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How do you roll out a global IoT strategy?

Increased demand driven by long-term trends of IoT, WLAN, BYOD, connected LED lighting and office densification means that for the enterprise IT infrastructure project owner, the game just got a whole load more complicated. What was once an occasional requirement to create or upgrade existing IT infrastructure is now becoming a more regular occurrence, with significant implications if what’s delivered doesn’t match what was planned.

We’re pretty familiar nowadays with ‘headline’ IP-enabled devices such as CCTV, security and access control systems and it’s probably fair to say it’s become second-nature for organisations to include their bandwidth and storage requirements when designing a corporate LAN. However, fuelled by the relentless march of technology and the ubiquity of high-speed connectivity, the variety and availability of IP-addressable devices that offer new and attractive benefits to enterprise organisations, is rising rapidly. As organisations seek to leverage the numerous benefits of the Internet of Things and IP-enabled devices, the challenge for project owners is now to accurately predict what a structured cabling system should look like to cope with an expanding and diverse requirement, anything up to 25 years in the future.

With a greater dependency on IP-enabled business systems and a desire to move towards instant visibility and control of global systems, it has now become vital for installations to be consistent across every site so as to guarantee long-term functionality. Achieving this can be a real problem for enterprise project owners though, when you consider that potentially, the geographies involved will almost certainly mean a different installer is required at each site. An enterprise trialing an IP-enabled or IoT strategy on a single site might be reliant on the services of a local, trusted installer; they’re good at what they do but if the trial is successful and a global implementation is approved, it can be difficult, if not impossible, for a small installer with limited employee resources to satisfy the needs of a customer with a multi-site requirement. This is particularly relevant in international deployments where local regulations (as well as attitudes towards employee / third-party safety and the importance of insurances) differ from installer to installer, let alone country to country. There are financial implications too because an installer commonly operates as a sub-contractor under several layers of non-specialist M&E contractors. These additional layers can create unnecessary delays communicating project status updates and add unseen and entirely unnecessary cost, for no significant customer benefit. For global IoT or IP-network deployments then, the lack of a central deployment advisor providing full global support is a potential hurdle when regulatory compliance and risk mitigation are non-negotiable.

It’s clear that delivering on an IoT or wider IP-enabled strategy requires significant thought and a way of working that ensures the maximum benefit is derived from emerging technologies. A successful enterprise-wide deployment requires a consistent approach to design, planning, installation and commissioning, as well as accurate project progress reporting on geographically-distant sites. Finally, the cost savings gained through shortening the supply chain and the economies of scale generated by taking a consistent approach to purchasing also start to come to prominence, which can only be a good thing when budgets are tight.

Dave Hitchins
Global Marketing Manager
Molex Connected Enterprise Solutions
December 2016

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