IoT connections have already been boosted by the pandemic and every report you read is pointing at the sort of increase that we were expecting six years ago. At that point, the tech industry was giving itself an artificial target of 20 billion connected devices by 2020.
This, with hindsight, seemed ludicrously optimistic but the good news is that, as expected, the ‘IoT market’ is about to disappear, as it becomes part of the automation and digitalisation of everything we do.
The latest study from Juniper Research, which looks specifically at industrial applications, points to IoT connections reaching 37 billion by 2025, with a significant minority of this growth coming from across the Asia Pacific region. The software spend will hit $216 billion by that time, and the big majority of the investment will be in smart manufacturing.
Gartner agrees and its own survey of the situation indicates that 47% of IoT implementers will increase their investments as a result of the pandemic. This majority sits against the 35% of respondents across US, UK, Germany, Australia, Singapore and India, who plan to reduce their IoT investments.
The main triggers for investing in IoT connections are safety (of employees), maintenance and monitoring applications.
It is also true that IoT implementations genuinely reduce costs. The average ROI for an IoT implementation seems to be about three years and a survey by Vodafone (seen as a leader in IoT connections and implementations) supports this argument.
According to their global survey, ‘95% have achieved a return on investment and 55% of adopters have seen operating costs decrease by an average of 21%’. A compelling argument and one that, for a change, is reasonably easy to build a business case around. Typically, a business case for a new technology is tough because you have to base it on positives, which cannot be proven until the new technology is implemented, creating a circle that is difficult to break.
The Vodafone study also shows 87% of companies believe that their core business has changed for the better as a result of IoT implementations and 84% saying that their IoT connections have been key in maintaining business continuity during times of disruption.
The overwhelming evidence is clearly pointing to a real embedding of IoT connections in many industries as the real benefits become easier to understand (and sell to the Board).