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Why Pioneers Deploy IoT and AI with Digital Twin Apps

Across the globe, many forward-thinking leaders continue to provide funds for Information Technology (IT) innovation that's intended to fuel their digital growth. Some apply proven ways to reduce their Communication Services spend, which is typically the largest IT expense, and thereby reinvest that budget.

As an example, despite the disruptive impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic, 47 percent of organizations plan to increase their investments in the Internet of Things (IoT), according to the latest worldwide market study by Gartner.

Following the COVID-19 lockdown, the survey found that 35 percent of organizations reduced their investments in IoT, while a larger number of organizations are planning to invest more in IoT implementations.

IoT and AI Market Development

One reason behind the increase is that while companies have a limited history with the Internet of Things use cases, those implementers did produce a predictable ROI within a specified timeframe.

"They use key performance indicators (KPIs) to track their business outcomes and for most of them they also specify a time frame for financial payback of their IoT investments, which is on the average three years," said Benoit Lheureux, vice president at Gartner.

In addition, as IoT investments are relatively new, most companies have plenty of near-term cost-saving opportunities to pursue -- such as predictive-maintenance on commercial and industrial assets like elevators or turbines, and optimization of processes such as increasing manufacturing yield.

As a result of COVID-19, 31 percent of survey respondents said that they use digital twins to improve their employee or customer safety, such as the use of remote asset monitoring to reduce the frequency of in-person monitoring, like hospital patients and mining operations.

Furthermore, the Gartner survey findings uncovered that 27 percent of companies plan to use digital twins as autonomous equipment, robots, or vehicles.

"Digital twins can help companies recognize equipment failures before they stall production, allowing repairs to be made early or at less cost," said Mr. Lheureux.

According to the Gartner assessment, a company can use digital twins to automatically schedule the repair of multiple pieces of equipment in a manner that minimizes impact on operations.

Gartner expects that by 2023, one-third of mid-to-large-sized companies that implemented IoT will have implemented at least one digital twin associated with a COVID-19-motivated use case.

The enforcement of safety measures has also fueled the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) in the enterprise. Surveyed organizations said they have applied AI techniques in a pragmatic manner.

Twenty-five percent of organizations are favoring automation (through remote access and zero-touch management), while 23 percent are choosing procedure compliance (safe automation measures) in order to reduce COVID-19 safety concerns.

For example, organizations can monitor work areas using AI-enabled analysis of live video feeds to help enforce safe social distancing compliance in high-traffic areas such as restaurants and manufacturing lines.

Outlook for IoT and AI Innovation Growth

Gartner expects that by 2023, one-third of companies that have implemented IoT will also have implemented AI in conjunction with at least one IoT project.

In addition, I believe that more CIOs and CTOs will reassess their IT infrastructure maintenance, telecom network architecture, and business technology allocations during the remainder of 2020.

Savvy leaders know that this is a unique opportunity to imagine the upside possibilities, think strategically, and then move ahead with essential digital transformation projects that will reignite growth in the post-pandemic economy, and beyond.

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