vege - Fotolia

Three-quarters of internet of things projects are at risk of failure

At Cisco’s IoT World Forum in London, the network supplier releases statistics suggesting that most IoT projects are at risk of, or doomed to, failure

The vast majority of internet of things (IoT) projects are either at risk of failure or doomed to fail, with almost two-thirds stalling at the proof of concept stage, and only 26% of businesses reporting a successful project completion, according to a report released at Cisco’s IoT World Forum in London.

Cisco’s statistics, which may be perceived as somewhat disappointing by IoT cheerleaders, were sourced from nearly 2,000 IT decision makers based in India, the UK and the US, but as Cisco senior vice-president and general manager of IoT and applications Rowan Trollope pointed out, the failure rate was “not for lack of trying”.

With IDC predicting the worldwide IoT installed endpoint base could grow from £14.9bn at the start of 2016 to £82bn in 2025, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins spun the report to suggest that the negatives statistics in reality highlighted the positive potential of the IoT. “We’re in phase zero. This is the low-hanging fruit,” he said during his keynote presentation.

“This next wave of connectivity is going to change everything about what we do. We don’t even know what’s possible yet,” said Robbins.

“We do know that, as we embark on these projects, we can improve customer satisfaction, drive greater efficiency and improve product and service capability.”

Cisco said those embarking on their first IoT projects could help things along by taking time out to consider human factors such as corporate culture, organisation and leadership. Three of the four top factors dictating success or failure in the IoT world have to do with people and relationships, it said.

This could include, but would not necessarily be limited to, collaboration between IT departments and lines of business (LoBs), noting that IT decision-makers were more likely to declare their IoT project a success compared to business decision-makers.

Cisco also noted the importance of a technology-centric internal culture, proper training and expertise, and external partnerships with industry suppliers and service providers.

It also encouraged businesses to learn from their IoT cock-ups. Just under two-thirds of its survey’s participants said learnings from stalled or failed IoT projects had helped them justify and accelerate future IoT projects.

Read more about the IoT

In his presentation, Robbins touched extensively on the necessity of baking in security controls across the entirety of the corporate network to safeguard IoT projects from bad actors.

The IoT is particularly vulnerable to attack because most endpoints can’t protect themselves, and virtual local area networks (VLANs) can’t be created fast enough or at scale to support the IoT’s security needs.

To address these problems, Robbins announced Cisco IoT Threat Defence, a security architecture that draws together multiple Cisco products and services including network segmentation, behavioural analytics, device security, remote access, cloud security, malware protection and firewalls.

Cisco said this would offer visibility and analytics of traffic to and from IoT devices, detecting anomalies, blocking threats, identifying compromised endpoints and mitigating user error. The new service will be formally launched at Cisco Live in Las Vegas in June 2017.

Read more on Internet of Things (IoT)