It is not that surprising that the IoT is enjoying robust growth. What is surprising is the extent to which it is already changing how companies, even industries, operate.
The IoT, as we have said before, is an arena that will ‘disappear’ as a thing because it will become embedded into the fabric of almost everything we do. In a few years’ time measuring the IoT will be like doing a survey of businesses now, to measure how many of them have PCs. The answer will be 100% (or maybe 90% +) but it will be pretty meaningless data. Yet, 30 years ago there were huge trade shows on the PC. They disappeared overnight as they simply became how industries developed.
The same will happen in the IoT.
The data from the annual Vodafone ‘Barometer’ report makes very interesting reading. And it makes interesting reading because of the catalyst for change that the IoT is already becoming. 76% of businesses now say that the IoT is ‘mission critical’ and one in 12 report that their entire business is now based on the IoT.
The result is massive disruption. Across all the industries that Vodafone surveyed, a huge 60% said that the IoT will have ‘completely disrupted their industry in five years’ time’. In the automotive industry alone, 86% of respondents say that they are using the IoT to differentiate themselves and increase revenues and 84% of insurance providers say that their business models have changed as a result of the IoT.
Disruption is not the only driver for embracing the IoT. Implementing the IoT provides bottom line benefits that cannot be ignored.
From the survey, respondents reported “reduced operating costs (53%), improved collection of data (48%) and increased revenue from existing streams (42%).”
Significant as those figures are, the actual cost reductions averaged 18% and the increased revenues averaged 19%. (It was with some restraint that this reporter stopped himself putting exclamation marks on the end of that statement and refrained from putting the word ‘average’ in italics).
There is no doubt that the IoT will change many things in many ways and Vodafone’s annual Barometer is a very good and effective way of keeping track.
Beyond the report though, you cannot help but consider how the IoT will dovetail with other techniques and technologies such as blockchain. Using the IoT to measure, say, the temperature of a container carrying bananas from Asia to Europe, together with a blockchain to record the temperature from one end to the other, will produce massive cost savings and reduce the complaints and litigation to close to zero.
And when you pour all this ongoing data into some AI machine so that the whole process can be optimised beyond optimisation itself,…Well.