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Zebra Survey Finds IoT Plans in the Works at Most Companies

Only 36 percent of respondents say they have a company-wide intelligent enterprise system, while 57 percent report having a vision in place for some level of Internet of Things expansion.
By Claire Swedberg
Nov 08, 2017

Businesses recognize the need for boosting their intelligent enterprise capabilities, according to Zebra Technologies, while most confirm that they do not yet have intelligence built into the majority of their operations. That, Zebra reports—based on the results of its "Intelligent Enterprise Index" survey—may imply that there is a groundswell of Internet of Things (IoT)-based technology deployment ahead for companies worldwide.

The survey's key findings included the percentage of companies that have plans and cultural processes in place to adopt an intelligent enterprise: 71 percent. Of those collecting IoT-based data for an intelligent enterprise, two-thirds are already sharing that information for use by employees in real time or near-real time. The survey found that more than half of the respondents already had some level of planning to leverage IoT technology to expand into new markets and increase revenue. In fact, 57 percent said they have an IoT plan that they are now executing.

Zebra's Tom Bianculli
The survey, conducted from Aug. 3 to 23, included 908 companies in health care, manufacturing, retail, transportation and logistics. Participants were located around the world, including in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Brazil, India, Australia and New Zealand. The survey covered 11 areas: IoT vision, business engagement, technology solution partnering, adoption plans, change-management plans, point-of-use application, security, deployment, infrastructure, data-management plans and intelligent analysis.

Zebra offers Internet of Things technologies used to create an intelligent enterprise, the company reports. It defines IoT solutions as anything designed to bridge the physical and digital worlds, says Tom Bianculli, Zebra's CTO. An intelligent enterprise then integrates IoT sensor data with cloud computing and mobility (such as tablets and enterprise smartphones) so that data can be understood and acted upon for operational purposes.

The company began developing plans for the survey as part of its Intelligent Enterprise Symposium on the campus of Harvard University—which, Bianculli explains, included leaders from industry, government and academia. That symposium explored the definition of intelligent enterprise, how much it has been adopted to date and how companies can manage the adoption of such an enterprise.

According to the subsequent survey, spending on IoT solutions is already under way, with 43 percent of those polled indicating they spend $1 million or more annually (the average amount reported was $3.1 million). Most firms think in terms of enhanced use of technology to build intelligence, Zebra reports—in other words, sensors, mobile devices and the management of data coming from them. Bar codes are still the most common tool for data collection, according to the study, with 71 percent of IoT systems utilizing bar-code scans. Sixty-four percent employ data from mobile computing, while 63 percent use data from mobile phones.

Seventy-five percent of those spending $1 million or more on IoT systems indicated they expect that number to grow within the next year or two. Only 36 percent said they have a company-wide IoT deployment in place, while 62 percent expect to implement company-wide IoT solutions in the future.

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