Internet Of Things By The Numbers: Results from New Surveys


Things are looking up for the Internet of Things. 80% of organizations have a more positive view of IoT today compared to a year ago, according to a survey of 512 IT and business executives by CompTIA. “This reflects greater levels of attention from the C-suite and a better understanding of how the many different elements of the IoT ecosystem are starting to come together,” says CompTIA. Here are the highlights from this and other recent surveys:

How big is the IoT and how fast is it growing? The number of connected things, from computers to household monitors to cars, is projected to grow at an annual compound rate of 23.1% between 2014 to 2020, reaching 50.1 billion things in 2020.

What is the IoT? In the minds of the business and IT executives surveyed, the IoT is associated with “ever-greater levels of connectivity; more intelligence built into devices, objects, and systems; and a strong data and applied learning orientation.” These views “sync-up well with the macro trends of more powerful and pervasive computing and storage, the further blurring of the physical and the virtual and the harnessing of big data for real-world functional activities.”


What is the current level of IoT adoption? 60% of organizations have started an IoT initiative, 45% of which were funded by a new budget allocation. An additional 23% of companies plan to start an IoT initiative within a year. About 90% of the 500 executives Bain surveyed remain in the planning and proof-of-concept stage, and only about 20% expect to implement solutions at scale by 2020.


What is the perceived impact of the IoT compared to other new technologies? The IoT leads other much-discussed technologies, including robotics and artificial intelligence, as the technology that is having the most impact on the business.


What are the expected benefits from IoT and how do they relate to existing activities and operations? The top 5 expected benefits are:

  1.  Cost savings from operational efficiencies
  2.  New/better streams of data to improve decision-making
  3. Staff productivity gains
  4.  Better visibility/monitoring of assets throughout the organization
  5.  New/better customer experiences.

While the expected benefits are roughly split between existing operations and new products or revenue streams, a majority of businesses (61%) report having their IoT initiative as “enabling and extending” technology as opposed to regarding it as a separate and distinct activity (37%).

Bain also found high expectations of the potential benefits of the IoT, including improving the quality of products or services, improving the productivity of the workforce, and increasing the reliability of operations.



Are they too optimistic or too pessimistic? 57%  of respondents believe their organization is very  well equipped or mostly well equipped to manage the security component of          IoT. “Given the number of security unknowns with IoT,” says CompITA, “especially in areas that may be beyond the control of the operator, this confidence may be misplaced.” Indeed, Bain found security at the top of the list of concerns about IoT, with 45% of respondents citing it as one of the top three barriers to IoT implementation.  Similarly, when Forrester surveyed 232 companies developing IoT products it found that 38% anticipated security to be the biggest challenge to IoT implementation, more than any other issue and 64% cited data and device security as the most important capability for their IoT product. Finally, a Tripwire survey of 220 security professionals found that only 30% felt their organizations were prepared for security threats related to IoT devices.


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