IoT Disappoints: Security, Connectivity and Device Onboarding Cited as Top Challenges

After over a decade of hype, the Internet of Things (IoT) is failing to live up to expectations in the UK and in the US, according to a new report by IoT connectivity provider Eseye.

77% of companies who implemented at least one Internet of Things (IoT) project in the past 12 months said their project was at best only somewhat successful, according to a new survey commissioned. The survey was carried out among 500 IoT decision makers in the US and the UK by research firm Opinion Matters in April.

The Study was undertaken by independent research organisation, Opinion Matters, among 500 UK and USA-based senior decision makers and implementers of IoT strategy within five vertical markets. It explores the current state of IoT adoption; the challenges, opportunities and untapped potential of IoT; the impact of COVID-19 and how this has accelerated adoption; and the criticality of intelligent connectivity to fuel future growth.

Key IoT adoption findings:

  • 86% of respondents said IoT is a priority for their business.
  • 49% of respondents are planning further projects in the next two to three years.
  • 89% are planning budget increases for IoT initiatives, with just under half (44%) planning to boost spending by between 51 and 100%.
  • 98% said that COVID-19 has impacted their IoT plans; for 27% it has accelerated development of their IoT initiative and 31% said they had increased investment plans.
  • However, 77% of respondents said that their IoT project was at best only somewhat successful in meeting expectations and realizing benefits.
  • Security, connectivity and device onboarding were cited as top challenges; 39% said security was their biggest hurdle, while for 35% device onboarding, testing and certification, and cellular connectivity across multiple countries and regions had proved difficult.
  • Cellular IoT deployments have still not reached anywhere near critical mass, most survey respondents (88%) had deployed fewer than 10,000 devices.

IoT at a tipping point

The Study found the larger the project, the faster the acceleration as organizations embrace IoT. The more devices respondents have in the field, the more they are planning to deploy in the coming twelve months. This indicates a tipping point in IoT projects in terms of scale. However, of 500 respondents only 10% had deployed between 10,001 devices and 100,000 in the field and only 2% had deployed more than 100,000 devices.

Disrupting markets and business models

IoT projects are undertaken by innovative organisations to disrupt traditional business models and deliver tangible business benefits. When asked about the benefits their IoT initiative has or is predicted to deliver 35% of respondents said it enabled the business to enter new markets, 34% said it increased profit, and 32% of respondents said their initiative was aimed at delivering new lines of business.

Nick Earle, CEO, Eseye comments: “Is IoT finally coming of age? There have been a number of false starts with predictions a decade ago that were clearly overstated. Fast forward to 2021 and COVID-19 has accelerated IoT trends that were already underway as large enterprises move from experimenting to understanding how to deploy IoT; our research certainly found that the larger the project, the faster the acceleration as organisations embrace IoT.

“However, adoption is not without its challenges. We know security and connectivity have been an issue and uncertainty about both initial and lifetime device connectivity is a huge concern for businesses rolling out large-scale IoT projects. To this point, 39% of survey respondents said security was the biggest hurdle they had to overcome and over one third (35%) cited cellular connectivity as a main challenge. This validates Eseye’s device design services and connectivity strategy, and recently-announced partnerships with leading complementary technology vendors such as Armis.”

Technology drivers

Cloud and remote access were cited as the top technology drivers which, given the events of the past year, is not surprising, as many businesses look to accelerate their digital transformation plans with IoT initiatives. Interestingly, 42% stated Intelligent Edge as a top technology driver both now and in the future and 41% said LPWAN technologies which points to the shift in IoT processing moving increasingly to the edge. Not surprisingly to this author, 5G was rated fourth, with 38%.

Connectivity more of an issue in UK than USA

UK respondents indicated that their biggest challenge was cellular connectivity, with 41% stating this versus 29% in the USA. Device deployment and rollout was also more of an issue for UK respondents (36%) versus 28% in the USA. This is likely because UK respondents have more multi-region deployments than the USA, where projects tend to be national and focused on the domestic market.

Earle continues: “Organizations are clearly determined to overcome the challenges they’ve identified, with 89% planning to increase budget and more than eight out of ten stating that IoT is a priority for the business. At the start of 2021, we predicted that information mined from user interactions with ‘things’ rather than digital services would create a huge wealth of rich data, bigger and more detailed than online data ever was. This will enable new business models, the creation of new products and services and new levels of understanding, which has the potential to further disrupt models and markets in ways that we can’t even imagine today. It is an exciting market with the potential to create new revenue, new opportunities and real business value.”

Eseye’s State of IoT Adoption Report offers detailed analysis of the IoT challenges and trends affecting businesses both in the UK and USA, and examines the variation between vertical markets including: Smart Vending; Supply Chain and Logistics; EV Charging and Smart Grid; Manufacturing; and Healthcare and Medical Devices. It contains recommendations for actions and strategies that organisations should prioritise to improve business outcomes and the value derived from such initiatives.

89% of respondents said they plan to increase their IoT budget over the next two years, with most predicting growth of between 26% and 100% in that time. The EV charging and smart grid sector leads the way, with as many as 99% saying they will increase spending and 60% predicting a hike of more than 50%. In the manufacturing space, 93% expect budgets to increase.






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