Industrial Internet of Things (IoT)

Overcoming challenges during IoT adoption

Get unstuck during early stages of IoT adoption with these measures and case studies to maximize adoption success.

Get unstuck during early stages of IoT adoption with these measures and case studies to maximize adoption success.

Many enterprises view IoT adoption as a transformational journey. Over the past 10 years, many companies adopting IoT experienced spectacular success, while other companies got stuck early in the journey. There is a clear pattern for success along this transformational journey and there are measures a company can take to maximize adoption success.


IoT Adoption Phases

As with many transformational journeys, the immediate impact on business operations may not be clear at the beginning of the adoption process. Surveys by Economist and ARM show that ROI satisfaction increases as a company goes deeper into the IoT adoption process [1]. This IoT journey has three phases: 1) Visibility, 2) Discovery, and 3) Transformation.

Phase I: Visibility

A company typically acquires visibility on their physical assets and processes. Sensors are set up for data acquisition, as is a cloud service to analyze and visualize data. Due to start-up costs, ROI advantages may be modest in this phase.

Phase II: Discovery

Armed with stronger practical IoT insights, a company expands out in both sensing capabilities and data analytics. More sensors are installed leading to increased data acquisition, and data analytics become more valuable. At this critical stage, companies frequently make incredible and often startling discoveries. If the integration processes have not been well executed or planned, other companies may struggle to see as much value.

Phase III: Transformation

As is typical of transformational projects, as companies gain insights from analytics and process changes, they see the competitive advantages gained with major restructuring: revising business operations, product redesigns, or changes to product messages and marketing tactics and targets. These disruptions are the point of transformations and lead to rebirth: the company’s competitive strength goes up by a significant step function.

visibility discovery transformation

IoT Adoption Journey Case Studies

To understand the adoption phases along the IoT journey, it’s useful to examine a couple of real-world adoption case studies.


example of IoT adoption case studies


Case I: Vending Machine Service Company

Visibility. A vending machine service company started the IoT adoption journey by connecting their vending machines to the network. IoT sensors were placed in each vending machine. Their goal was to gain better visibility into the items sold in each vending machine.

Discovery. After the initial rollout the company utilized vending machine sensor data to realize that they could restructure their refill operation, which is the process of sending operators out to refill the vending machines. Due to the labor costs, this process dominates the operations costs.

Transformation. Based upon the individual sensor data for each item, the company knew exactly what sold in each machine. These IoT data were used to prepare refill best-selling items for each vending machine in advance. Items for each machine were placed in a bin and loaded onto trucks at the warehouse. This process improvement eliminated operators having to count and prepare items enroute, which were the bottleneck to refill efficiency.

Result. The number of refills went up from an average of 7 machines per day to 30 machines per day, resulting in an efficiency improvement of more than 4x, using the same number of human field personnel.

Case 2: Water Dispenser Company

Visibility: A service-based water dispenser company started the IoT adoption journey by installing water quality sensors in their water dispensers. Their goal was to determine when the water filter in their dispensers needs to be replaced. Water filters are needed because the dispensers take in tap water and produce filtered drinking water. Without the sensors indicating when filters needed to be changed, the water could become unhealthy.

Discovery: Since the sensors maintained water at a consistent healthy state, the company realized that they could focus their product message on “Healthy Drinking Water."

Transformation: The company added an LCD screen on their water dispenser to show water quality, and they made sure that the water quality always stayed “High” by replacing the water filter on-time. They also built a mobile app to allow users to check water quality remotely.

Result: Due to shifting market messages and targeting an audience concerned with health benefits, the company quickly emerged as a market leader in the enterprise water dispenser market and grew their market share by more than 10x.

Lessons Learned

We have worked with many companies on their IoT adoption journey and clear patterns have emerged. Companies that successfully adopt IoT almost always have the following characteristics:

  • They embraced digital transformation. They believe that digital transformation will change their business even when the specific outcomes were not clear.

  • They take small but quick steps. While they may not have clarity on long-term outcomes, they set up small projects with achievable milestones that keep them moving forward one step at a time.

  • They experiment. They understand that digital transformation is an experimental and evolutionary process and that some experiments will fail, so they have a method to experiment with new technologies and processes. Fail quickly is frequently their motto, so that they can rapidly shift their processes.

Other companies have not enjoyed the same successes in their IoT adoption. Delayed success is frequently caused by two main trends:

  • They set overly aggressive expectations. IoT adoption is an iterative process, so companies that set aggressive expectations ,inflexible project definitions and monolithic development schedules will likely waste time, money, and resources.

  • They are not able to move from intent to actionable steps with defined success metrics. Designing measurable, actionable steps is the key to IoT adoption success.They frequently do not have interim checkpoints and corresponding metrics to quickly gauge success or failure.


Accelerating IoT implementation with Prescient IDA

As companies execute their IoT journey, Prescient Devices are here to help. Prescient IDA is a leading IoT design automation platform enabling enterprises to accelerate IoT implementation. Prescient IDA includes the following key features:

  • Ease of use. Industry’s first platform to enable data scientists and IT engineers to easily build complete IoT solutions using low-code distributed programming technology.

  • Security. Advanced end-to-end security with content-based monitoring and full audit trail offers unparalleled control and security, particularly for the last mile of IoT solutions.

  • Performance. State-of-the art IoT technology framework maximizes performance and scalability and minimizes latency.

  • Standardization. Open and standardized technology framework with strong ecosystem support provides choice and flexibility for customers.


About Prescient Devices

The mission of Prescient Devices is to help customers achieve transformational IoT adoption. Our IoT Design Automation platform enables agile development of IoT projects without the IoT technology complexity barrier.



[1] “The IoT Business Index 2020: a Step Change in Adoption”, The Economist Intelligence Unit,


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