For many industries, from transportation to utilities, manufacturing and more, field workers are pivotal to the success of business operations, the satisfaction of customers, and the growth of the bottom line.
Field workers are now at the forefront of digital transformation where artificial intelligence (AI), smart mobile devices, the Internet of Things (IoT) and business process management (BPM) technologies have created new opportunities to better streamline and transform traditional workflows and workforce management practices.
To better understand how these technologies are being applied and the impact they are having in the enterprise, Red Hat commissioned research firm Vanson Bourne to survey 300 IT decision makers from organisations in the U.S., Europe and Asia that employ a significant field workforce. The survey examined investment trends, current and future adoption patterns, use cases and implementation challenges.
According to the results, strong technology investment is expected by respondents with an average increase of 25% through November 2018, reflecting the importance of technology in transforming field service operations. Top business factors identified as influencing this investment include increasing field worker productivity (46%), streamlining or optimising field operations and processes (40%), and improving customer service (37%).
When we consider the current trends that are broadly driving conversations in the tech industry, AI is one of the leading topics. While still an emerging category—currently implemented by only 24% of respondents—we believe the technology has great potential across a variety of industries and use cases. It comes as little surprise that an additional 30% of respondents plan to implement AI in 2018, aligning with an average anticipated increase in investment of 26% for certain respondents over the same period.
The AI umbrella encompasses a number of specific technologies for those respondents that have either implemented already or plan to implement to address more specialised uses cases, including:
Predictive analytics (55%)
Machine learning (46%)
Chatbots or virtual digital assistance (45%)
Robotic Process Automation (44%)
Despite being more established technologies, mobile, BPM and IoT seem to defy their relative maturity in the market with respondents indicating double-digit growth across the board in both investment and implementations through November 2018. While 67% of respondents have already implemented mobile apps for field service operations, an additional 19% plan to implement new mobile apps, supported by a 20% average expected increase in investment by certain respondents.
The outlook for BPM and IoT is similar. Respondents expect implementations to grow from 61 to 81% for BPM and from 53 to 73% for IoT, fueled by 20 and 24% average expected increase in investment by certain respondents, respectively.
However, along with the appetite for technology investment and implementation growth, respondents are keenly aware of the technical challenges their organisations face in developing and implementing applications for field workforce management. Access to timely and relevant data is critical for field workers in remote locations, harsh environments, or areas of low network connectivity, as is the ability to protect that data as it flows between the field and back-end systems.
As a result, securing data access was the top challenge identified in the survey at 34%, followed by:
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The Internet of Things (IoT) is bringing about a new era of connectivity in the digital age, say analysts Frost & Sullivan. It is connecting critical business sectors through a network of secure data flow, analytics, and management. It is also bringing numerous opportunities for sensor participants through security technologies required for remote services and enhanced accessibility of devices.
The total sensors market in security and surveillance applications was worth $6,267.9 million (€5112.16 million) in 2016, with image sensors holding the largest market share at 23%. The market is expected to reach $12,012.1 million (€9797.19 million) by 2023.
North America and EMEA dominate the market, driven by aging infrastructures, but APAC is the fastest growing due to rapid infrastructure development, strong economic growth, and favourable government regulations. However, challenges for sensor manufacturers and suppliers include increased competition, leading to pricing pressures, lack of product differentiation, and lack of common global standards.
The growth of IoT is contributing to rapidly evolving security requirements, with the areas of robotics and biometric and RFID sensors offering the greatest opportunities. Robotics is expected to be the future of security and surveillance, with considerable investments in research and development in this space. In addition, the demand for drones and AGVs remains strong, especially in defense, commercial, and institutional spaces.
Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis report, Sensors in Security & Surveillance, Global Forecast to 2023, covers global trends for sensors used in security and surveillance applications across industries such as industrial, commercial, institutional, building automation, infrastructure, and security and defence. The analysis also explores the impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) on security and surveillance.
“In commercial and residential applications, biometric recognition used in access control systems is also witnessing a gradual increase in interest,” said Ram Ravi. “In addition, cloud networking, a revolutionary two-way interactive service delivery platform, is expected to create a technological explosion in the homes and buildings services market, particularly in commercial and residential security applications. This will enable homes and buildings participants to adopt new business models to provide attractive cloud-based services through a secured network.”
Three big predictions for sensors in the global security and surveillance market:
Internet of Things (IoT) is paving the way for industry convergence and enabling machine-to-machine (M2M) communications for better business decisions. Sensors form the physical layer of the IoT architecture;
Development of new communication protocols will ensure interoperability and provide standardisation, particularly in applications for perimeter security, intrusion detection, and access control systems; and
Retail, healthcare, and finance are all expected to offer considerable growth opportunities for sensors in biometrics.
Sensors in Security & Surveillance, Global Forecast to 2023, is a part of Frost & Sullivan’s Measurement & Instrumentation Growth Partnership Service programme.
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