IoT and industrial automation have been big news in 2018. But the question remains whether the latest technologies and industrial trends are able to bring energy efficiencies in smaller companies who have so much on the line when it comes to investing in new technologies. Here are some things you should consider as a small company looking to take the leap.

A Forecast for Increased Demand Response

2019 is likely to see the rapid expansion of Demand Side Response as incentivization reaches smaller companies and the technology surrounding it develops a new level of automation. The potential to save energy, cut carbon emissions, and provide a company with recurring revenue as they reduce demand during low-frequency events and allow access to their generated assets during peak times will be transformative for the energy complex.

Beware of Security Concerns

Despite the promises IoT makes for the industrial sector, the report shows that 75 percent of respondents don’t have a strong game plan for bringing these technologies into play. There are a few reasons for that. The first is concerns around security. 37 percent of the businesses surveyed said they were concerned about the security issues related to IoT (as connected machines are potentially hackable) and 33 percent were concerned about privacy. Cybersecurity and internal security concerns are legitimate when it comes to protection of intellectual property, trade secrets, and controlled access. Hackers are continuously getting cleverer and more effective as technologies develop. The investment in IoT requires not just the purchase and maintenance of new technologies but also in the security required to protect business interests. And as the technologies themselves are still new, the security built around protecting those interests is still developing as well.

Understand the ROI

Other concerns businesses have related to the skills gap and investment required to implement IoT successfully. 35 percent of the survey respondents said outright that they were worried about hiring or training staff to manage the new technologies and 34% of respondents were apprehensive about the loss of legacy systems and data quality. The cost of investment in IoT is not minimal. Besides the skills gap mentioned above, purchasing and installing new machines or retrofits can be a heavy financial burden for many companies. The return on investment is difficult to pin down as well when it comes to big data and analytics, so it may take some time for businesses to start seeing its success from competitors before they initiate their own adoption strategies.

A Growing Trend in the Digital Future

There is no easy answer to the wide variety of challenges faced in the industrial market, even with some of these great new technologies becoming widely available. Regardless, now is the right time to reexamine your company’s portfolio through the lens of the new set of conditions you face and the new technologies available. The payoff for a digitally oriented organization, adapting quickly to new technologies, is very real. Data shows that across all industries, companies that earmark money for R&D spending on software earlier than their competitors enjoy greater revenue gains. To be a disruptor in your market requires invested time and money, but also some risk taking. If you can be bold in the light of IoT, you will be the company others strive to catch up to.

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