Enterprises share their IoT challenges at IoT Day Shanghai

At our recent IoT Day Shanghai event, we had the opportunity to sit down for a roundtable discussion with several enterprises operating in Asia to discuss the challenges and pain points they have encountered in their IoT journeys. The session was an open and frank sharing of ideas and insights among peers who have started down the road of digital transformation. Enterprise participants learned they are not alone, and there are places to which they may turn to learn best practices and what has been successful for others.

Enterprise IoT challenges shared at IoT Day Shanghai 2019
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The hard reality

Perhaps a massive understatement, the IoT journey is a hard and complex one and the industry can vouch for that. According to a recent survey, three-quarters of IoT projects are not successful. However, we are certainly seeing successes, and that is why we think it is particularly important for the industry to come together to share knowledge, collaborate and to help and be inspired by one another. If we know where enterprises are in their IoT deployments, we can also determine what they are learning along the way. Knowing these things help the industry as a whole and allows us to be a better partner.

We asked about IoT journeys during this discussion with executives from companies who represented many different industries, including a manufacturer of excavating equipment, a technology innovator making the jobs of law enforcement officers safer and a provider of smart sensors, just to name a few. Here is what we learned from their challenges and successes.

What were your key questions when you decided your IoT strategy?

The most common answer to this question was about the barriers to using cellular and ensuring that devices are capable of connecting to the network. Building connected devices like body cameras and sensor technology presents a challenge when it comes to distribution. Products like these could end up anywhere in the world, and no matter where they do, their ability to connect to the cellular network is critical for their functioning. Advancements in SIM technology are occurring and it is now possible to build a device that can function on a provider network just about anywhere in the world. Not only does connectivity need to exist where the device is used, but also in any place to which it may travel. Connectivity must be seamless and customers are going to choose products that allow them to have that experience. Use must be easy and ramp-up has to be fast. But that still requires extensive partnerships and interoperability, on which the industry is making progress.

What were your top priorities when selecting partners in your IoT ecosystem?

There were a few common answers to this question. At the top of the list was the need for partners to better understand the use cases and how each one has unique capability and lifecycle management needs. Sensors on heavy excavating equipment have different requirements and characteristics from ones deployed in an office space, and partners need to understand what is required for success in each of those different areas.

Another priority when selecting partners was to find ones that helped make managing complex processes easier, like connectivity across countries and regions, and eSIM management. They also wanted partners with a larger global reach, therefore allowing them to reduce the number of partners they needed to keep and contracts they had to sign.

Finally, our participants also expressed they wanted a partner with enough expertise to provide them with a path to 5G and a strategy for it to improve their business’ bottom line.

We also learned that carriers currently lack the infrastructure to really develop the IoT market. The ways device performance is measured are evolving and the CSPs need to become educated to help their customers better gauge performance.

Also, most devices require stronger upload performance versus download, which is a structure to which carriers are not accustomed, so they don’t understand. But again, every use case is different and adjustments have to be made.

What do enterprises expect from the IoT ecosystem?

We heard a number of interesting answers to this question, starting with reliability. Operators and their customers require absolute reliability. If connectivity goes down, then sensors stop working and body cameras fail to enhance officer safety. Availability must be constant and seamless.

Another expectation was for CSPs to get up to speed on the different models and use cases. It was recommended that there be more co-creation, workshops and overall collaboration to advance IoT as an industry. But respondents also agreed that it’s not just up to the CSPs to make this - it has to be an industry-wide effort.

Those who don’t learn from history are bound to falter

The breakout discussions like the ones at IoT Day Shanghai provide such a rich learning experience, which helps us improve how we can be a better IoT partner. It also helps guide industry stakeholders so that we can all help the ecosystem advance. We hope that you will be able to join one of our discussions in the future. There will not be a shortage of great learning opportunities that can only help your business succeed, no matter where it plays in the ecosystem.

Please read more about the Ericsson IoT Ecosystem and the role you can play within it. Also, learn how you can make IoT easier for your customers with our industry leading IoT Connectivity Management platform.

Ericsson IoT Day Shanghai 2019 - Highlight Video

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