Zebra Technologies is a Diamond member of the Internet of Things (IoT) Community
By Drew Ehlers | April 09, 2019

Study: Enterprises are Embracing IoT Technologies to Increase Operational Intelligence

World IoT Day Celebrates the Versatility and Scalability of IoT Solutions, Demonstrates Their Ability to Help Accelerate Creation of Data-Powered Environments

There are multiple technologies that can enable organizations to gain greater intelligence about their operations. These include, but are not limited to, augmented reality, blockchain, predictive analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. They are each designed in their own way to augment humans’ data processing capabilities to improve decision making and inform actions. Using aggregated data inputs from sensors, mobile technologies and user-created computer databases, these advanced technologies can multiply the level of “shared” intelligence within an organization and expedite the distribution of that intelligence across previously disparate geographic and business system silos.

However, there is one category of “intelligence”-driven technology solutions that is quickly shifting from a visionary ambition to a priority investment among enterprises in nearly every industry worldwide: the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT technologies are uniquely able to connect the physical and digital worlds. They can analyze volumes of data and generate detailed workflow-specific reports to decision-makers in real-time or near real-time. These deep insights are challenging to obtain at comparable speeds using other technologies.

That doesn’t mean that technologies such as AI are not a smart investment for some organizations. It just means that IoT is a smart investment for all organizations. IoT is widely accessible, highly secure, and able to integrate with a host of IT architectures. It has also demonstrated its effectiveness in facilitating more strategic decision-making by business leaders and front-line workers alike. But those are just a few reasons why it is quickly gaining traction across global industries.

Eighty-six percent of the companies surveyed for the 2018 Intelligent Enterprise Index commissioned by Zebra expect their investments in IoT solutions increase in the next 1-2 years. Two-thirds of respondents have already “established a plan on how to organize and analyze their data.” But only half (49 percent) are on a clear path to becoming an “Intelligent Enterprise” by criteria defined by industry, government and academia leaders at a 2016 Innovation Symposium: The Intelligent Enterprise on the campus of Harvard University.

That is why participation in virtual consortiums such as the IoT Day Slam on World IoT Day – and active contributions to the global IoT Community® – are so critical for companies of all sizes and in all industries. Yes, innovators such as Zebra benefit from the shared insights of other IoT solution developers. But companies that are applying the technologies designed by Zebra stand to gain just as much, if not more, from this collaborative environment. The whole purpose of the IoT Community is to “focus on the adoption and application of IoT in commercial environments.” With 23,000+ members, it is “the world’s largest and longest standing CxO community of senior business leaders and IoT practitioners…” all of whom are “…seeking to understand and contribute to applying the technology or overcoming the wide variety of barriers, inhibitors, and technical and operational issues.”

Whom better to learn from than your peers and – yes, in some cases – your competitors?

At the end of the day, every organization (including yours) is seeking a more holistic view of its operations, a more accurate analysis of current performance and risk and a greater awareness of future growth opportunities. The versatility of IoT platforms will accelerate the creation of data-powered environments, a requirement in today’s on-demand economy for industrial, field service and consumer-oriented businesses alike. Investing in the right IoT technologies will also fuel more collaborative mobile workflows and provide the real-time guidance you need to confidently make critical operational planning or issue resolution decisions based on facts versus instinct or estimations. (Just look at what Problem Solutions has been able to accomplish with the Zebra Savanna™ IoT platform.)

In other words, an IoT investment is essential to becoming a truly intelligent enterprise. And the insights gleaned from business leaders, technology developers and early adopters in the IoT Community will help you make the right investment the first time.


Editor’s Note: See why CRN named Zebra to its 2019 Internet of Things (IoT) 50 list.

Healthcare, Manufacturing, Field Operations, Retail, Public Sector, Warehouse and Distribution, Transportation and Logistics, Hospitality,
Drew Ehlers
Drew Ehlers

Drew Ehlers currently serves as the Global Futurist and the Head of Global Partners. 

He previously served on the Zebra Ventures team and in several product management roles for Zebra's Chief Technology Office where he was responsible for producing advanced machine-learning models and algorithms for predictive analytics to solve critical business problems for Zebra and its partners and customers. This included emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer vision and blockchain. 

He currently holds contributing board positions on the Global AIM Blockchain Council and the Retail Advisory Council for Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence at Northwestern University.

Mr. Ehlers has more than 19 years of experience within the B2B technology industry and has held numerous leadership roles. Previously, he served as Senior Vice President at Gallagher Bassett and Vice President of Channel for the North America region at Zebra.

He holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland College and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

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