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IoT, Mobility and Managing the Connected Workplace

As seen in a recent Gartner report, the expected growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) is set to reach 50 billion devices by 2020. While this provides great opportunity to extend the connectivity of employees within the workplace, it also presents a need for companies to reassess if they are ready for this influx of access. It is time companies accept a new mobile reality and prepare for the possibilities that lie ahead.

As a result of continued growth of the IoT and a more mobile-first workforce, companies must now establish best practices to appropriately prepare for the influx of mobile and connected devices within the workplace. Managed mobility services (MMS) can help ease this transition, creating a more connected workplace and giving companies the control needed over their mobile ecosystems. MMS providers serve as key players in the success of an enterprise’s IoT efforts; they can provide a centralization of device management and support, visibility into cellular data usage, security through mobile device management software and expense management.

This piece will explore ways enterprises can cope with the rapid rise and subsequent demands of IoT and connected devices through utilizing MMS, and takes a look at fields that have already successfully adopted MMS strategies.

How MMS Makes the IoT More Accessible

A recent report from BI Intelligence states that the enterprise will be the largest IoT market, with a total of 23.3 billion IoT devices connected by 2019, across all sectors and verticals and geographies. Of those devices, 40 percent will belong to enterprises and used to streamline and automate many facets of the business, from manufacturing to transportation to retail. The report also says that spending on enterprise IoT products and services will reach $255 billion globally by 2019, up from $46.2 billion this year.

To help manage and process not only the devices coming into the workforce, but also the data they provide, companies should consider incorporating MMS into their business infrastructure. MMS offers companies better visibility of IoT data without compromising security, similar to how smartphones and tablets are today. Through the cloud, connected devices can be monitored directly with the carriers, enabling enterprises to track their location, monitor usage and measure the amount of data being used. It’s a tool that empowers businesses to focus funds on other strategic initiatives while promoting efficiencies.

MMS further manages logistics and mobility management integration, which can help protect devices from security breaches while ensuring asset tracking. From procurement, to configuration, to the delivery of the device, MMS enables a mobile device to be effectively managed through its full lifecycle. Incorporating MMS allows companies to consider the impact of IoT on business, and how to most efficiently deliver a service that will ultimately optimize the environment in which IoT devices live.

MMS is also cost-effective, helping reduce inefficiencies and ensure mobility is affordable for the enterprise. In fact, most MMS providers have an expense management solution that can be used to optimize and audit carrier bills. For example, enterprises utilize multiple carriers, and the data allowance for each carrier varies. If the relationship is optimized, it could be determined that the most cost-efficient way to maintain a connection to the device is using a pool of data versus each device having a strict, finite amount of data, ultimately eliminating the chance of the enterprise being charged data overage fees.

Finally, MMS helps CIOs and CTOs have better access, management and security of their companies alongside the adoption of mobile first policies in an IoT world.

In many ways, MMS and IoT have the same goal: simplicity and convenience through better managing customers, employees and enterprises business functions.

The Proof is in the Pudding – Industry Successes

There are industries that are already embracing the IoT and incorporating MMS strategies. The same BI Intelligence study showed that manufacturing, transportation, and warehousing and information sectors will invest the most in IoT systems and devices in the next five years. Each of these industries have already started to invest, in various ways, to enrich the communication between devices in order to make their businesses more efficient and effective. Tracking cars, equipment and critical health information through the use of M2M and EHRs are examples of IoT communication.

In the transportation sector, freight railroad networks can use IoT to make railways safer. We’ve seen companies implement global positioning systems that link trains across the country by a sophisticated network of connections, so that locomotives know where they are at any given time and can stop or slow down accordingly.

In healthcare, we’re seeing the IoT arise through connected health. Consumers are integrating sensors into their homes, wearable devices and clothing to keep track of things like room temperature and fitness levels. Healthcare companies are also using the IoT to further develop systems and services. Devices can offer remote stroke diagnosis, or issue health warnings based on monitoring vital signs. Additionally, widely-used game consoles can be used for in-house rehabilitation services and virtual check-ins with doctors.

IoT is also moving from an idea into reality in the world of supply chain. Companies are focusing on streamlining operations, seamlessly connected touchpoints and automating the flow of information from one point to another. According to Gartner, by 2018 the total cost of ownership for business operations will be reduced by 20% through smart machines and industrialized services.

These sectors may be leading the charge at the moment in MMS and IoT integration, but they certainly won’t be the only major players in the field for long. In each of these industries the advantages of MMS are enabling companies to supply their customers with improved service, visibility and control of their mobile environments. It is now vital for companies across business sectors to begin preparing for the future of the IoT and lay the foundations for the successful integration of MMS platforms into their business strategies.

Where Do We Go from Here?

While the IoT has been around for years initially defined by M2M cellular devices, it hasn’t truly taken off until very recently. Enterprises are now willing to explore this intangible idea, and the time of IoT and the connected devices is here. As a result enterprises must reassess their mobile policies to help adapt to this growing trend and influx of connected devices.

It is highly encouraged that enterprises consult internally on specific goals surrounding the IoT and if needed, loop in an expert sooner, rather than later, to ease the implementation. If not done right, enterprises could lose millions due to inefficient billing, security breaches, and/or a lack of control of these complex mobile ecosystems.

MMS is an integral part of the future of the enterprise, helping companies manage the adoption of devices within the IoT and come up with ideas on how to scale such an effort. Companies that invest in MMS will see positive results (such as better security, stronger management, visibility, centralized support, cost control, savings, etc.).

The IoT represents simplicity and convenience. It represents personal and business empowerment, which translates to increased productivity. It means better visibility through the tracking and analysis of data resulting in reduced guesswork and better risk management. It represents a better connection with people-both customers and employees – and their surrounding environment. It represents risk management through automation and sharing of real-time data versus manual processes that carry the risk of human error.

These changes are happening quickly, but the opportunity for companies is huge. Through incorporating MMS, companies will put themselves in the best position possible to capitalize on the opportunity the IoT presents, and most effectively deploy IoT strategies.

MOBI

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