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Research from global internet of things (IoT) connectivity specialist Eseye has revealed a profound change around the benefits derived from IoT in the past 12 months, with as many as 86% of respondents from senior IT positions being more focused on operational efficiencies, reducing costs and increasing revenue and profit, turning to the internet of things (IoT) for stability.
The 2022 State of IoT adoption report was undertaken by an independent research organisation, Opinion Matters, in July 2022, among 500 senior decision-makers and implementers of IoT strategy in five sectors in the UK and US. It explored the impact that external pressures have on investment, demand and the overall success of IoT initiatives, as well as the opportunities and challenges facing organisations adopting IoT.
Fundamentally, Eseye noted that IoT has experienced several false starts in the past decade, but said the survey showed IoT has finally come of age. Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents (64%) stated that IoT is either mature or reaching maturity, or that adoption is growing significantly, with organisations looking at multiple projects.
In the 2021 survey, respondents cited challenges with device security, hardware design and device onboarding, as well as testing and certification. In 2022, these challenges persist, with security of device and environment the third most pressing challenge (22%), followed by device onboarding (21%), alongside hardware design (20%). Eseye said these complex IoT deployments have seen demand for professional and managed services soar, with 81% of respondents saying they have used them for either initial deployments or ongoing management.
Additionally, 76% of respondents said they are prioritising IoT in their business in the next 18 months, in an effort to reduce costs and increase operational efficiencies. However, the research revealed a profound change around the benefits derived from IoT in the past 12 months compared with last year’s report.
More than three-quarters (78%) of the current survey respondents expect to increase the number of devices in their IoT estates in the next 18 months, and larger IoT estates anticipate the strongest growth, with 95% expecting IoT estates of more than 100,000 devices to expand further.
Among the other key findings were that 81% of respondents said they have used managed or professional services for initial deployments or ongoing management, and 31% of respondents said support with professional services would make future IoT initiatives more successful. Nearly a third said a single platform for all IoT connectivity would make future IoT initiatives more successful, while, in the UK in particular, private 5G/LTE networks were the top technology driver (36%). Intelligent edge hardware (37%) was the most popular in the US.
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Almost nine in 10 respondents said they were now more focused on operational efficiencies, reducing costs, and increasing revenue and profit – and turning to IoT for stability. This was markedly different to the benefits revealed in 2021, where respondents were perceiving that IoT was delivering a competitive advantage. This, noted Eseye, was potentially a response to the worsening economic and geopolitical environment, with organisations prioritising exploiting current assets to ensure the business is prepared for worsening economic conditions.
In line with this renewed focus, budgets were found to have increased for the second year running, with 96% of respondents saying they plan to increase budgets in the next two years compared with 89% in 2021. Some 51% of respondents said they plan to boost spending by between 51% and 100%, compared with 44% of organisations in 2021.
“It is clear that IoT is seen as a sound investment that should remain a priority even when finances are under pressure,” said Eseye CEO Nick Earle. “The fact that businesses are forging ahead with projects, despite uncertain economic factors, is one of the strongest indicators that IoT is starting to realise its potential.
“No longer a ‘nice to have’, our research found that IoT is fundamental to business cases, and the foundation for future performance across all sectors and industries surveyed,” he said. “IoT projects are clearly maturing, and are fundamental to helping organisations navigate the volatile economic environment we find ourselves in.
“Clearly, the increased investment in budgets demonstrates how organisations are prioritising IoT. Nevertheless, persistent challenges remain around IoT hardware design, device security, and also the need for more commercial flexibility from a single platform for IoT connectivity.”