Business are rushing into IoT like lemmings

Many companies are adopting IoT without knowing if it will help their business

Companies are rapidly adopting IoT even though many don’t know if they’re getting a good return on their investment.

Two-thirds of companies are now using or planning to use IoT, according to a global survey by research firm Strategy Analytics. That’s up from just 32 percent last year.

But 51 percent of those aren’t sure whether the new technology is paying off, said Laura DiDio, an analyst at the firm.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the internet of things isn’t saving them money or improving their businesses, DiDio said. But many organizations evaluate and deploy new technologies in such a fragmented way that they don’t know the full effects of their actions. It's actually better with IoT than with most other new technologies, where an even higher percentage can't measure the benefits, she said. But a disorganized approach isn't helpful in any case.

IoT comes in so many forms that it can fly in under the radar. In building management, for example, it may just come as an added feature for an existing system and never get labeled as IoT. Or one department will seek out IoT on its own.

In other cases, the CEO hears about IoT and and dictates that the company will adopt it without even examining the costs and benefits, DiDio said. That’s not the best way to go about it.

“You have to get all the stakeholders involved from the get-go, and often that doesn’t happen,” DiDio said.

Any localized IoT deployment can have broader implications because of things like data security, which was the top technical challenge of 56 percent of survey respondents.

And while data analytics is a common motivation for deploying the technology, many companies aren’t ready to make use of what they’re collecting. The survey showed that 42 percent found they had too much data to analyze it all efficiently. Meanwhile, 27 percent weren’t sure what questions to ask about the information, and 31 percent simply don’t store any IoT data.

“We’re still very much at the early stages of the learning curve,” DiDio said. “It’s challenging.”

Though a majority of companies have some IoT now, only 25 percent have an end-to-end deployment. Most companies will need vendors, systems integrators or consultants to help them get there, DiDio said. Big IT players are doing their part to cover the bases by forming partnerships and buying smaller, specialized companies.

The survey results came from 350 respondents, including small, medium and large enterprises. They’re using IoT for tasks that include video surveillance, smart building controls and health care.

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Stephen Lawson

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