization has connected devices, it doesn’t mean that they’ll necessarily get value from them; value lies within the data. There will be those in the company saying ‘we need IoT’, but organizations must consider what questions the data from IoT devices need to answer to help the business grow, improve processes and enhance the customer experience. Organizations must also ask themselves what insight does the business want to have from monitoring each device, and what does the outcome of the investment need to be?

Less is more. With so much data at their fingertips, organizations must start moving away from the idea of having every device connected and the ‘let’s store everything just in case’ mindset when it comes to their data. They need to be able to work out what is good and bad data. If all a business has coming back from devices is low value data and low hanging fruit, it will not benefit.

Be savvier with analytics. Organizations need to become more strategic with how data is analyzed, not just in terms of getting insights but looking at the data itself and working out where the inherent value lies within it. When data can be analyzed down at the edge, only the most valuable data collected will be shared and in real time, making the process more cost effective to the business. Additionally, the amount of data being collected from connected devices puts a great deal of pressure on a cloud network. If organizations want to be sending data to the cloud, sifting through all of it at the edge with edge analytics will ease the load.

Don’t pin your hopes on 5G. While there is a buzz about the possibilities around being able to send every piece of data back to the data center with 5G, bandwidth is still going to run out really quickly because of the sheer volume of data being generated. If we think about what will happen after 5G, there will need to be another network advance to help solve data issues, which means that organizations need to make changes now rather than wait for the next development.

Have the precise skill set. An organization might spend a considerable amount on IoT and other emerging technologies and be able to retrieve a lot of data, but if they don’t know how to get value from it, it’s pretty much worthless. Due to the complex nature of any IoT deployment, there will be a requirement for specialist skills and expertise.

Working with device suppliers will help organizations to understand data formats and to work out what data is actually needed to deliver insights to meet the defined strategy. Edge computing will also have a big part to play in sending the right data to tools and technologies that can be accessed by individuals who can make a difference for the business.

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

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