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Internet of Things Ecosystems Mature Through Partner Programs

ABI research concluded that Internet of Things partner programs offering education and certifications produce more mature IoT ecosystems.

internet of things partner programs increase infrastructure maturity.

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- Recent ABI Research found that partner programs and their member companies have Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystems with a high maturity grade.

The increase in IoT maturity was largely impacted by partner programs that offered members access to training and certification programs, according to researchers. The number of organizations receiving a high IoT maturity grade from ABI Research has nearly doubled to 59 percent since 2015.

ABI Research analyzed and assessed more than 500 companies across all major industries, including healthcare, on their IoT capabilities. 

"Within these ecosystems, there is a continuing shift from traditional volume-based partnerships to value-based partner engagements," ABI Research Analyst Ryan Harbison said in a statement. "These IoT programs require a higher level of engagement from both parents and participants who together seek to offer a differentiated solution using a diverse and sometimes undifferentiated set of technologies."  

The assessed ecosystems examined B2B use cases and how organizations use IoT solutions to decrease operating costs while increasing operations. ABI’s research identified a 40 percent increase in the number of companies offering various enterprise IoT solutions.

"It is crucial to track changes within these ecosystems, because these developments reflect the trajectory of the overall IoT market," Harbison concluded. "Enterprises and end-users across all vertical markets will continue to turn to these ecosystems to more effectively navigate the otherwise fragmented technology and supplier landscape."

IoT devices are on the rise in healthcare as organizations deploy connected medical devices into their health IT infrastructures. The IoT is expanding the capabilities of medical devices by allowing organizations to clearly see usage patterns and collect data.

Connected medical devices are capable of gathering valuable data from patients and clinicians to improve patient care and overall operations. But if an organization’s IT infrastructure isn’t able to handle or process the connections and data, the organization can’t fully utilize connected medical devices.

With the growth of the healthcare IoT, organizations need to prepare their infrastructure environments for the many challenges constantly connected devices can present. The challenges include network capacity, device management, and security.

Larger healthcare organizations deploying IoT solutions need to consider the strain the extra devices put on the network. An average ICU room can have up to 20 connected medical devices in it. A ward can have as many as 20 rooms, each with 20 devices. The number of connections adds up quickly as each department introduces their share of IoT devices into the IT infrastructure ecosystem.

A large organization with 30,000 computers connected to the network may also be supporting around 85,000 connected medical devices. These connected IoT devices put massive strain on the network and can cause outages if the traffic is not managed and monitored properly.

Healthcare organizations are also charged with managing all the IoT devices in their network. Adopting a device management solution that gives IT administrators complete visibility and control over the network is crucial to successful implementation.

Network visibility allows IT staff to know when and how connected medical devices are communicating with the network and where improvements can be made. Network visibility also gives healthcare organizations control over their networks and the devices connected to them.

IoT security is also a challenge for healthcare organizations. Many IoT solutions are cloud-based to give organizations more flexibility. Cloud-based security solutions are required to monitor how data is being collected and stored, and how IoT and connected medical devices are accessing the data in the cloud.

Organizations must have solutions in place to authenticate users and device identities to ensure they are not being hijacked for network access.

Data encryption is also a common IoT security measure to protect the network. Encryption hides data from unauthorized users and acts as a failsafe if clinical data is stolen.

IoT solutions are important to the future growth and workflow of healthcare organizations, but can hinder progress if the proper IT infrastructure measures are not taken to ensure successful deployments.