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Large scale IoT deployments double in 12 months

Vodafone’s fifth annual look at the IoT market reveals that the percentage of companies with more than 50,000 connected devices has effectively doubled in the past year

The proportion of enterprises and public sector organisations rolling out large scale internet of things (IoT) projects with more than 50,000 connected devices has doubled in the past year, from 3% to 6% of all organisations engaging with the IoT, according to a state-of-the-market report produced for mobile network operator Vodafone.

This is the fifth year Vodafone has published its IoT barometer report. This year’s study, which was conducted by Circle Research, surveyed a sample of 1,278 IT buyers from 13 countries in both private and public sector organisations.

It set out to explore, among other things, how adoption is growing the changes to the landscape; why organisations are buying IoT and what benefits they are seeing; what actions buyers are taking to push ahead, and why they see security as an IoT enabler; the landscape in key verticals; and what buyers expect the landscape to look like five years hence.

“Over the five years of this report we have seen the number of companies that have adopted IoT double, and projects have grown from small pilots to global rollouts of tens of thousands of connected devices,” said Vodafone IoT director Erik Brenneis.

“IoT is clearly here to stay and the future looks exciting as 79% of adopters are saying IoT will have an enormous impact on the whole economy in the next five years. I believe we can now say IoT has come of age and is proving itself across all industries and geographies.”

Overall, 29% of organisations surveyed said they had now adopted the IoT, with the transport and logistics and retail sectors the most enthusiastic buyers. Once again, the study reflected trends first highlighted in the 2015 report, which said that organisations that started to use IoT tended to do more of it once they had established its value – this year, 84% agreed that their adoption and use of IoT solutions had grown in the past 12 months.

Just over half (51%) said the IoT was either increasing their revenues or opening up new revenue streams, and 60% now believe that Digital transformation was basically impossible without incorporating some element of the IoT.

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Vodafone also reported that the range of benefits that organisations were getting from the IoT showed a tendency to increase alongside adoption, with more buyers citing greater insight into how their businesses worked, reduced costs, and improved employee productivity as the biggest pluses.

In terms of barriers to adoption, security was still the biggest barrier for organisations considering a deployment – however, once adopted, these concerns tended to ebb away to some extent: just 7% of organisations with over 10,000 connected devices said security was their top worry. Vodafone found that organisations were proactively taking more steps to tackle security concerns, including spending on training, working with specialist security organisations and recruiting more security experts, which might account for the dip in concern.

The report also noted substantial growth in connectivity requirements, and found that companies were tending to favour a mix of technologies to support their IoT deployments, ranging from fixed line to low power wide area networks (LP-WANs).

Vodafone said a typical large-scale deployment used four different modes of connectivity, with mobile and Wi-Fi the most prevalent, and newer technologies, including narrowband IoT or LP-WAN less in use today, but beginning to attract more interest.

Read more on Internet of Things (IoT)

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