Every day, I speak with enterprises using or aspiring to use the internet of things (IoT). Much of what they want to know are the primary use cases where it can serve them. For this reason, I lean on a combination of quantitative and qualitative insights to build out a use-case heat map by industry. Some of you might be familiar with my last iterations of this; if so, I urge you to take a look at the latest version that just published. For those of you not familiar, here’s some background.
Enterprise stakeholders have three scenarios at their disposal to incorporate IoT into their business strategy: 1) Designers embed IoT sensors into products; 2) process owners use IoT-enabled assets to improve operations; and 3) business leaders incorporate data from IoT sensors and from their ecosystem to improve operations and offerings. To help you evaluate IoT use cases relevant to your firm, we’ve developed a set of IoT use-case heat maps spanning many operational processes. You can use these heat maps to help evaluate the applicability of each IoT use case to your firm’s unique strategic business priorities and operational initiatives. Start your firm’s evaluation process by:
- Considering key elements to prioritize relevant IoT use cases for your organization. Start by assessing the number and value of physical assets and structures (e.g., cars, equipment, machinery, land, buildings) used across your firm. It is also important to evaluate specific use cases that are relevant in your vertical industry or to your firm’s strategic priorities. For example, massive government funding and regulatory requirements are spurring companies to make sustainability a strategic imperative. IoT-enabled environmental monitoring solutions can help firms address their sustainability initiatives.
- Assessing broadly applicable horizontal IoT use cases that apply to many vertical markets. Examples of horizontal IoT use cases include facility management to monitor the design, construction, and operation of structures and building systems or energy management to monitor, manage, and report usage of water, electricity, and other energy resources. Security and surveillance use cases manage and monitor security and public safety. These horizontal use cases are broadly applicable and deliver incremental value but generally don’t provide a strategic advantage.
- Evaluating functional IoT use cases that create value for many firms. Use cases for specific operational processes boost efficiency and sometimes provide significant value, although they don’t have universal appeal. Examples of functional IoT use cases include supply chain management solutions to optimize the supply chain process by tracking materials, forecasting availability, and managing inventory and warehouse processes to ensure that the right products are available for immediate delivery to customers who make online purchases. Other functional use cases include predictive maintenance and asset performance management that are particularly relevant in the manufacturing, production, chemical, and oil and gas sectors.
- Identifying specialized IoT use cases to address specific situations at a narrow set of firms. The heterogeneity and diversity of the IoT use-case landscape provides enterprise stakeholders in every vertical market with opportunities to differentiate operations, processes, and customer experience. Examples of these specific use cases include remote diagnostics and monitoring of patient status in healthcare, self-optimizing production in manufacturing, and cold chain monitoring in perishable pharmaceuticals and consumer products.
To help you navigate your IoT journey, here are a few steps that you can take:
- If you are a Forrester client and want to learn more about this topic, please schedule a guidance session with Michele Pelino, principal analyst.
- Explore the links to related research included below.
- Not a Forrester client? Please contact the Forrester account team.
Here’s a few more of my latest reports: