Credit by Nick Ismail

Robert Schmid, chief IoT technologist at Deloitte Digital, explains Deloitte's attitude to the Internet of Things and it's importance moving forward

1. Proof-of-value

The consulting giant has moved beyond proof-of-concept with IoT and it’s now focusing on proof-of-value: a combination of strategy, operations and technology. “How can we bring this all together and what value can we deliver,” asked Schmid?

He referred to one of his particular clients who make plasticware. According to Schmid, this client had more demand than they could actually produce, so they ventured to make another manufacturing line just to produce more.

By connecting a variety of different processes and things, applying analytics and advising on appropriate actions, Deloitte were able to not only help increase their throughput by almost 10%, but also save the client approximately £20 million by them not creating another manufacturing line.

“The proof-of-value in this instance is obvious,” he said. “Now we’re rolling it out to multiple factories across the country.

“It’s very much about increasing operational equipment effectiveness, reducing downtime and those kind of things,” with the IoT.

2. Think big, start small, scale fast

Deloitte’s ‘tagline’ when it comes to best practice for an IoT strategy is ‘think big, start small, scale fast’. This isn’t a new or very innovative tagline, it’s something start-ups have used for a long time. But it’s particularly relevant in the space of industrial IoT, where larger companies have been slow to embrace the necessary start-up mentality to survive in this era of disruption.

When clients begin this journey, Schmid recommends starting with three or four small projects. “And then I say, learn fast rather than fail fast: take those lessons and scale up what works.”

He explained: “if you have portfolio of small things, if you stop some of them, some of them will still deliver value.”

Starting small also lends itself to the vital aspect of privacy and security that must be factored in when implementing an IoT strategy. When organisations start small they can really focus on these elements by testing the new way of working with employees and the implications of working with new partners.

3. IoT regulations and standards

As a security side note, as the IoT becomes an increasing presence in a variety of industries, will regulations and standards begin to follow?

There are lots of different groups who have started working in this direction — but “I don’t think we’re at any place right now where we have one standard that’s really leading,” explained Schmid.