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IT Priorities 2023: security dominates IoT investment plans 

With increased devices and sensors collecting data, there is more rich information for businesses to use as analysis and in training – but security still tops wallet share, says report

Driven by a surging 5G sector that has seen an advance in network deployment, the global internet of things (IoT) industry has matured in the past 12 months, with companies more focused on operational efficiencies, reducing costs and increasing revenue and profit. As artificial intelligence (AI) becomes more prevalent, many companies are also working to accelerate the rate that IoT-derived data can be analysed and turned into useful insights in data centres and at the edge.

This is according to the latest TechTarget/Computer Weekly IT Priorities survey for 2023, which was fielded from November 2022 to February 2023 and represents the views of 156 technology decision-makers from UK&I. The study covers three key areas: broad technology initiatives that are more important this year than last; what’s changing with organisations’ technology budgets; and technology investment plans for the upcoming year.

Most respondents have responsibility for more than three functional areas – that is they wear multiple hats – and this number has increased year on year (YoY).

Looking at overall tasks, the survey found that functional areas of responsibility have grown. Just over half (51%) said their primary focus was on cyber security/security operations and risk/compliance, while 45% noted cloud, infrastructure and operations.

Application/software development and business applications were cited by 38% and 31% respectively. IoT came in as the ninth out of the top 10 of highest priorities, with 16% noting that it was the area they were most focused on.

A fundamental of the current IoT market is that with more IoT devices collecting data, there is more data for analysis and training. When it comes to supporting a digital-ready workplace and hybrid work environment, where 84% of all firms said they would invest in Future of Work initiatives, the study found that 10% of firms saw edge computing/IoT/IIoT as having become significantly more important to their organisation’s future over the past two years. The new functionalities in IoT is also one of the drivers of taking legacy ERP software users to make a transition to the cloud.

In terms of what is driving IoT spend in 2023, the IT Priorities survey found that when professionals were asked about their network architecture investment plans, 14% indicated IoT network infrastructure.

Looking at the leading 10 IoT-related technologies or initiatives organisations plan to deploy in the next 12 months, security continued to dominate with 45% of the study indicating investment in that area, followed by analysing data from IoT devices and sensors (39%); IoT device management platforms (38%); IoT data sensors (34%); 5G (31%); IoT connectivity upgrades (30%); developing IoT apps (30%); industrial IoT/industrial control systems (27%); low power WAN (23%); and Edge infrastructure to support IoT (20%).

Despite the current surge in interest about the use of artificial intelligence, autonomous systems (AI/ML) to support IoT came in as the joint eleventh priority.

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