Applications and understanding of the Internet of Things have shot up in recent years across businesses, in Europe especially. But one of today's biggest blockers -- alongside security concerns and the inability of various devices and platforms to play nice with one another -- is skepticism at the boardroom level.
Company leaders have pressing concerns related to project management, connectivity, cybersecurity and more -- those are the conclusions of a recent survey of more than 100 IoT decision makers conducted by IoT World Series, the same team that runs IoT World Europe at TechXLR8. Survey respondents included executives from the retail, logistics, energy, construction, telecoms and financial services industries.
The survey found that of the international companies surveyed, half lack a global IoT strategy. Nearly a quarter are developing one, but 16.49% have yet to make a start. The challenges preventing these companies from implementing IoT are chiefly related to insufficient existing capabilities and lofty ambitions. The most cited challenge was "dealing with 'legacy' devices and software" (53.06%), followed by "the need for highly specialized and custom solutions" (45.92%) and determining the departments that will be ultimately responsible for new IoT-related software and hardware (37.37%).
For 47% of respondents, implementation problems plague their IoT projects, while an additional 12.24% gave "lack of support for a production-quality deployment" as a key hurdle. The cross-functional nature of IoT implementation is seen as equally vexing, with executives split over who IoT leadership sits with: IT, operations or the C-suite. The largest group of respondents (32.65%) chose to create a business strategy team tasked with implementing IoT at the company. Trailing that, 27.55% of companies are asking IT to take the helm where IoT is concerned.
Executives are slowly seeing the positives of industrial IoT in their businesses. (Image: Rawpixel, Unsplash)
In the year that GDPR rears its ugly (or at least intimidating) head, data protection is a paramount concern. Nearly 49% of those asked are "not sure or not confident" of their organization's ability to manage such as sophisticated level of connectivity. 39.79% feel the same about connecting their IoT ecosystem to disparate networks, while 36.73% don't think their organization could sufficiently protect all data within their IoT ecosystem.
On the security front, the good news is that 72.16% of those surveyed ensure the design and life cycle of their devices involves stringent security measures. What's more, over 60% are either developing an IoT security policy or enforcing one.
That said, just two thirds claim to be staying up to date on security fixes and patches, and over half (57.6%) aren't training their IT staff on the latest IoT security mechanisms. An "alarming" revelation is that half of the respondents don't keep an inventory of connected devices and 43.4% don't conduct vulnerability testing to identify network weak points.
Finally executives were asked for their thoughts on blockchain. For those seriously considering how they might use blockchain technology, the biggest potential benefits were seen as:
Reducing the risk of collusion and tampering (15.05%)
Building user trust with cryptography (13.98%)
Accelerating transactions by reducing settlement time (12.9%)
Reducing cost by removing the overhead associated with middlemen and intermediaries (4.3%)
*IoT World Europe is the TechXLR8 event where industrial IoT is put into action. Get 15% off your conference pass as a member of our online community with VIP code "IOTWS15" -- book here and that code will be automatically applied.
— Jeremy Coward, Marketing, Content & Communities Lead, Internet of Things World Europe