Paving the Way for a Fully Connected World

By: Ludovico Fassati

After the volatility of the last year, many businesses are exploring different ways to improve their organization. By putting the rollercoaster of 2020 in the rearview mirror, companies can start rethinking their existing business models and revenue streams and focus on what will drive their businesses forward. An important place to start in rebuilding for the future is by looking at how technology is infused across the business.

In fact, in a recent study 71 percent of organizations reported they have made at least one new technology investment in direct response to COVID-19 over the last year. While many of these purchases or upgrades were in response to supporting employees in working flexibly and remotely—either through new software or hardware—these types of investments in technology show a trend to building a technology foundation for growth.

The combination of IoT, 5G and multi-edge computing (MEC) makes up the infrastructure businesses need to both improve what they do now and help them build new connected business models.

Together they amount to an entirely new way of working, but first let’s break down the individual value.

IoT agility

Eighty-four percent of businesses surveyed for Vodafone’s IoT Spotlight 2020 report said IoT helped them quickly adapt in 2020. Even more, 87 percent indicated that it’s critical for their ongoing success. Of all the advantages IoT brings, like lowering costs or increasing revenue, this shows the biggest is in its power to provide digital readiness.

If this fitness is the foundation for both agile and innovative operations, data is the ground floor. Smart decisions are data-driven, and IoT gives businesses access to the most immediate datasets they need to inform strategy, enabling them to adapt, react and respond more quickly and effectively to changes in customer and market demands—moves that create competitive advantage.

IoT’s vast impact is already seen in the most connected global industries such as automotive, logistics, utilities, manufacturing and healthcare. For example, tracking company TrackTec uses connected cameras and other devices to not only track the location of a given asset but also monitor habits, performance or even preempt problems before they occur for customers across public transport, transportation, private transport and machine management. Predictive maintenance has reduced costs by approximately twenty percent over a five-year period.

The technology is also emerging in some of the least connected industries. For example, Erüst’s family farm uses an IoT solution that provides real-time information and data for more sustainable farming. The IoT solution helps the farm stay updated on weather conditions and receive notifications that help prevent diseases from spreading across their crops. It also helps to lower overall production costs and decrease water usage as well as fertilizers and pesticides as the solution tracks when crops actually need these resources.

This brings us to 5G, which will make new IoT applications, like in agriculture, possible. The next-generation network is designed for connecting things more than people, so its influence will be felt primarily in business and industry.

5G means more IoT

With 5G-compatible network solutions like NB-IoT, IoT will enable billions of more objects to be connected quickly and easily, paving the way for a fully connected world. As 5G becomes a reality, new use cases will be based on control services.

Every IoT deployment leverages two core capabilities: location-based services and remote monitoring. With LPWA, 2G and 4G data can be transferred between devices, so businesses can track, trace and monitor the status of their assets and goods.

But with 5G, these devices can also be controlled in real-time and remotely. This enables augmented and virtual reality applications, as well as those that power autonomous vehicles—all of which need an extremely quick response time to be possible.


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