Illustration: Accelerating Digital Transformation with IoT
November 29, 2021

Accelerating Digital Transformation with IoT

Version Control
Digital Twins

If your business is in the process of digital transformation, IoT technology may be factoring into your plans. IoT gives organizations across industries new opportunities to foster a more direct connection with customers. It lets them collect new data, turn that data into insights, and then turn insights into action.

IoT has become so prevalent that companies in most industries can’t afford to put off adopting it. Read on to learn how your team can identify ways to use IoT for digital transformation. Plus, learn about some challenges and opportunities presented by IoT.

What is Digital Transformation and Why Is It Important?

Digital transformation is the ongoing process of improving business operations and products with digital solutions. It’s important because it helps businesses compete in current markets and prepare for future ones.

Digital transformation used to focus on replacing manual processes with digital ones. An example is scanning and saving documents to a computer hard drive so they could be located more quickly anywhere in the office. Later on, digital transformation took the form of building mobile banking platforms to replace brick and mortar banks, or the development of autonomous driving assistance systems (ADAS) and infotainment systems.

How Does IoT Help Digital Transformation?

Now, according to Wharton Magazine, “digital transformation is all about data... the easiest way to think about it is that it enables companies to use customer data directly to drive their business.” That’s where IoT comes in. It enables teams to collect new data and do so much more with it, like make better predictions and increase the longevity of products. Utilizing IoT is digital transformation. IoT can not only improve existing processes but enable new and better processes and products to be created.

Why Organizations Are Using IoT for Digital Transformation

The overarching reason to adopt IoT for digital transformation is the opportunity this technology gives businesses to collect new and/or more data across all operations. Some more specific benefits include:

Increased Efficiency

IoT lets you see key areas where operations are slowing down and identify bottlenecks.

Reduced Costs

IoT lets you see where time is being wasted or resources are being disproportionately drained.

Happier Customers

IoT makes you better able to anticipate customer needs and deliver products that address their pain points.

Future-Proofed Operations

By implementing IoT, you are adjusting your business model to account for the increasing connectedness of the world and consumers.

Digital Twins

You can make the most of all the data your IoT devices collect with a digital twin. (More on that later.)

Keeping Up with Competition

Simply put, the movers and shakers in most industries have already adopted IoT and begun reaping the benefits. According to data collected from various sources by DataProt:

  • 86% of healthcare organizations were using IoT technology in some way in 2019. 
  • 58% of manufacturers say IoT is a strategic necessity for digitally transforming industrial operations. 
  • In 2018, 57% of businesses adopted IoT in some way. By the end of 2021, the figure should hit 94%.

Where to Begin with IoT Digital Transformation

Adopting IoT is, for many industries, necessary for futureproofing. But to decide how your team should use IoT for digital transformation, consider the following:

  • What business goal or challenge are we hoping IoT will solve?
  • What data would it help us to collect automatically and continuously?
  • What are we hoping to learn from this data?
  • Which ways might we apply this data across multiple departments?
  • What future goals or needs do we anticipate having? What kinds of data would help us?

Challenges in IoT Digital Transformation

If using IoT for digital transformation is the way to go, what’s holding your team back? There is a good chance it's the following critical reasons:

Investment

Simply put, adopting IoT is a major investment. There can be a high cost involved in purchasing and setting up IoT devices and systems. Then there’s the amount of time involved in learning how IoT works, planning your first IoT project, implementing your new tools and systems, updating existing processes, and so on. Getting started with IoT may seem too difficult, and is it even worth it?

The answer will depend on your team’s needs and goals, but the answer is probably yes. It is worth it. Start with a solid foundation of tools. Start small. Be ok with failure. Collect data, learn from it, and try again.

Security

Many businesses are hesitant to put more resources into IoT projects because of concerns over security. They are rightly concerned about protecting their and their customers’ data. Citing research by Omdia, Venturebeat reported that security is organization’s top concern in adopting IoT (cited by 53% of respondents).

Businesses need to understand how their data and systems will be protected. The process of selecting vendors of your IoT solutions (from sensors, to Smart equipment, to cloud or edge servers, to IoT platforms) can take time.

Compliance

Another major concern for businesses is compliance with data protection regulations. For example, companies who are in the EU have very strict compliance laws to abide; General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) fines alone can be 4% of a company’s revenue. These laws also apply to companies who collect data from citizens of the EU. Factor in the money companies can hemorrhage from loss of customer trust, and there is a lot on the line. Achieving compliance comes down to selecting the right vendors. Vendors should offer demonstrable security and audit history.

IoT + Digital Twins

Your team will undoubtedly gain a lot of insight after launching even just one IoT project. But to capitalize on your investment in this technology, you need to consider digital twins. All of the new and continuous data you are collecting is great when analyzed on its own, but what if you could do more with it? By integrating it all into a digital twin of one of your products or systems, you can better understand the relationship between different parts of the whole. Teams across industries use digital twin technology to:

  • Create and test countless prototypes.
  • Simulate new production scenarios.
  • Monitor supply chains.
  • Better understand product lifecycle.
  • Communicate across teams.
  • Create advanced, real-time visualizations (with the help of game engines).

And that’s only the beginning. It’s becoming clear that IoT and digital twins are the way of the future. This technology will only continue to merge with others like virtual reality and mixed reality. Anyone who can begin investing in solutions based on this new technological frontier, should.

Version Control: a Foundational Tool for Digital Twin Development

For teams who have decided to pull data collected from their IoT tech into a digital twin, a strong version control system is a necessity. And Perforce Helix Core is the tool of choice.

Security

Helix Core offers enterprise-grade security for your valuable digital assets. Access levels can be secured down to the individual file. This gives team members, contractors, and third-party teams access to only the files they need.

Compliance

Helix Core maintains a complete history for every change ever made to your digital twin assets. This includes what the change was, who made it, and why. For audits, you can use Helix Core’s version history and log features.

Speed & Power

Developing a digital twin involves managing a massive amount of data. If you are using a game engine, such as Epic’s Unreal Engine or Unity to develop it, you’ll be managing even more. Not all version control systems are up to the task. Helix Core can handle 10s of thousands of developers and creatives, 10s of millions of daily transactions, and petabytes of data.

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