We know that the Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the way companies do business. But just how much and for whom? What does the timeline look like? And what types of technology solutions are being put into place? Back in October, we set out to answer these questions with help from Forrester Research. They conducted an online study with 593 global businesses to assess the current and future rate of adoption of the IoT, learn the key benefits and get a sense of the opportunities and challenges the IoT presents. The results were eye-opening.
More than 80 percent of global firms surveyed agree that IoT solutions will be the most strategic technology initiative for their organization in a decade. Twenty-five percent say they already have an IoT solution in place. That’s a sharp increase from a similar study back in 2012, in which only 15 percent of participants could make that claim. And we expect that number to grow even more in the coming years. Thirty-nine percent of firms surveyed are in the process of implementing an IoT solution. It’s also worth noting that the rate of adoption varies by vertical market. Whereas 29 percent of retailers have already implemented an IoT solution, only 18 percent of healthcare firms have done so.
Companies surveyed also identified the technological elements that are important elements of IoT solutions. Wi-Fi infrastructure and real-time location tracking technologies are important or very important to 83 percent of firms. For 80 percent of firms, sensor technologies such as security sensors or condition sensors to monitor assets and the surrounding environment are also important or very important. Honorable mentions in this category include barcodes, Bluetooth solutions like beacons and wearable devices.
What are they using IoT solutions for? The leading uses include tracking inventory levels, supply chain visibility, asset identification and proactive alerts for inventory shortage, maintenance alerts and spare parts availability. These IoT solutions help firms identify, locate and track the status and condition of assets, with the main assets being objects, containers and personnel. The study also looked at the benefits these organizations are hoping to see. An improved customer experience topped the list, with 49 percent of firms identifying it as one of the five biggest benefits of the IoT. Supply chain optimization was a close second at 46 percent, while supply chain visibility, loss prevention, cost efficiencies, improved delivery process and improved safety all broke the 40 percent mark.
But implementing IoT solutions isn’t always easy. Integration, cost, privacy and complexity are named as some of the biggest challenges, and firms are mostly looking to IT infrastructure partners, device manufacturers and security solution providers to help overcome them.
Read the full report for a more in-depth analysis, plus a summary of recommendations for deploying an IoT solution within your business.