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New Study Examines Mass Adoption of IoT Technology

The report, based on interviews with 3,100 IT and business decision makers, explores the reasons why (and, in some cases, why not) the Internet of Things is being adopted by a range of businesses and organizations.
By Nathaniel Prince
Mar 09, 2017

The average return on investment from the Internet of Things is 34 percent, with one in 10 interview respondents reporting returns greater than 60 percent, according to a new study published by Aruba, a Hewlett-Packard Enterprise company that specializes in next-generation networking solutions. Titled "The Internet of Things: Today and Tomorrow," the report helps to quantify the adoption of IoT technology and is available at Aruba's website. Its findings are based on interviews with 3,100 IT and business decision makers who work at organizations with at least 500 employees, in both the public and private sectors, throughout 20 different nations.

The goal of the interviews, which took place during November and December 2016, was to better understand the current state of the IoT, as well as its impact on industry. Aruba also commissioned Kevin Ashton to write an e-book titled Making Sense of IoT, that further examines the subject. In his e-book, Ashton defines the Internet of Things—a phrase that he originated—as "sensors connected to the Internet and behaving in an Internet-like way by making open, ad hoc connections, sharing data freely and allowing unexpected applications, so computers can understand the world around them and become humanity's nervous system."

Aruba's study determined that 85 percent of businesses plan to implement the IoT by 2019, due primarily to an increased demand for efficiency and innovation. However, while 98 percent of business leaders have at least a rudimentary understanding of the IoT, many do not fully understand its exact definition or the extent to which it can affect business. Respondents also expressed concerns about implementation costs, maintenance and the integration of legacy technology, with 50 percent, 44 percent and 43 percent of respondents regarding them, respectively, as problems associated with the Internet of Things.

Furthermore, the study indicated that 84 percent of organizations reported having IoT-related security breaches, with the most commonly cited causes being malware, spyware and human error. More than half of the respondents listed the possibility of external attacks as a major factor against adopting IoT technology.

"While IoT grows in deployment, scale and complexity, proper security methodologies to protect the network and devices, and more importantly, the data and insights they extract, must also keep pace," said Chris Kozup, Aruba's VP of marketing, in a prepared statement. "If businesses do not take immediate steps to gain visibility and profile the IoT activities within their offices, they run the risk of exposure to potentially malicious activities."

But even with these concerns in mind, Ashton pointed out, the benefits of the IoT still tend to exceed original expectations. For example, while only 16 percent of business leaders projected a large profit gain from their IoT investment, 32 percent ended up reporting profit increases. In addition, only 29 percent of executives anticipated that utilizing IoT technology would lead to improvements in business efficiency, but 46 percent ultimately reported efficiency gains.

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