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The Internet of Things (IoT) and increased internet connectivity will be at the very heart of every one of the many industries we cover at BMI Research. We believe the 'traditional' telecoms sector is set to morph into a service with no discernible boundaries; one that is able to permeate and shape the development of the vast majority of these existing industries.
The full implications for consumers and operators in the industry space are, at this stage, somewhat opaque. We, however, are conscious that the IoT creates major risks to our industry forecasts for everything from energy consumption to infrastructure investment and commodities prices.
In our view, traditional business models will have to adapt to technological changes or they risk becoming redundant. We are already seeing signs of this - particularly in the energy sector. Some utilities are, for example, at risk of becoming obsolete as they struggle to adapt to a changing operating environment that will incorporate greater small-scale renewables penetration and growth in 'behind-the-meter' smart technology.
In essence, many industrial companies will be left with two choices: either build up in-house IoT expertise or work in partnership with specialist IoT companies to capitalise on increased connectivity. This creates major opportunities for non-traditional players in all types of industry as companies utilise IoT to improve asset utilisation, reduce operating costs and increase employee productivity.
There will be problems to overcome. Potential hindrances to IoT take-up include a lack of vision or understanding at C-Suite level, cyber-security worries and concerns about return on investment. Nevertheless, we believe the direction of travel with regards to IoT is clear.