IoT survey: UK businesses expect to reap rewards in 2016
Written by: Sam Fenwick | Published:

A research report from Webroot, a cyber security specialist, and IO, a data centre organisation has shed light onto the extent to which UK businesses are looking to the Internet of Things (IoT) as a way of improving their competitiveness.

According to the survey, 44 per cent of respondents expect to gain competitive advantage from their IoT initiatives. However, only a third expect to generate more revenue by creating new products and service lines.

The research was conducted by OnePoll, and gives an overview of the opinions of 500 CEOs and senior decision makers in UK businesses. A quarter of the respondents were from small and micro-size businesses (under 250 members of staff), half were from mid-size businesses (250-1,000 members of staff) and the final quarter from enterprises (over 1,000 staff members).

Of those businesses surveyed, 87 per cent (and 92 per cent of enterprises) are investing in initiatives to prepare for the IoT, with 60 per cent saying that they are increasing their investments in IoT projects by an average of 42 per cent.

The report’s findings also point to the increasingly mature use of IoT. 68 per cent of respondents said that they are expecting to reap benefits from IoT investments this year, a “huge progression” from the one in five that say that they are already seeing benefits from IoT.

It’s clear that much of the push for IoT is coming from tech-savvy departments – the IT department manages IoT investments in 68 per cent of the organisations surveyed. Other areas where IoT investments are taking place include R&D (31 per cent of respondents), customer service (25 per cent), product and service line development (21 per cent) and marketing (20 per cent).

The bulk of this investment is in network infrastructure, with 71 per cent of respondents agreeing that improving network infrastructure and capacity is a primary focus for IoT investment, often driven by the inadequacy of their existing networks; nearly a quarter of businesses (24 per cent) say that their current ICT infrastructure is a barrier to successful IoT adoption.

Andrew Roughan, business director at IO, discusses what it calls the ‘build or buy’ scenario: “The cloud movement of the last five to ten years has seen enterprises move much closer towards consuming things as a service, taking advantage of the scale investments made by service providers and the expertise that those providers can bring. Digital strategies for mature enterprises won’t forget those lessons; they’ll continue their sourcing strategies, rather than building their own hardware and infrastructure from scratch for the IoT era”.

This is reflected to some extent in the survey results, with 34 per cent of respondents now investing in infrastructure-as-a-service (34 per cent) than building or buying their own (28 per cent).

“The first internet wave was about making information digital, then we moved into making processes digital, particularly with e-commerce,” said Maria Hernandez, IoT lead at Cisco UK. “The third wave was about making interactions digital with cloud, mobility social media and video. Now the fourth is about making everything digital – organisations, cities and even countries. We believe that this wave is going to have more impact than the previous three waves together."

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