Vodafone research reveals number of large scale IoT projects doubled in the last year


Vodafone published on Wednesday its fifth annual IoT Barometer Report – its global survey of business sentiment regarding investment and innovation in the Internet of Things. The IoT Barometer research surveyed 1,278 respondents in 13 countries, US, Brazil, Ireland, UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, South Africa, China, India, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Businesses in the Americas have led the way in embracing large scale IoT projects, where 19 percent of companies using IoT have more than 10,000 connected devices, compared to 13 percent in Europe and 7 percent in Asia Pacific.

The large scale users also report some of the biggest business gains with 67 percent 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 Barometer report found that the percentage of companies with more than 50,000 connected devices active has doubled in the last 12 months; 84 percent of IoT adopters say that their use of IoT has grown in the last year; 51 percent of IoT adopters say that the technology is increasing revenues or opening up new revenue streams; and 66 percent of all companies agree that digital transformation is impossible without IoT.

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 percent 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.

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 percent of respondents cited increased market competitiveness as the top benefit compared to 35 percent in the Americas and 33 percent in Europe. In the automotive sector, 51 percent of companies say that IoT is helping to improve brand differentiation.

As the scale of IoT projects increases the report also notes a rise in connectivity requirements. Companies are looking to use a mix of technologies from fixed line to low power wide area networks (LP-WAN) depending on the application. Typically, large scale projects use four different connectivity options with mobile and Wi-Fi the two most popular. There is increasing interest in the newer technologies such as narrowband IoT, with 28 percent of all companies now considering it and other LP-WAN options, for new IoT projects.

“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 director of IoT Erik Brenneis. “IoT is clearly here to stay and the future looks exciting as 79 percent 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.”

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