A lot of buzzwords have cropped up relating to IoT. Just about anything with connectivity or a sensor is being called “smart.” Makers of IoT products and solutions often use terms like actionable data and digital transformation to describe what IoT does. One could be led to believe that by buying an IoT product or solution, any number of benefits will ensue – from predicting equipment failures to automating machines to shut down for safety reasons.

The reality is that the majority of organizations looking into IoT do not have a clear vision of what IoT is and how it can help improve their business.

I recently spoke with the IoT Institute about a report from BPI Network that shows upward of 50% of industrial organizations they interviewed are unsure or still researching IoT. And of the rest who were already committed or implementing IoT, only 12% said they were doing an excellent job at using real-time insights and systems monitoring capabilities.

Why is IoT so difficult to understand and implement when there seem to be such clear benefits? Much has to do with factors beyond just technology implementation. Organizations need to have clear business use cases and objectives for what they will do with all the data they collect. In addition, the lack of widespread IoT deployments and reluctance of companies to share their IoT experience makes it difficult for others to follow their lead.

The companies that identify a beneficial use case and desired business outcome first, and then look at how IoT can get them to that goal are the ones who will benefit the most.

Read more about the BPI survey and IoT Institute’s perspective here.