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Progress on business IoT adoption slower than expected

The Economist Intelligence Unit last looked at business IoT adoption in 2013. Its latest business adoption index shows slow progress

The Internet of things business index 2017: transformation in motion report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has found that many companies have not evolved their internet of things (IoT) strategies as far as they had hoped.

Based on a survey of 825 senior business leaders, almost six out of 10 (57%) respondents agree “somewhat” or “strongly” with the statement: “Our progress with the IoT has not happened as fast as we expected.”

When the EIU looked at the state of IoT business adoption in 2013, it found that, on average, many worldwide were still in the research stage (at point 4 on a scale of 1 to 10) and were slightly more likely to be using the IoT for internal operations and processes than in external products or services.

The score for the use of IoT in external products and services has increased from 3.88 in 2013 to 4.33. Use of IoT for internal operations rose slightly from 4.25 in 2013 to 4.34 in 2016.

The EIU found that North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific have all made some progress on external IoT products and services. However, it found that the North American index for internal IoT adoption slipped from 4.00 in 2013 to 3.78 in 2016.

According to the EIU, a fall in oil prices in 2016 may have contributed to less of a business need for energy efficiency. Only 1% of North American respondents identify “energy management” as one of the areas where the IoT brought about the greatest positive change, compared with 16% who expected this to be the case back in 2013.

Asia-Pacific’s score rose fractionally from 4.35 to 4.53, while European businesses had the biggest index gain, with internal operations rising from 4.39 in 2013 to 4.64 in 2016.

The EIU found that 45% of businesses rate technology innovation as the most important factor behind successful IoT strategies, while 32% put data analytics as the top success criteria.

The report suggested that companies may find it hard to acquire the right data skills, since IoT sensor data tends to be stream-based, while data scientists are more accustomed to manipulating structured data.

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