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Aruba Atmosphere: Businesses at odds with IT departments over IoT

A survey of business and IT leaders conducted for wireless networking supplier Aruba has found a lack of cohesion between departments is affecting IoT usage, confidence levels and security across Emea

The market for internet of things (IoT) technologies is highly fragmented across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (Emea), thanks to a disconnect between IT leaders and business leaders over what the IoT actually is and what purpose it serves, according to research conducted for wireless and mobile network supplier Aruba.

In its report, The Emea IoT showdown: Business vs. IT, which was released at its annual Atmosphere customer and partner event in Paris, Aruba said despite healthy and rising adoption rates, there was a clear lack of alignment between IT and other lines of business when it came to the IoT, to the extent that some respondents were not sure if they had adopted the IoT.

As a result, different countries in Europe seem to be seeing drastically differing levels of IoT adoption, security and general understanding, said the Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE)-owned supplier.

“It’s clear that there are conflicting views in departments on IoT, but with IoT adoption moving at an unprecedented rate and the business reporting clear business value from IoT, it is essential that there is an open dialogue around IoT to ensure cohesion on IoT adoption. Conflicting priorities could mean disruption in its success in the organisation,” said Aruba Emea vice-president Morten Illum.

One of the biggest disconnects came when IT leaders and business leaders were asked to say what the IoT was. Just under two-thirds of IT specialists defined it is “adding internet connectivity to everyday objects” but almost half of business leaders said it was about “automation of building services”.

This was possibly a reflection of some high profile early stage examples, such as that of Denmark-based facilities management firm ISS, which as previously reported by Computer Weekly is using IBM Watson IoT to manage 25,000 client sites.

IoT examples were another divergence point between IT and the rest of the enterprise, said Aruba, with IT leaders saying the number one example was the monitoring and maintenance of critical equipment, while business leaders were keener on location-based services and beacons.

There was also disagreement over whether or not enterprises were even using the IoT – 58% of business leaders believed they were but only 47% of IT leaders did.

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Nevertheless, reported Aruba, both sides reported a general sense of optimism around using the IoT to improve workforce productivity, reduce operational risk and generate more efficiency and better value.

By country, Spain was found to be leading in both adoption and understanding, with Italy also figuring highly. The Italians were also highly optimistic, or perhaps blasé, about IoT security. However, the UK had some of the lowest adoption rates and least understanding across the whole study.

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