Indeed, the International Transport Forum conservatively estimates that heightening travel demands could see global CO2 emissions from transport increase by 60 per cent by 2050, a figure that is based on the assumption of significant progress with the adoption of greener technologies. Without such progress, that figure is expected to be considerably higher.

The transport industry needs to get smarter if the sector is to successfully accommodate these changes and limit its impact on the environment.

After decades of incremental progress, radically new approaches and solutions are needed. While IoT alone will not enable the sector to clean up its act, the respondents in this research recognise its potential to transform their operations, bringing with it a raft of economic, social and environmental benefits. Connected road signs and traffic lights, for example, can help to better manage the flow of traffic in our cities and motorways by flexing speed restrictions in line with localised requirements. Remote diagnostics and predictive maintenance on vehicles, meanwhile can keep downtime to a minimum and make safety improvements.

Anticipated IoT application deployment levels for the transport sector (%)

Smart monitoring of asset levels
Employee tracking through wearables
Energy consumption monitoring
Monitoring product usage
Business process automation
Smart security management
Wide area controls such as vehicle management

What benefits has/would your organisation expect to see following the successful deployment of your organisation’s IoT-based solutions? (%)

Better health and safety across the organisation
Greater workforce productivity
Improved service delivery capabilities
Business efficiencies – time and cost savings
Increased amount of data/insights collected
Creation of new product/services
Increased demand for existing products
Wider access to data/insights throughout the organisation
Better real world knowledge/understanding to improve strategy and objectives
Increased demand for existing products

However, despite these intentions and hoped-for benefits, deployments to date have, in many cases, not been as smooth or straightforward as they might have been. Just one in five (19 per cent) adoptees state that they didn’t face any major issues when they rolled out their IoT deployments, and while some respondents have reported some early successes in achieving the benefits from their IoT projects that they had initially anticipated, that success rate is far from universal.

How would you score your organisation's achievement of expected benefits of IoT so far and for the future? (%)

Improved customer experience

Reduced downtime

Clearer decision-making

We have already achieved this
We have not achieved this but still expect to in the future
We have not achieved this and now do not expect to in the future

While these benefits may yet be realised, the data suggests that a greater reliance on partners may help speed up the return on investment for IoT-based initiatives, as, at present, there is a greater-than-average tendency in the transport sector to go it alone. Over a quarter (26 per cent) stated that they were not actively looking to work with partners to support their IoT deployments, whereas this was only the case for 16 per cent of the entire research base. Moreover, where partners are used, they are much more likely to be brought in to help with the initial development and deployment of IoT solutions than with their on-going management.

To what extent is your organisation using/planning to use external partners in the development and deployment of its IoT-based solutions? (%)

Development

Deployment

On-going management

All managed in-house
Use an external provider to assist with some of this
Use an external provider to assist with as much of this as possible
It has not yet been decided

IoT is complicated business and for one company to master the whole IoT value chain is a tall order.

IoT deployments will typically depend on the experience, technical capabilities and support from a whole ecosystem of partners to be successful. Moreover, organisations that attempt to develop their IoT capabilities on their own steam will be putting an unnecessary brake on innovation. Deriving value from IoT initiatives rests on their ability to scale, which in turn rests upon organisations’ access to the correct staff. However, as competition in the labour market for individuals with sought-after IoT, data security and data analytics skills hots up, this access will prove increasingly difficult. With economies of scale on their side, specialist partners can help businesses overcome these bottlenecks and make their IoT deployments successful.

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