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Number of major IoT projects doubles

Energy and utility companies are at the forefront of the largest IoT projects worldwide

The Barometer found that organisations are looking for a mix of connectivity options
The Barometer found that organisations are looking for a mix of connectivity options

The number of large scale Internet of Things (IoT) projects doubled, according to research from Vodafone. The company’s fifth annual IoT Barometer Report found that the percentage of companies with more than 50,000 connected devices active has increased two-fold in the last 12 months.


The Barometer report is the leading global survey of business sentiment regarding investment and also revealed that 84 per cent of IoT adopters say that their use of IoT has grown in the last year.


More than half (51 per cent) of IoT adopters say that the technology is increasing revenues or opening up new revenue streams while 66 per cent of all companies agree that digital transformation is impossible without IoT.


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 (LPWAN) 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 per cent of all companies now considering it and other LPWAN 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 roll-outs of tens of thousands of connected devices,” says Vodafone director of IoT, Erik Brenneis.


He added: “IoT is clearly here to stay and the future looks exciting as 79 per cent 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.”


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 per cent of companies using IoT have more than 10,000 connected devices, compared to 13 per cent in Europe and 7 per cent in Asia Pacific.


The large-scale users also report some of the biggest business gains with 67 per cent 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 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 more than half (53 per cent) of respondents cited increased market competitiveness as the top benefit compared to 35 per cent in the Americas and 33 per cent in Europe. In the automotive sector, 51 per cent of companies say that IoT is helping to improve brand differentiation.


Security in IoT is still the biggest barrier for organisations regarding deployment. However, in companies with 10,000 or more connected devices in operation, only seven per cent say security is their top worry.


Organisations 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.


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