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Schneider survey shows IoT optimism

Steve Rogerson
May 19, 2016
Three quarters of businesses are optimistic about the opportunities the IoT will present this year, according to a report by French company Schneider Electric based on a global survey of nearly 3000 business leaders in 12 countries.
Based on the results, Schneider predicts that the IoT will trigger the next wave of enterprise digital transformation, unifying the worlds of operational technology (OT) and IT and fuelling a mobile and digitally enabled workforce. As more companies both expand and deepen their digitisation programmes enterprise-wide, the IoT will increasingly take centre stage. This new wave of transformation will be enabled by more affordable connected sensors, embedded intelligence and control, faster and more ubiquitous communications networks, cloud infrastructure, and advanced data analytics capabilities.
The IoT will translate previously untapped data into insights that enable enterprises to take the customer experience to the next level. When thinking about the value proposition of the IoT, most businesses point to efficiency and cost savings as the key benefits. Yet access to data – including previously untapped data – and the ability to translate it into actionable insights, the hallmark of the IoT, will deliver greater customer-service transformation and opportunities to build brand and service loyalty and satisfaction.
The IoT will promote an open, interoperable and hybrid computing approach, and it will foster industry and government collaboration on global architecture standards that address cyber-security concerns. While cloud-based IoT services will grow in popularity, no single computing architecture will monopolise their delivery. The IoT instead will flourish across systems, both at the edge and on premise, as part of private cloud or public cloud offerings. Making IoT available across heterogeneous computing environments will help end users adopt IoT products in the way that best suits their security and mission-critical needs while also offering entities with legacy technology infrastructures a logical and manageable path forward, allowing them to transform over time.
The IoT, predicts the report, will function as a source of innovation, business model disruption and economic growth for businesses, governments and emerging economies. Just as the Industrial Revolution, birth of the internet and mobile revolution have driven advancement, innovation and prosperity, so will the IoT. Businesses and cities alike will deliver new IoT-enabled services; new business models will emerge; and, in particular, emerging economies will have a significant opportunity to leverage IoT quickly without the constraint of legacy infrastructure, essentially leapfrogging old ways.
IoT services will be leveraged to address major societal and environmental issues. The IoT will help countries and their economies respond to the biggest challenges facing our planet, including global warming, water scarcity and pollution. In fact, survey respondents identified improved resource utilisation as the number one benefit of the IoT to society as a whole. In concert with the private sector, local and national governments will embrace the IoT to accelerate and optimise current initiatives to curtail greenhouse gas emissions in accord with the COP21 climate agreement.
The key global survey findings that informed the predictions revealed that 75 per cent of businesses were optimistic about the opportunities the IoT presents this year.
Just under two thirds (sixty-three per cent) of organisations plan to use the IoT to analyse customer behaviour in 2016, with faster problem resolution, better customer service and customer satisfaction ranking among the top five potential business benefits.
Building and industrial automation represent the highest potential annual cost savings – 63 and 62 per cent, respectively. Results showed automation technologies will be the future of the IoT, with nearly half (42 per cent) of respondents indicating that they plan to implement IoT-enabled building automation systems within the next two years.
Two out of three organisations (67 per cent) plan to implement the IoT via mobile applications in 2016. Even further, one-third of respondents (32 per cent) plan to start using the IoT in mobile applications in as little as six months, citing potential cost savings of up to 59 per cent as a major driver in implementation.
Four out of five (81 per cent) respondents felt that knowledge gathered from the data and/or information generated by the IoT qas being shared effectively throughout the organisation. And 41 per cent of respondents anticipate cyber-security threats related to the IoT as being a critical challenge for their business.
“We’re past the point of questioning whether the IoT will deliver value,” said Prith Banerjee, chief technology officer at Schneider Electric. “Businesses now need to make informed decisions to position themselves to maximise the IoT’s value in their organisation. Our IoT 2020 Business Report is designed to serve as a guide for IoT implementation and innovation to help customers reap its benefits as the market evolves over the next five years. It reflects our commitment in delivering technologies that ensure life is on everywhere, for everyone, at every moment.”
He added that the IoT had been at the top of the hype curve for some time, but the findings of this survey demonstrated that IoT technologies could and would continue to drive real business value across industries and geographies.
This survey was commissioned by Schneider Electric in November 2015 to gather information on how businesses are currently using or plan to use the IoT. With input from Schneider Electric, Redshift Research conducted 2597 online interviews among business decision makers in companies employing 100 or more people.
The research was conducted in 12 countries – Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Russia, Spain, Sweden, UK and USA. The survey, which provided respondents with a uniform definition of the IoT, comprised 18 multiple-choice questions. Responses have been analysed by Redshift Research in association with Text 100.