Breaking Ground in Industries Slow to Embrace Connected Technologies
Illustration: © IoT For All

IoT can unlock opportunities for industrial professionals, providing increased connectivity and real-world insights that enable confident decision-making, enhanced customer satisfaction, fewer production stoppages and more. However, some industries are much slower than others in adopting connected technologies. Which strategies could help overcoming IoT adoption barriers?

Showing Peer Success to Reluctant Leaders

The restaurant industry has been slow to use connected technologies because many people believe they are too complicated. Staff do not necessarily have extensive tech backgrounds and some may worry about the impacts a technology failure could have on their establishments during busy periods.

Ben Simmons is the co-founder and chief operating officer of Table Needs, which offers connected point-of-sale technology for restaurants. Simmons said the COVID-19 pandemic increased restaurant owners’ willingness to adopt such products. Still, he confirmed clients primarily request simplicity and reliable functionality before going with connected tech solutions.

Hesitant leaders in the restaurant industry and others may feel more upbeat about the prospect of success if they hear real-life examples of others who have made IoT work for them. The Cheesecake Factory is an excellent example, with connected sensors monitoring each refrigeration unit. Such oversight over temperature control is essential for highly perishable items like cheesecakes.

The restaurant’s menu is extremely diverse, offering everything from crab wontons to flatbread pizzas. Temperature sensors are an excellent way to ensure food safety and provide customers with consistently tasty experiences.

Data from several hundred locations throughout the United States suggests shopping malls with The Cheesecake Factory branches have better financial health than those without. The analyst making this conclusion noted it was likely due to executives making good decisions about where to open new restaurants. However, another less likely possibility is people specifically going to malls to eat at the chain and then spending money elsewhere during their visits. IoT supports brand consistency for this popular eating establishment.

Biopharmaceutical manufacturing began in the late 70s and numerous improvements have occurred. For example, companies began adopting single-use technologies in the early 2000s, allowing them to boost productivity and safety.

However, biopharmaceutical manufacturers are behind others in adopting IoT technologies. A 2024 paper highlights why that is the case. For example, the industry relies on highly complex processes. Incorporating additional technologies into them could prove prohibitively time and cost-intensive, prompting leaders to resist potentially positive changes.

The paper also identified a lack of regulatory support and the downtime associated with adopting technologies as other industry barriers. While discussing solutions, the authors emphasized the importance of digitalizing and automating processes in biopharmaceutical plants before proceeding with IoT technologies. They also mentioned how developing standards and guidelines to support adoption in this industry would reduce costs and increase the availability of compatible off-the-shelf products.

People may also feel more open to adopting connected technologies for biopharmaceutical manufacturing if they see a clear link between those options and industry trends. For example, real-world evidence can show a newly developed medical product’s efficacy.

Research shows a frequent and high adoption rate for IoT sensors that can gather data from clinical trial participants. Wearable devices capture 24/7 insights, offering a much richer picture of patient experiences than occasional face-to-face visits can. Relatedly, anxiety in medical settings could lead to unreliable readings from some patients. Connected devices solve that issue by showing patient statistics as they live life as usual.

A broad assortment of clinical trial data could give biopharmaceutical leaders a clear idea of whether a new medicine works as intended, allowing them to gauge its likelihood of receiving regulatory approval. Additionally, tracking side effects provides executives with necessary insights to describe the drug accurately to potential users and health care professionals.

Encouraging Federal Government Members to Pursue IoT Trials

Federal government members are also slower than others to adopt connected technologies. That’s partially due to slow bidding and approval processes restricting how quickly government agencies can try new options. However, many authorities also worry security shortcomings in connected devices could have catastrophic consequences, including national security threats.

However, government decision-makers should be more open to exploring connected products if they run trials first. One asset-tracking solution tested by the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence achieved a 95 percent asset recovery rate for items using the company’s product.

In another case, the U.S. Department of Defense installed private 5G networks at several military bases, allocating $600 million to this aim. One Marine Corps logistics site in Georgia will investigate how IoT could enable warehouse management and asset tracking.

Once government leaders see real-world evidence of connected technologies paying off, they may adopt them more quickly. Their buy-ins may not break through the logistical red tape that could slow other parts of the adoption process. Still, the advocacy could show others in authoritative positions why IoT technologies are worth considering and how trials support that assertion.

Overcoming IoT Adoption Barriers

Many people resist change and may balk at the option of using connected technologies. Fortunately, the case studies here show some ways forward that apply to all slow-adopting industries. Considering them helps in overcoming IoT adoption barriers. These tips can help people break down barriers and become leaders for others to follow.

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