IoT two to five years away from transformational impact: Gartner

The Internet of Things (IoT) has reached the bottom of the Trough of Disillusionment, according to Gartner?s 2020 Hype Cycle for Supply Chain Strategy. The market will begin to climb out of this trough, as the technology advances and practitioners succeed in defining the best opportunities for the unique measurement and tracking capabilities of IoT.

The Trough of Disillusionment highlights technologies and markets where interest has waned as experiments and implementations fail to deliver (see Figure).

?IoT is in the trough because we see that many companies are implementing the technology, but they struggle to define the best opportunities for using its measurement and tracking capabilities,? said Mike Burkett, vice president distinguished analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain Practice. ?We see further potential to grow its use over the next several years. Gartner estimates that installed IoT endpoints for manufacturing and natural resources industries are forecast to grow to 1.9 billion units in 2028. That is five times from 331.5 million units in 2018.?

Figure: Hype Cycle for Supply Chain Strategy, 2020

Source: Gartner (September 2020)

According to Gartner?s 2019 Digital Business Impact on the Supply Chain Survey, 59% of respondents had partially or fully deployed IoT across the entire organization. Another 22% were piloting and 15% had not invested yet, but planned to do so in the next two years.

?We have categorized IoT as a transformational technology because it has the potential to impact many areas of the supply chain in a broad and profound way,? Burkett said. ?While the most obvious use cases are in manufacturing, IoT can also help improve customer service because it enables leaders to better understand customer needs. More mature organizations will also be able to create information-based products such as providing visibility and analytics for better asset usage.?

For supply chain leaders, looking to implement or expand IoT capabilities, it?s important to work with subject matter experts to identify supply chain processes that can benefit from IoT. ?In some cases, processes will have to be redesigned to accommodate IoT capabilities. If the subject matter expert is an external provider, supply chain leaders should always check how they might use ? and possibly monetize ? captured data,? Burkett concluded.

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