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Technology decision-makers within UK enterprises have revealed a need for a new type of internet of things (IoT) connectivity service provider to address pain points such as technical support, security of sensitive data and implementation of new technologies such as private LTE and eSIM, according to a new study by Pod Group.
The study, carried out by Sapio, questioned 200 senior IoT decision-makers in the UK working in organisations employing more than 500 people across multiple sectors. It was carried out in the context of the boom in IoT deployments that has led to a shift in enterprise connectivity requirements with a need for more flexible, secure and resilient networks designed for mission-critical IoT applications.
As well as highlighting the need for service providers to address these changing demands, among the top-line findings was that almost half of IoT decision-makers believe enterprise ownership of the IoT network would give them greater control and visibility.
The study showed that the most important requirement for organisations was a need for greater technical support and troubleshooting focused on their application, with 45% of organisations citing this concern. This was a particular concern for IoT decision-makers from manufacturing and industrial companies, with almost three-fifth (57%) saying this was one of their biggest pain points.
Security of sensitive business data was also found to be an issue, with 41% of respondents saying they are concerned that the level of security available on networks today is not sufficient for their IoT network. Scalability of the network/global coverage was the third-biggest concern overall, with 39% citing this as critical to their IoT network.
In addition to the changing connectivity requirements of enterprises due to the specialist nature of IoT applications, 92% of organisations were found to have concerns about being locked into a single service provider. Their main concerns were that as technology advances, they may become “stuck” with older technology that is not optimised for their deployment (55% of respondents) and the lack of flexibility on offer (50%). Fears that they may be locked into a provider and unable to benefit from pricing changes elsewhere was also cited by half of respondents (49%).
Pod Group suggested that as a possible consequence of these concerns, it was logical that the survey also found that almost half (46%) of respondents believe enterprise ownership of the network would give their organisation the most control and visibility over the connectivity of their IoT deployments. Those in the industrial and manufacturing sectors were most convinced of the need for enterprise ownership (60%), while only one-third of IoT decision-makers in retail looked to enterprise ownership (32%).
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Looking at the key trends from the report, Pod Group CEO Sam Colley noted that as more and more enterprises begin to see the value of IoT applications and roll out new or extend their current deployments, some traditional connectivity providers were struggling to innovate to meet the demands being put on them in terms of connectivity, management and security.
Increasingly, and perhaps as a direct result of this, there was a growing demand from organisations to bring the ownership and control of their IoT networks into the enterprise, he added. This was particularly true in the manufacturing and industrial sectors.
“With IoT devices being increasingly targeted by cyber criminals and with IoT deployments becoming more complex, global and tailored to individual enterprise needs, allowing the enterprise to effectively ‘own’ its IoT network is the only logical approach,” said Colley.
“However, enterprises may not have the skillsets or experience in-house to deploy and manage an IoT network. This is where a new breed of enterprise network operator is emerging to provide managed services customised specifically to the enterprise and deliver services beyond just standard connectivity.
“We are working with our customers to help them do just that, providing the level of support and security that fits with their individual needs and allows them to maximise the potential of their deployments.”