A recent report indicates that while firms are benefiting from investments in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), the complexity of the technology can prove costly.

An April white paper entitled “The Hidden Costs of Delivering IIoT Services”, was authored by Cisco Jasper, a global IoT platform. The white paper determined that companies saw “internal productivity and efficiency” as the key incentives to integrating new IIoT technology into their business models.

And with IDC predicting over 30 billion IoT devices by 2020, connected equipment looks to become ubiquitous in the coming years.

However, the rush to integrate IIoT can weigh on companies who aren’t prepared for the added costs.

“Running an IoT business can be especially complex for companies in the industrial monitoring and heavy equipment industries,” said the report. “Devices are geographically dispersed with long and complicated supply chains.”

Unique challenges that IIoT can present include operations challenges that “can drain resources to launch, monitor and manage devices into the field.”

IIoT impacts cost management approaches where data usage must be monitored in real time in order to make adjustments prior to being billed.

Likewise the white paper recommends that potential customer issues also need to be spotted early, to make sure that a low mean time to repair is maintained.

Cisco Jasper calls out scalability

The report sees scalability as another key concern, pointing out that firms need the infrastructure to enable them to quickly meet customer demands, operational needs, and expand to new markets.

“Adding to the complexity, Industrial IoT budgets don’t come from just one group or department within an organization,” observes the white paper. “Although IIoT is seen as a strategic investment, industrial monitoring and heavy equipment industries organizations struggle to create a compelling business case showing a tangible return on investment.”

Despite the wide variations in IIoT initiatives, the white paper sees three costs in particular are common across most geographies: technical support, network communications and administrative labor.

“As you consider the long-term health of IIoT services, appropriately anticipating the costs will help you counterbalance the value of increased revenue and new opportunities,” the report concludes. “With a full understanding of the total cost of delivering an IIoT service, you can make smart, profitable and sustainable business decisions.”