Focus on the Internet of Things (IoT) is increasing significantly in the tech world, but just how fast is the rate of IoT adoption? Are we giving enough (or too much) air time to this technological phenomenon?
Judging from the latest stats and expert commentary, IoT should be on every channel partner’s agenda.
Strong optimism for IoT
Vodafone’s IoT Barometer 2017/2018 survey shows the number of companies using IoT has more than doubled, from 12% in 2013 to 29% in 2017, with the biggest adopters being in transport, logistics and retail.
The survey of 1278 respondents in 13 countries (including Australia and New Zealand) also shows increasing optimism over the benefits of IoT:
- 51% of IoT adopters say IoT is increasing revenues or opening new revenue streams
- 67% of large scale IoT users (with over 50,000 connected devices) have reported significant returns from IoT
- Where businesses report an increase in revenue from IoT adoption, it averaged 19%
- Where businesses reported a reduction in costs from IoT adoption, the average was 16%.
New Zealand alone has seen a sharp rise in IoT adoption, with the number of organisations implementing IoT almost doubling from 13.7% in 2016 to 25.7% in 2017, according to IDC.
The reasons for adoption vary, but the top reasons are driving efficiencies, cutting costs, reducing risk and increasing revenue.
At the same time, concerns around security and a gap in relevant skills remain key roadblocks to adoption. This creates ample opportunities for you, as a channel partner, to step in and assist customers by creating a streamlined approach to IoT implementation. Outlined below are some of the major concerns being felt across the region.
Security: an ongoing concern
In a new report by Forbes and Hitachi Vantara, concerns around keeping IoT secure were nominated by local enterprises as the greatest challenge of building out their IoT capabilities (54% in Australia and New Zealand compared with 32% globally).
In the same report, titled The Internet of Things: From theory to reality, 65% of respondents said they believe the consequences of a data breach in IoT presented greater consequences than other technology initiatives (44% globally).
Data security offerings are now stronger than ever. With the recent implementation of the Notifiable Data Breaches (NBD) scheme and the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), now is the time to start a conversation around data security with your customer.
Skills and resources: the missing link
Businesses are also delaying IoT adoption because they lack the right skillsets and resources to properly scope out and implement solutions. IoT demands multiple technologies and expertise. For many businesses, the question of how to manage the growing influx of data generated from IoT is a key challenge.
The report by Forbes identified 43% of Australia and New Zealand respondents who don’t have the right personnel to manage the data generated by IoT programs (compared with 29% globally).
To address these challenges, it is important to develop a partner ecosystem with the right skillsets and resources. This will be pivotal in creating end-to-end IoT solutions that generate positive business outcomes.
Fast to innovate, slow to deploy
Geof Heydon, co-founder of the IoT Alliance Australia, says that while Australia is quick to innovate with IoT, we are slow to deploy IoT solutions.
“There are lots of start-up companies exploring IoT ideas but very few have scaled to deploy complete IoT solutions. In the big mining area and some niche health markets, we are strong and leading but broadly we are behind many European and US markets,” Geof says.
“In infrastructure we are in the early stages of adopting IoT but our broadband is partly holding us back. Our strength in 4G mobile is an advantage but the carriers struggle to get IoT service pricing low enough for this market.”
Overcoming the barriers to IoT adoption requires a fundamental shift in mindset. As a channel partner and trusted advisor, you can play a key role in helping your customers turn the challenges into opportunities. This starts with education on how IoT can add value to your customer’s business. Whether it’s efficiencies in products and services, new revenue streams, reduced operational costs, the benefits of IoT are there. The first step is identifying where IoT will help your customers and then being able to select the right partnerships to ensure a smooth deployment.