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How Philippine businesses can benefit from IoT

Adrian M. Reodique | July 1, 2016
Internet of Things spending in the country is estimated to reach US$766.8 million in 2020.

The Internet of Things (IoT) spending in the Philippines is estimated to surge from US$55.1 million in 2014 to US$766.8 million in 2020, according to analyst firm Frost & Sullivan.

"This could still be larger; it is possible that local enterprises are not yet sold to the value of IoT or find the service risky in light of high-profile hacking incidents. But we believe that all of that will be dispelled [soon]," said IP Converge Data Services Inc. (IPC) President Rene Huergas, citing the report at the 2016 Philippine Cloud Summit.

He also highlighted the importance of cloud computing in enabling IoT devices to run efficiently so as to enable businesses to make "more meaningful" connections with their customers.

"It is easy to see cloud and IoT working hand-in-hand because only the cloud can handle the massive data generated from the IoT devices and help enterprises make sense of it. We can say that without cloud, implementing an IoT strategy will be much more difficult task," explained Huergas.

Meanwhile, King-Yew Foong, Research VP and Chief of Research for Communications Service Providers at IT research and advisory company Gartner, said IoT can help businesses achieve operational efficiency, improve customer experience, and discover new business models and income streams.

In the retail sector, for instance, the radio frequency identification (RFID) technology can help business owners track their goods from the production stage to the distribution channel to the storage area and all the way to the shop floor. By attaching RFID tags on products, employees using mobile device scanners can just walk by the storage area and the inventory will be updated automatically. This saves employees the hassle of scanning barcodes on goods one by one, thus reducing the time needed for stock taking.

Aside from improving operational efficiency, RFID also allows business owners to identify which products are quickly being sold, giving them a better understanding on customer trends. 

Adopting the Internet of Things

According to Foong, businesses must first set a clear goal before adopting IoT. 

The three things that need to be considered before jumping into this new technology trend are people, business processes, and the devices.

Foong said it is important to identify the skills and talent needed for the success of any IoT project. Additionally, businesses must also consider who and what processes will be affected by the IoT initiative. Once use-cases have been identified, he said businesses can start figuring out which technologies to use.

While IoT brings about new opportunities and benefits for the businesses, it also presents challenges, especially when it comes to security and integration. "When you're embarking on the IoT journey, never underestimate the complexity of the adoption," warned Foong.


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