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Enterprise IoT projects will be costly, lengthy and vulnerable, says Gartner

By 2020, half of new business processes and systems will incorporate elements of the internet of things, but will be expensive, liable to overrun and extremely vulnerable

The impact of the internet of things (IoT), both on day-to-day life and corporate business models, is increasing rapidly as deployment costs and other barriers to entry continue to drop, according to analysts at Gartner.

This trend means that by 2020, four years from now, over 50% of major new business processes and systems will incorporate some element of the IoT.

“Uses that were previously impractical will increasingly become practical,” said Gartner vice-president and distinguished analyst W Roy Schulte.

“The IoT is relevant in virtually every industry, although not in every application. There will be no purely IoT applications. Rather, there will be many applications that leverage the IoT in some small or large aspect of their work.

“As a result, business analysts and developers of information-centric processes need to have the expertise and the tools to implement IoT aspects that play a role in their systems.”

According to Schulte and his team, the growth in IoT adoption will have some worrying implications for enterprises that, up to now, have not been expected.

According to Gartner, three-quarters of IoT projects will overrun through 2018, possibly by as much as the full length of the original project schedule, and more ambitious and complex projects are liable to run longer.

CIOs will have to make compromises on some projects to keep them on track, however. Not surprisingly, this means a fair number of IoT deployments will develop significant weaknesses in performance, security and integration into existing processes.

In the long term, this could result in a number of projects having to be refactored, and possibly even recalled and redeployed entirely, warned research vice-president Alfonso Velosa.

“Product-centred organisations will be the worst affected,” said Velosa. “They will seek to launch smarter, connected products, although this will often be a reactive, tactical approach that seeks to address their competition’s IoT product.

“However, even for organisations conducting internally centred projects that may focus on cost reductions, there will be people issues. Most of these issues will centre on the normal introduction of a new technology model.

“It will be complicated by emerging business models that will require process and cultural change. Addressing both of these matters will lead to projects going over schedule.”

Read more about the IoT

  • Orange has beefed up its internet of things strategy and announced the deployment of a long-range network to support IoT projects in 17 urban areas in France.
  • Without much hype, some industries have used sensors and connected devices for years. Now, IoT devices are about to take off in a slew of new markets.
  • A pocket-sized pollution monitor is one of the first applications to use free energy from Wi-Fi and mobile phone signals to power the IoT.

Gartner vice-president and distinguished analyst Ted Friedman warned that IoT deployments will be vulnerable to risks arising from a new type of black market activity

Friedman believes this black market will arise to sell fake sensor and video data to enable criminal activity, and could be worth more than $5bn (£3.5bn).

Because the integrity of the vast amount of data collected by the IoT will be so important in making personal and business decisions – such as medical diagnoses or access to important machinery – it will be tempting to manipulate it for malicious ends.

“A black market for fake or corrupted sensor and video data will mean data can be compromised or substituted with inaccurate or deliberately manipulated data,” said Friedman. “This scenario will spur the growth of privacy products and services, resulting in an extensive public discussion about the future of privacy, the means to protect individual privacy, and the role of technology and government in privacy protection.”

By 2020, addressing the black market and other compromises around IoT security will push overall security budgets up, said Gartner, with IoT costs expected to account for 20% of annual security budgets, compared with 1% in 2015.

“Major cyber security suppliers and service providers are already delivering roadmaps and architecture of IoT security in anticipation of market opportunity,” said Earl Perkins, research vice-president at Gartner.

Perkins said small startups delivering niche IoT security around network segmentation, device-to-device authentication and simple data encryption were offering first-generation products and services.

“Large security suppliers have already begun acquiring some of these IoT startups to support their early roadmaps and fill niches in their portfolios,” he added.

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