Why over two-thirds of the Internet of Things projects will fail

Associate Partner, Consultative Sales, IoT Leader, IBM Analytics

When did you first become interested in the Internet of Things (IoT)? If you’re like me, you’ve probably been following the news related to the IoT for years. As technology lovers, I’ll bet we have a lot in common. We are intensely curious. We are problem-solvers, inventors and perhaps more than anything else, we are relentlessly dedicated to finding better answers to our everyday challenges. The IoT represents a chance for us—the thinkers—to move far beyond the limiting technologies of the past and to unlock new value, new insights and new opportunities.

The potential for the Internet of Things is enormous

It really shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone that in August 2015, Gartner named the Internet of Things as today’s most hyped emerging technology. The pervasiveness and increasing interconnectivity between instrumented devices—sensors, vehicles and machines of all types—is understandably generating enormous excitement around the potential for the IoT. Every day, the world is becoming more instrumented, interconnected and intelligent. “Things” are connecting, recording, reporting and reacting. They are providing insights that drive informed actions. Estimates of the value of this flourishing marketplace vary widely, but even the more conservative estimates of a few trillion dollars point to an inescapable truth—the opportunity is huge.

Imagine the possibilities

Just imagine the possibilities as more and more devices come online while securely and intelligently interacting with each other. The more data that can be captured, analyzed and transformed into actionable insight, the greater the potential for unlocking innovation and improving operations. And really, it’s not just about the data being generated, shared and analyzed, but also about how those intelligent, interconnected devices interact with people. It’s really exciting. But there’s a danger we may lose our way in the fog that lies between the hype and what’s here, and between the potential and the achievable. the dangers of implementation

In mid-2005, Gartner stated that over 50 percent of data warehouse projects failed due to lack of adoption with data quality issues and implementation failures. In 2012, this metric was further scaled back to fewer than 30 percent. The parallelism here is that the Internet of Things hype is similar to data warehouse and business intelligence hype two decades ago when many companies embarked on decentralized reporting and/or basic analytics solutions. The problem was that some companies tried to build in-house, large enterprise data warehouse platforms that were disconnected and inherently had integration and data quality issues. A decade later, 50 percent of these projects failed. Another decade later, another over 20 percent failed. Similarly, companies are now trying to embark on Internet of Things initiatives using very narrow, point-focused solutions with very little enterprise IoT strategy in place, and in some cases, engaging or building unproven solution architectures.

A prime example of leveraging IoT data

However, when implemented appropriately, real business value can be extracted from Internet of Things data. For example, weather data is providing businesses the opportunity to transform their industries, whether they are in the insurance industry, energy and utilities or even government. IBM recently announced plans to acquire The Weather Company, which has a platform that ingests, processes, analyzes and distributes enormous data sets at scale, reliably and in real time. The platform generates an astonishing 4 GB of data each second. Its sophisticated models are capable of analyzing data from three billion weather forecast reference points, over 40 million mobile phones, 50,000 flights per day and more. The Weather Company’s mobile and web properties handle approximately 26 billion requests a day, which is over seven times the volume of the leading search engine, and it is the fourth most daily used mobile app in the US, serving 66 million unique monthly app visitors. The Weather Company brings 30 existing B2B mobile solutions and experience gained from working with over 4,100 business customers in the media, aviation, energy and insurance industries. Furthermore, The Weather Company has the experience to make the most of the data with a formidable team of meteorological data scientists.

How you can partner with IBM for IoT success

In 2008, IBM anticipated the emergence of a Smarter Planet and pioneered the infusion of intelligence into global management systems. Only IBM delivers enterprise IoT by enabling businesses to transform their industries with new services, offerings and sources of revenue. This is accomplished by allowing innovators who engineer the next generation of connected devices, and those who operate those devices, to deliver new business outcomes through better innovation, operation and customer engagement.

The capability to support a consistent IoT platform from chip IP to industry application is new in the Internet of Things world. No one else has the type of seamless connection needed for fully extending IoT analytics to the cloud. ARM mbed partners are gathering data that will flow directly into the IBM IoT platform using IBM advanced compute resources on IBM Bluemix. At last hype meets here. And we’re only beginning. We’re going to accomplish an enormous amount with the Internet of Things. We’re going to invent. We’re going to identify and seize emerging opportunities. And we’re going to create possibilities as yet undreamed. Regardless of your specific organization or role, I’m confident each of you has a set of business challenges that the Internet of Things can help address.

And IBM is the right ally to help you meet those challenges head on. IBM has a history of proven success. We can offer step-by-step guidance that can help you turn the potential of the Internet of Things into real-world achievements. Discover the power of weather data, advanced analytics and the Internet of Things in the insurance industry via a demo from IBM.