Having an Internet of Things (IoT) foundation is critical to enabling connected products, assets and supply chains, according to new report from International Data Corp. (IDC).

Through IoT, manufacturers can leverage a combination of software, sensors and IP-enabled connectivity to change products and processes, says the report. It offers guidance to help manufacturers justify investment in IoT and an IoT foundation for incremental improvements and transformation.

"Developing a roadmap for IoT and an IoT foundation will ensure that the investments satisfy manufacturers’ IT and business expectations,” Kimberly Knickle, IDC Manufacturing Insights practice director, said in a statement.

“IT organizations can and should play an important role in an efficient and agile rollout of IoT across the various use cases in manufacturing," Knickle said.

By creating an IoT foundation, manufacturers have the opportunity to increase their real-time visibility into their own operations as well as into their customers' operations, the report says. From the analysis of that information, manufacturers can develop the insights they need to change how they generate revenue and profit, whether it's through more data-driven execution or new products and services.

"We expect manufacturers to eventually weave IoT into many of their products and processes,” Knickle said. “Today, manufacturers should invest in providing the business with access to IoT technology elements they need to drive experimentation and increasing adoption. Sharing tools and technologies across the business will allow the investments and best practices to be shared more easily across departments and requirements."

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