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IoT heading for mass adoption by 2019

A global study published by Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, found that IoT adopters are seeing strong gains in innovation and business efficiency

Since its inception in 1999, the Internet of Things has been ridiculed, criticised and misunderstood
Since its inception in 1999, the Internet of Things has been ridiculed, criticised and misunderstood

The analysis confirms the clear business benefits from investments in IoT, however, Aruba’s report cautions that connecting thousands of things to existing business networks has already resulted in security breaches for the majority of organisations. 84 per cent of organisations have experienced an IoT-related security breach.

One of the key findings from The Internet of Things: Today and Tomorrow research, which questioned 3,100 IT and business decision-makers across 20 countries, was that IoT will soon be widespread. 85 per cent of businesses who participated stated that they plan to implement it by 2019.

Technology visionary Kevin Ashton, who coined the term Internet of Things defines it as: “The ‘Internet of Things’ means sensors connected to the Internet and behaving in an Internet-like way by making open, ad hoc connections, sharing data freely and allowing unexpected applications, so computers can understand the world around them and become humanity’s nervous system.”

When examining the business benefits of IoT, Ashton discovered that the real world benefits exceeded even the original expectations. This ‘expectations dividend’ is evident in two key performance areas – business efficiency and profitability.

As an example, only 16 per cent of business leaders projected a large profit gain from their IoT investment, yet post-adoption, 32 per cent of executives realised profit increases. Similarly, only 29 per cent of executives expected their IoT strategies to result in business efficiency improvements, whereas actual results show that 46 per cent experienced efficiency gains.

Key challenges

Alongside these positive returns, the study also uncovers a number of obstacles that IT leaders feel are preventing IoT from delivering greater business impact. In particular, the cost of implementation (50 per cent), maintenance (44 per cent) and integration of legacy technology (43 per cent) were highlighted as key issues.

Most notably, security flaws were found across many IoT deployments. More than half of respondents declared that external attacks are a key barrier to embracing and adopting an IoT strategy. This confirms that a holistic IoT security strategy, built on strong network access control and policy management, will not only protect enterprises but also simplify the security approach for IT.

The ability to capture and effectively use data is described by Ashton as: “What defines the Internet of Things” but this appears to be another clear challenge for global organisations. While 98 per cent of companies that have adopted IoT claim that they can analyse data, almost all respondents (97 per cent) feel there are challenges to creating value from this data. Well over a third of businesses are not extracting or analysing data within corporate networks, and are thereby missing out on insights that could improve business decisions.

Chris Kozup, Vice President of Marketing at Aruba said: “While IoT grows in deployment, scale and complexity, proper security methodologies to protect the network and devices, and more importantly, the data and insights they extract, must also keep pace. If businesses do not take immediate steps to gain visibility and profile the IoT activities within their offices, they run the risk of exposure to potentially malicious activities. Aruba is enabling customers to rapidly assess IoT deployments within their facilities and determine any potential threats that may be present.”

Ashton continued: “Since its inception in 1999, the Internet of Things has been ridiculed, criticised and misunderstood. And yet here we are, less than two decades later, in a world where tens of thousands of organisations are saving and making hundreds of millions of dollars from the Internet of Things, using cars that drive themselves, subway stations that sense passengers, algorithms that diagnose deadly diseases using phones, and many other once apparently-impossible technologies. The future promises far more amazing things. The most important decision you can make now is how to be a part of it.”

In conclusion Kozup said: “With the business benefits of IoT surpassing expectations, it’s no surprise that the business world will move towards mass adoption by 2019. But with many executives unsure of how to apply IoT to their business, those who succeed in implementing IoT are well positioned to gain a competitive advantage.”