In 2017, a handful of analysts and big tech companies predicted the number of IoT devices connected to the Internet would exceed 50 billion by 2020. Now that 2020 is here, estimates vary about how many IoT devices are actually connected. Some put the number at 9 billion, others closer to 30 billion. Whatever the number, it is clearly below the optimistic 2017 forecasts.
Why the gap? Because designing and deploying real enterprise IoT is hard. Cisco famously reported 76 per cent of IoT projects fail and 50 per cent of IoT projects stall at the concept stage.
The reality is that, in our experience, although many businesses operate in the same vertical, nearly every business environment is unique. These operational differences, even within the same industry, means it is particularly difficult to ‘cookie cut’ IoT solutions to business problems.
Successful IoT implementations have no choice but to use fit-for-purpose solutions that take into account the unique landscape of each business and the asset-based insights the business needs to unlock to solve problems and deliver value, at-scale and cost-effectively. The right fit-for-purpose IoT solution can only be created with deep hands-on IoT experience and expertise that truly connects the physical operational world with the digital universe, along with an utterly obsessive focus on two key elements:
- the ‘last mile’ of a project. That is, the nuts and bolts. How much torque does each screw need to attach IoT sensors to physical assets? What type of screw is needed? The size, weight, salinity resistance and more have to be taken into account. All these details must be ironed out or else the project will stall instead of scale.
- the ‘so what?’ factor. Once a customer has connected hundreds, or thousands, of sensors, ‘so what’? What’s next? How do they realise value out of all the IoT data they will be able to produce?
This is why traditional technology vendors and telcos, accustomed to smoothly packaging products and services at scale to meet a clear customer need, struggle with IoT. If you are not born in IoT, it is hard to anticipate all the traps surrounding the ‘last mile’ and the ‘so what’. We see again and again that it is the devil in this detail that can prevent the incredible value IoT can deliver. This is certainly one of the key reasons many forward thinking telcos partner with IoT solution providers like Thinxtra.
We believe what the market wants, and needs, are commercially attractive, operationally sound industrial mass IoT solutions. These are best delivered by providers who have the skills, expertise and passion to do what it takes to answer the ‘so what?’ customer question. Device-to-cloud providers who know how to get hands on with the infamous nuts and bolts of the last mile.
There was no term to describe this kind of emerging IoT solution provider in the market, so we invented one: The IoT Telco. That is how we’ve built Thinxtra.
We are The IoT Telco. Exciting times lie ahead.
 Security News Desk article 41 billion missing IoT devices: the biggest prediction miss in the history of IoT?, January 14, 2020
Statista Research Department, Internet of Things – number of connected devices worldwide 2015-2025 Nov 27 2016