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Zebra Survey Shows Security, Management Planning Driving IoT Growth

The company's 2019 "Intelligent Enterprise Index" finds greater planning is taking place among Internet of Things adopters in retail, manufacturing, health care and logistics to ensure that systems are secure and that data can be potentially shared with partners.
By Claire Swedberg
Nov 06, 2019

The rate of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions adoption continues growing across multiple sectors, according to a new survey conducted by Zebra Technologies, though implementation is being better planned than in the past. This year, the company released its third annual "Intelligent Enterprise Index," involving 950 participants in health care, manufacturing, transportation and retail (see Zebra Survey Finds IoT Plans in the Works at Most Companies and Zebra Annual Survey Sees Growth in IoT Adoption to read about the 2017 and 2018 editions).

According to the survey, growth is being driven by an on-demand economy that requires faster deliveries in transportation and retail, greater mobility for health care, and transparent receipt of materials and work-in-progress (WIP) for manufacturers. However, the company found, one key takeaway from this year's survey wasn't so much the rate of growth but rather the more strategic approach to IoT deployment, including planning solutions with security and data-management plans. "People are instrumenting out further, but they're doing it in a more purposeful matter," says Drew Ehlers, a global futurist at Zebra Technologies. "It's about the data and what they can do with it."

Drew Ehlers
The survey's participants consisted of 24 percent health-care firms, 27 percent manufacturers and 26 percent retailers, while transportation and logistics represented the remaining 23 percent of respondents. They were based in nine countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, China, India and Japan. Each company responded to questions about its IoT deployment status and vision, as well as 10 other criteria, such as security, data-management plans, infrastructure and adoption challenges.

Overall, the survey found that those with what Zebra calls an "intelligent enterprise," either under way or in the planning stages, represent 61.5 percent of responding companies, up from 55.9 percent a year ago. The firm defines enterprise intelligence as a business's ability to understand what is happening in its operations, both in real time and for analytics, with a platform to act on that enables higher levels of growth, productivity and service. The IoT is the enabling technology for this kind of intelligence, Zebra maintains.

The percentage of those that have completed their IoT deployment planning entirely is up from 8 percent in 2018 to 18 percent this year, according to the survey. Most have one or more strategic partners to make that happen, and most commonly are using a single provider to manage their entire solution. The majority of deployment activity is still taking place among the largest firms, while those companies that are furthest evolved in their IoT solutions are firms reporting $500 million or higher in annual revenue. What's more, the overall average spending of intelligent enterprises is $6.4 million, up 39 percent from last year. The number of companies claiming to be nearly complete in their IoT implementation planning has risen from 37 percent in 2018 to 45 percent this year.

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