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Asia leading way in IoT adoption, says Vodafone research

Steve Rogerson
November 9, 2017

Asia's businesses are leading the world in IoT adoption, with the number of companies embracing connected devices soaring 200% from 2013 to stand at 36% in 2017, according to a report by Vodafone.
The Report – the Vodafone IoT Barometer 2017/18 – is a global survey of business sentiment relating to investment and innovation in the IoT. One of its key findings shows Asia is leading the way in connected device adoption and, more importantly, globally IoT has hit critical mass and is now being deployed at scale.
The report found:

  • 77% of Asia's businesses see IoT as mission-critical to their business;
  • 88% of Asian respondents have increased the use of IoT in the past 12 months;
  • Over half (53%) of Asia's enterprises say IoT has increased their market competitiveness; and
  • 42% of Asia businesses have more than 1000 connected devices and 53% are seeing significant returns on investment.
When it came to optimism and the future, Asia businesses’ message to the world was even clearer with 91% believing IoT will have an enormous or sizeable impact on the wider economy in the next five years. And 79% believe IoT usage will rise as security and privacy concerns greatly reduce. Also, 91% believe cross industry collaboration will generate joint IoT services and 89% believe AI and machine learning will be commonplace by 2022.
"This is a defining moment for IoT,” said Justin Nelson, Vodafone’s director of IoT for Apac. “Asia's businesses now see IoT as a core component of their current and future business, and their confidence in it delivering a competitive advantage is soaring."
The barometer examined four key factors for modern businesses: state of the market; business benefits; moving forward; and future optimism.
The report noted that on top of the overwhelming adoption numbers, the most significant factor was that IoT was increasingly being deployed at scale, and that increased RoI as a result. The report also cited the widening range of benefits that businesses received – greater business insights, reduced costs and improved employee productivity topping the list.
As far as business benefits go, improved brand differentiation (42%) and improved market competitiveness (53%) rated the primary benefit, compared with 35% in the Americas and 33% in Europe while the ability to monetise IoT remains on average with the rest of the world at 53%,
When asked about the next steps, the surprise finding was the positive framing of IoT security, which rather than being a barrier to IoT deployment, was seen as "giving businesses the confidence to do more". Asia was once again much more positive in this area with 86% of respondents hailing security as an enabler compared with 79% globally, and 83% of businesses stating they have adequate skills to manage IoT security, significantly way ahead of Europe on 70% and the Americas at 65%.
As the scale of IoT projects increases the report also noted a rise in connectivity requirements. Businesses are looking to use a mix of technologies from fixed line to low power wide area networks (LPWAN) depending on the application. Typically, large-scale projects use four different connectivity options, with mobile and wifi the two most popular. There is increasing interest in the newer technologies such as narrowband IoT (NB-IoT), with 28% of all companies now considering it and other LPWAN options for new IoT projects.
The research surveyed 1278 respondents in 13 countries – USA, Brazil, Ireland, UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, South Africa, China, India, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
Vodafone has entered the IoT consumer market with the launch of V by Vodafone, enabling consumers to connect millions of home and leisure electronics products to the group’s dedicated global IoT network.