Vodafone has published its annual IoT Barometer, and compared to last year, adoption growth rates were up by only 1%. Of the 1,278 respondents, 29% said they had adopted IoT, compared to 28% last year. This indicates that 2017 was no watershed year for IoT deployments and that quiet adoption is still the norm.
The report identifies some individual sectors that made promising progress such as utilities, where adoption grew by 20% year-on-year, retail at 21% and automotive at 12%. Although the tone of the report is optimistic, it confirms a trend echoed by vendors – that volume deployments of IoT devices still haven’t taken off.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom as those respondents that have already incorporated IoT into their business clearly see its value. The returns from implementing IoT also appear to be convincing – 36% of IoT adopters reported an increase in revenue of more than 20%, and 29% of IoT adopters reported cost reductions of more than 20%. And 51% of adopters say IoT is increasing revenue or generating new revenue streams.
For instance, 79% of adopters say that over 50% of business processes will include IoT sensing/control systems by 2022 – indicating the potential huge size of the market for IoT. However, 81% of business said they believe that the IoT only delivers real value if you effectively use the data that is generated by the technology, a sentiment often repeated by IoT players we encounter.
At the recent Smart Summit event, Rethink analysts spoke with Aneysha Minocha, CEO of Quantenergy, a company that works with commercial property portfolio holders to make buildings more efficient, using technical expertise, data analytics and the IoT. Minocha described how Quantenergy had recently finished an assessment of some the buildings it manages and the IoT devices it has installed, and discovered that 40% of the data being collected by those sensors had no value to the management of the building.
Sending, storing, and analyzing data has an inherent cost, and so Quantenergy had taken the decision to no longer collect and analyze the data that it considered not useful. Minocha accepted that at some point in the future, analytics tools might become available that made the presently irrelevant data useful, but for now it would continue its data cull.
Popular cloud-based platforms such as AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure are making great efforts to improve analysis, constantly competing to offer the best analytics tools using AI and machine-learning. The effect of this competition should enable more companies to make effective use of their IoT data and likely further drive IoT adoption.
The Vodafone study also surveys which sectors have completed volume deployments of IoT devices. Respondents from the public sector lead the way, with 21% connecting in excess of 10,000 devices, followed by healthcare (18%), energy and utilities (16%), automotive (16%), transport and logistics (10%), retail (9%), manufacturing (7%) and consumer electronics (3%).
The key trend driving volume IoT connections in the public sector, according to Vodafone, is smart lighting; an application that promises low initial costs and high ROI, as repair and truck roll costs are dramatically cut by the deployment of smart LED lighting as well as lower energy bills. Other areas supporting growth in the public sector are traffic management, smart parking and connected waste bin projects.
The report also revealed some good news for the LPWAN community. The survey found that 28% of those that haven’t already embraced IoT are investigating an LPWAN deployment – indicating strong potential growth in the sector. Of those organization investigating LPWAN technologies 55% are considering NB-IoT, 52% LTE-M and LoRa and Sigfox both scored 47%.