Creating an IoT ecosystem of sustainable business value


A truck loaded with produce is traveling long distance. On-board IoT sensors are sending in real-time data that keeps stakeholders informed about arrival times, delay detection and rescheduling notices. The truck is part of a digital convoy, a network of connected vehicles that are crowdsourcing data used to help plan routes more efficiently, ensure the safe and timely arrival of driver and cargo, and reduce the operational costs and penalties caused by delays. All without any human intervention.

A vending machine in a busy stadium is not simply a traditional vending machine. It is a retail gateway, fitted with IoT technology that enables it to monitor and predict sales and consumption and automatically manage delivery and fulfillment.

A worker on a drilling platform is wearing a helmet that could potentially save his life. It’s fitted with sensors that are monitoring his location, activity and exposure to chemicals in real-time, helping him stay safe anywhere on the platform, and ensuring key people are instantly alerted to any anomalies. As a result, the oil company can ensure employees get the rest they need and reduce sick time significantly across their workforce.

IoT, like any new technology, must be implemented carefully so that it creates an ecosystem of sustainable value and yields maximum ROI.

These are just some of the compelling reasons why businesses across all industries are implementing IoT solutions to transform their operations, and exploring opportunities that allow them to work with devices and data, across time and in real-time. These solutions are providing real business benefit, saving time and money, reducing risk, innovating traditional processes and helping businesses get the edge on competitors. However, IoT, like any new technology, must be implemented carefully so it creates an ecosystem of sustainable value and yields maximum ROI.

Liberating the scarecrow

Where previous industrial revolutions made mass production the norm, freed mankind from animal power and introduced digital solutions to billions of users around the world, the 4th industrial revolution introduces something a little different.

IoT fuses a set of technologies together, whether they exist in the digital, physical or biological world, and impacts industries and entire economies. You could say that IoT challenges the idea of what it really means to be human. Like Dorothy did for her scarecrow friend in the Wizard of Oz, IoT has given once “dumb” objects a brain with which to think, predict, sense and even feel.

The shift to Industry 4.0 provides organizations with the ability to adopt and implement new physical and digital technologies that streamline efficiencies, identify issues, predict behavior, compare performance, fix remotely and ultimately drive innovation and growth. These are new capabilities that  support new business models and processes that were previously out of reach.

It’s an arms race and anyone can enter

There is no doubt about it, the race to market leadership has become a lot more interesting since the dawn of IoT. It’s an open market and businesses of all sizes can play.  While the usual suspects — Amazon, Google and Microsoft — are leading the IoT arms race today, smaller players are becoming wise and developing new and diverse ways to transform operations, enhance customer experience and gain market traction.

The trick is in knowing how, where and why IoT applies to your business, and planning your strategy with care. While considering the benefits, consider also the cost of not adopting IoT. In a busy airport, that failing runway sweeper truck could result in grounded planes, penalties, customer complaints and lost revenue. Add IoT to the mix and you have a constant stream of actionable performance data that ensures faults can be addressed proactively.

Getting the conversation started

Everybody might be talking about what IoT is, but the conversation needs to go deeper. The IoT discussion only really gets interesting when you start talking about what it can do, and most importantly what it can do for your business. This is when you need to get really specific, to drill down into what you currently do and how IoT can make it exponentially better.

The value of reduced cost and risk can diminish over time. An intelligent IoT framework, when deployed on the right platform, can go on adding value and unlimited possibilities across your business indefinitely.

This often requires an active approach across the entire business, collecting feedback and ideas from each department and through analysis of historical challenges and data. It also requires a slight shift in old thinking when determining business value; reduced cost and reduced risk are still valid, but IoT should be viewed more as a way to improve business outcomes, drive intelligent operations and as an enabler for digital transformation. The value of reduced cost and risk can diminish over time. An intelligent IoT framework, when deployed on the right platform, can go on adding value and unlimited possibilities across your business indefinitely.

Business outcomes lead the way

As IoT connectivity continues to extend to sensors, devices, processes and machines, business outcomes start to become clear. Let’s break down some of the most important possibilities:

Automating workflows: From collecting data from MRI scanners to flagging issues on jet engines and gas turbines, IoT sensors are automating workflows in real-time, helping business to ensure equipment, machines and vehicles are working efficiently no matter where they are located in the world.

Making apps smarter: Location intelligence, predictive analytics and IoT-fueled contextual data are reshaping apps, enhancing customer experience, freeing up resources and introducing operational possibilities that were previously out of reach.

Insight from digital twins: Imagine you have an airplane engine made up of many sophisticated parts. Now imagine a virtual replica, or digital twin, of this engine in the cloud, able to function as the real engine does, and available to be programmed with an infinite amount of complex test scenarios.

These outcomes and more are possible, but require a strong support ecosystem. The right IoT platform, collaboration between teams and strong partnerships with technology providers will ensure these outcomes are delivered with maximum business value in mind.

While IoT is gearing up to revolutionize business as we know it, the real innovation happens behind the scenes, where as-a-service cloud computing platforms provide the backbone, processing and storage of multitudes of data. Self-monitoring services, unlimited storage, robust security and transparent subscription models provide solutions that are specifically aligned to outcome-based IoT business objectives.


Simon Nicholson is Senior Director Product Management, Internet of Things at Oracle. Global responsibility for Oracle IoT Cloud Service Market Strategy, Go To Market and Enablement

Robert Squire is Database, Portal and Content Management SME at DXC. He was a solution architect for Oracle Consulting until 2010. He has presented on Temporal database concepts at UKOUG, DAMA and at Edinburgh University. He is a technical expert in Data Architecture, Portals and Content Management systems.


  1. Tim Coote says:

    Why do so few pick up on the unobserved aspect of IoT systems? The availability and status of the sensors, actuators and compute nodes that are the interface to the real-world must be understood by a robust IoT system. This isn’t an issue for evolutions from industrial plant management, where there’s already a team watching the control gear. But it’s a serious shift for the scenarios outlined above.


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