Large-Scale IoT Projects Doubled In Last One Year: Study

by CXOtoday News Desk    Oct 16, 2017


The percentage of companies with more than 50,000 connected devices active has doubled in the last 12 months. Moreover, eight out of 10 IoT adopters say that their use of IoT has grown in the last year. Over half of IoT adopters say that the technology is increasing revenues or opening up new revenue streams and two-thirds of all companies agree that digital transformation is impossible without IoT.

These are the findings of the recent Vodafone’s annual IoT barometer that shows skyrocketing adoption of the technology across all business sectors for a huge range of different purposes. [Read the full report here]

Businesses in the Americas have led the way in embracing large scale IoT projects, where 19% of companies using IoT have more than 10,000 connected devices, compared to 13% in Europe and 7% in Asia Pacific. The large scale users also report some of the biggest business gains with 67% of them highlighting significant returns from the use of IoT.

Energy and utility companies are at the forefront of the largest IoT projects worldwide, with applications such as smart meters and pipeline monitoring. The range of benefits that users are getting from IoT is also widening as adoption increases – greater business insights, reduced costs and improved employee productivity top the list globally.

In Asia Pacific 53% of respondents cited increased market competitiveness as the top benefit compared to 35% in the Americas and 33% in Europe. In the automotive sector, 51% of companies say that IoT is helping to improve brand differentiation. Security in IoT is still the biggest barrier for organizations regarding deployment. However, in companies with 10,000 or more connected devices in operation only 7% say security is their top worry. Organizations are taking more steps to tackle security concerns including an increase in security training for existing staff, working with specialist security providers and recruiting more IT security specialists. 

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

Big adoption numbers underline that companies are seeing tangible upsides from their IoT deployments. The survey found that virtually all – 95% - of respondents said they had realized measurable advantages from their implementation of the technology. Just over half said that IoT is either enhancing existing revenue streams or opening up new ones, which could help explain why 88% of those experiencing benefits from IoT report ploughing additional investment into the technology in the past year.

Larger companies tended to lead the way in IoT adoption rates in previous years, but the gap has closed substantially in the latest figures. While smaller (less than 1,000 employees) and medium-sized companies (between 1,000 and 10,000 employees) sat at 12% and 11% respectively in 2014, those numbers have surged to 28% and 31%. Big enterprises with more than 10,000 employees went from 26% in 2013 to 32% in 2017.

Even the omnipresent issue of IoT security seems to be less frightening to companies than before – just 7% of those with bigger (10,000+ devices) deployments said that security was their top concern, although most still acknowledged its importance. Roughly two-thirds of all respondents said that their IoT deployments were “mission-critical” and admitted that a security breach would be catastrophic.

Even though the study found growth largely across the board, some verticals saw particularly strong uptake – retail, transportation and energy all grew at better than 17% year-on-year, while other sectors – including those like healthcare and automotive, where IoT has been popular for somewhat longer – continued to grow at a respectable 9% and 12%, respectively.