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IoT and big data: Opportunities for the enterprise

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According to IDC, spending on the internet of things was at $737 billion in 2016 and forecasted to grow at an annual rate of 15.6%, reaching $1.29 trillion in 2020. That is not surprising, as forecasts projecting massive growth for IoT exist everywhere. While consumer IoT is often where the hype is, much of the current spending is in the enterprise, with manufacturing, transportation and utilities representing 44% of the 2016 spend (per IDC).

Another hyped market is big data. Also from IDC, spending on big data and business analytics solutions will grow by more than 50% from 2015 levels to more than $187 billion spent in 2019, with the big spenders in big data coming from the manufacturing and banking industries.

I don’t think there is much question that IoT and big data represent rapid growth and hype. I also don’t think many would disagree that much of the IoT and big data opportunity overlaps with each other. IoT is much more than connecting to a new sensor, device or thing, it is also a mechanism to collect and distribute data. This is something I wrote about last year when I talked about the opportunity for IoT in the enterprise:

“The value in this enterprise context is the potential for IoT to manage the interactions within this complex fabric of new sensors, gadgets, mobile devices, apps and old legacy applications and physical infrastructure.”

One interesting data point from the IDC research above is that much of the investment is happening in select verticals like manufacturing and banking. You can argue that manufacturing started doing IoT before it was called IoT. Manufacturing saw early on the tremendous potential to automate workflows across their manufacturing processes. The question is, once you get outside of manufacturing, what types of opportunities will there be in the enterprise for the intersection of IoT and big data?

The intersection of IoT and big data

This is a broad question, probably better to ask where is there not an opportunity. IoT, and the rapidly increasing set of devices, sensors and things, represent a tremendous opportunity to connect everything together, and there will be tremendous value generated by all of these new connections. The question then becomes what to do with all of the data generated by these connections? Will this data unlock new opportunities and help solve unsolved problems? And where does the typical enterprise organization start in unlocking this potential?

It turns out, the typical enterprise has started. According to 451 Research, 71% of IT leaders are already gathering data for IoT initiatives. A big advantage of IoT is the ability to easily collect data across all parts of the organization, including parts of the organization that historically may not have dealt with each other that much:

“IoT affords cross-industry and cross-silo interaction at a data level. CIOs must remember that data is ultimately platform independent and data science is also now available as a service.”
– Ian Hughes, 451 Research

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