New technologies continue to emerge at an unprecedented rate, fueled, in part, by the global pandemic. But adoption often lags behind invention. CompTIA’s Emerging Technology Community recognizes the gap between the promise and profit of emerging technologies and has shifted the focus its of annual list of emerging technologies to uncover the top use cases for artificial intelligence (AI) and internet
of things (IoT).

These two technologies have topped the list three years in a row, and with good reason—use cases that highlight the power of AI and IoT solutions are plentiful, helping companies create efficiencies, save time, and increase revenue (to name a few
benefits). The 2021 Emerging Technology Top 10 list takes a deeper dive into AI and IoT, illustrating how they’re transforming business. This is where the rubber meets the road, where managed service providers (MSPs) can identify solutions to
better address customer challenges and turn promise into profit.

To determine the top use cases for both technologies, the Emerging Technology Community utilized CompTIA data from a recent quantitative study that consisted of an online survey fielded to professionals during February 2021. A total of 400 businesses
based in the United States participated in the survey and identified the most common use cases for IoT and AI. The Emerging Technology Community then narrowed that list to five use cases for each technology based on member input and experience.

Download the full infographic.

Top 5 Artificial Intelligence (AI) Use Cases

1. Predictive Sales/Lead Scoring

Predictive sales prioritize prospective customers by filtering out unqualified leads so sales reps can spend more time on leads that are likely to convert. Many sales and marketing platforms now offer scoring modules that forecast results and develop
campaigns intended to generate higher quality leads.

How do predictive sales and lead scoring use AI?

AI enables more effective prioritization of sales prospects via lead scoring and provides detailed, real-time analytics. As more data becomes available, predictive algorithms improve and buying patterns are established, which increases prediction quality
and helps streamline sales efforts.

2. CRM/Service Delivery Optimization

Customer relationship management (CRM) and service delivery optimization systems monitor and analyze customer buying and usage patterns to increase sales efficiencies and profitability. Sales reps use this information to better understand their customers
and identify opportunities to cross-sell and upsell.

How do these systems use AI?

Customer transactions are increasing in volume and complexity—meaning there’s more data available and it’s more complicated. AI can efficiently process this data to detect patterns and provide accurate customer insights, allowing organizations
make better decisions throughout the sales cycle.

3. Chatbots/Digital Assistants

Chatbots and digital assistants are applications used to conduct online conversations via text or text-to-speech, in lieu of live agents. This allows companies to scale, leveraging existing resources, while delivering a “human-like” customer

How do chatbots use AI?

These applications learn from historical customer inquiries, identify patterns and anticipate likely customer behavior. Bots can also be deployed using Natural Language Processing (NLP) to interpret human voice patterns and provide answers in an intuitive

4. Cybersecurity Threat Detection

Companies can enhance their security against cyberattacks when they leverage AI-powered cybersecurity platforms. AI-powered cybersecurity threat detection platforms leverage machine learning to analyze historical data and autonomously predict and detect
potential cyber threats.

How does AI enhance cybersecurity threat detection platforms?

AI makes it possible to analyze a tremendous volume of data, thereby detecting known threats in real time, minimizing damage and data loss.

5. Marketing Automation

AI-powered tools harmonize data from various sources and automatically compile predictive analytics about customers to gain insight into preferences and, in turn, create marketing campaigns to capture them as qualified leads.

How does marketing automation software use AI?

AI software aggregates data to learn customer buying cycles and motivators, allowing companies to communicate effectively and deliver sales messages at the perfect time, without any human effort.

Top 5 Internet of Things (IoT) Use Cases

1. Asset Tracking

Asset tracking streamlines labor-intensive and error-prone equipment and inventory management by monitoring assets and their use in real-time throughout a location, such as a building, warehouse, yard or campus.

How does asset tracking use IoT?

IoT sensors are built into or attached to equipment in order to collect location and usage data in real time. This data is then sent it back to a centralized management software for processing and analysis.

2. Industrial Monitoring

Industrial monitoring improves performance, productivity and efficiency of industrial processes in manufacturing, mining, oil and gas, utilities and other industries by monitoring the condition of assets, predicting maintenance and ensuring quality.

How is IoT used in industrial monitoring?

Industrial monitoring uses smart sensors and actuators to assess machine status and convey that information to centralized management software.

3. Smart Badges

By issuing sensor-based badges to employees and guests, organizations can take a simple yet sophisticated approach to identifying, locating, and providing secure access to personnel in their facilities.

How do smart badges use IoT?

Smart badges are portable trackers in an ID card that use embedded IoT sensors to provide accurate and continuous geolocation for tracking, zone notification, and monitoring of workforce safety and security.

4. Fleet Management

Fleet management allows fleet operators to automate processes by providing visibility in real time to monitor vehicle maintenance, usage, and driver performance. 

How is IoT used in fleet management?

Fleet management leverages telematic sensors attached to vehicles that communicate information back to management software enabling organizations to better allocate resources, plan and adapt to changing

5. Smart Buildings

Smart buildings enable organizations to monitor various building characteristics to optimize a building’s environment and operations, such as automating and controlling security or air conditioning.

How do smart building use IoT?

Leveraging connected sensors and software, organizations can monitor, manage, and analyze multiple building systems to gain insights into patterns and trends to optimize building and/or campus operations.

Additional Emerging Technology Resources

Artificial Intelligence in Business: Top Considerations before Implementing AI

Emerging Business Opportunities in AI

Business Opportunities in Emerging Technologies: Internet of Things

Turning New Regulations into IoT Opportunity: An IoT Use Case

Emerging Technology Assessment

Join the Emerging Technology Community

The Emerging Technology Community is exploring how industry-leading solution providers, vendors and their customers are taking emerging technologies from promise to profit by deploying AI and IoT to enhance their operations, deliver new solutions and
generate revenue. Join us to learn more.