A total of 71% of global businesses are now gathering internet of things (IoT) data in some form or other, and 90% expect to increase spending over the next 12 months, according to a report produced by analysts at 451 Research.
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Its latest study of 1,000 enterprise IT buyers from around the world, entitled Voice of the Enterprise: IoT Organisational Dynamics, revealed that businesses were pushing ahead with IoT initiatives and spending to support them. Those with initiatives already underway expected to increase their spending by 33% over the next 12 months.
The study said deployments and usage would be strongest around data and transactional intensive workloads, such as data analytics and security, with IoT-specific projects likely to include analysis of financial, healthcare and industrial functions, uptime and reliability of IT equipment, and monitoring efficiency and costs.
According to the statistics, 68% of enterprises were taking advantage of IoT data for operational optimisation, and 42% to develop new products or enhance existing ones.
The analysts also identified a distinct proportion of IoT transitions occurring without departmental oversight, as IT systems, networks and infrastructures “naturally” became IoT-enabled by intelligent sensing and analytics capabilities that now come baked into IT hardware.
“When it comes to IoT adoption, pragmatism rules,” said Laura DiDio, report author and research director at 451 Research.
“The survey data indicates enterprises currently use IoT for practical technology purposes that have an immediate and tangible impact on daily operational business efficiencies, economies of scale and increasing the revenue stream,” she said.
When it came to the risks associated with the IoT, security was predictably at the top of the list, with 50% of report respondents considering it the main impediment to successful IoT deployment.
A total of 41% cited a perceived lack of return of investment (ROI). Still others were concerned about a perceived skills shortage, with 46% saying they were having difficulty filling IoT-related positions, although 54% said that a lack of IoT-trained staff was not a problem for them.
Consumers still lag
Meanwhile, a separate report from Ernst & Young (EY) – released just after Christmas – found that only 19% of households were likely to purchase or use home IoT products in the next five years.
This backs up a similar report produced by IoT sector specialists Beecham in October 2016, which said home IoT technology was simply irrelevant to most users. Respondents to the Beecham report said home comforts and easy living were the main incentives to invest, whereas home IoT businesses tended to market practical applications first.
EY’s version claimed that smart heating systems were the most popular IoT systems for the home, but even so only 26% of respondents said they were likely to buy them. Consumers seemed to be turned off by kitchen appliances, particularly smart fridges, with just 15% likely to invest, and smart ovens, with just 14% likely to invest.
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This came in spite of 34% of respondents saying they were very interested in IoT technology. EY said understanding the diverse needs of modern homeowners and refining smart home tech in the light of consumer feedback would be a vital objective in the coming years.
“While ‘connected’ lifestyles are the norm, the majority of consumers have yet to be convinced of the value of smart home products. Awareness levels remain low, and a fragmented market of competing solutions is hindering the development of simple offerings that resonate with households,” said EY lead telecoms analyst Adrian Baschnonga.
“Improved dialogue with customers is essential if service providers are to translate interest from early adopters into mass market demand. Rethinking approaches to packaging, pricing and product installation can all help create a more convenient experience that will widen the appeal of smart home technology in the long term,” he added.