Firms are using IoT, but challenges remain
Companies are increasingly deploying IoT and reaping business benefits. But they do face challenges. For instance, how should they treat security and interoperability issues related to connected devices? To discuss these issues, the Enterprise Technology Summit 2017 organized by Mint hosted a panel discussion on ‘How companies are harnessing the IoT potential across sectors’. The panel was moderated by Sanjay Gupta, national writer with Mint. Edited excerpts:
Amandeep Sarna, area director-IT (South Asia) and regional head-tech development (Asia-Pacific, excluding China), Marriott International
We are now very selective and finding more and more use case scenarios—especially in energy conservation rather than guest-facing technology. This is because first, implementation has to be done across a large user base and second, to make it work efficiently, it takes time. The idea of using IoT and connected devices is to do the work more intelligently without impacting the guest experience. Also, safeguarding private information of guests has become a major concern for us and with more devices getting connected, it is becoming easier to lose control and for people to hack into data. So we have put in place a stringent process for controlling technology approval and avoiding leakage of information.
Rajesh Uppal, executive director (IT) and chief information officer (CIO), Maruti Suzuki India
IoT and connected devices for auto companies is not a new phenomenon. Eight years back, we connected around 10,000 trucks to manage the delivery of our products from our factory to the dealers. It led to phenomenal efficiency of the whole network from delivery time to tracking all the activities on the way. Currently, IoT is impacting our industry in a big way—on the shop floor in terms of smart manufacturing, where real value is being seen now through connectivity and real-time decisions, especially with analytics. We are now deploying IoT in a lot of other areas as well. Also, in the area of connected cars, I think technology-wise it is a mature domain but creating a business case and a plan on how to monetize this is something that will take some time.
Praveen Mellacheruvu , senior director (strategy and marketing) Honeywell India
When you look at the IoT stack from sensors to analytics, you need to really figure out where to play in that—whether it will drive value and if it is going to be very hard for players to compete there. Creating a right set of use cases where businesses can use IoT is what the matter narrows down to. From our perspective, we are driving connected plants, connected buildings and connected homes, among other uses. On the consumer side, we are really seeing it take off—people don’t think twice before using connected devices or services. On the industrial side, however, you need to be a bit more cautious, as the challenges of scalability make it a completely different ball game. One also needs to be mindful of the reputation risk arising out of any significant leakage of information from connected devices or machines.
Vijay Sethi, CIO and head (corporate social responsibility), Hero MotoCorp
While IoT as a technology area is for real, there is some hype in use cases. Sometimes, people tend to think that everything can be IoT-enabled but they must think of what they are really going to do with all that data captured by the sensors. Is it really going to give business value to the organization? That is what a lot of organizations are not very clear about. The thought processes and needs of the consumers are changing very fast. We need to look at how we are able to make our systems and organizations enabled for IoT two years or three years down the line, including upgrading the skills of our employees and suppliers.
Anirban Mukherjee, executive director-advisory (IoT), EY
Traditional IoT is about IT (information technology) and OT (operational technology) as we call it. We used to have different domains such as the plant control domain but suddenly we are breaking those barriers—which exposes us to risks. Therefore, IoT has emerged as a big area for even consulting to ensure that when you open up these domains you do not get exposed to security risks. I think some of the proprietary protocols that we had before, say, when we had industrial automation, actually protected us in some ways but when you are coming on to standard open protocols, you are actually opening up, so the solution should be architected right.