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Businesses have high hopes for the IoT

Gartner survey reveals strong optimism over trend, but board-level awareness remains low

In the long term, 60% of organisations expect the IoT to transform their businesses
In the long term, 60% of organisations expect the IoT to transform their businesses

According to a recent survey by Gartner, more than 40% of organisations expect the internet of things (IoT) to offer significant new revenue or cost-savings opportunities in the short term.

And in the long term, 60% of organisations expect the IoT to transform their businesses, the survey added. The survey was made up of 463 IT and business leaders who had knowledge of their organisation's IoT strategy, Gartner said.

Despite all the positivity around IoT, however, Gartner said that survey respondents largely had not established clear business or technical leadership for their IoT efforts.

"The survey confirmed that the IoT is very immature, and many organizations have only just started experimenting with it," said Nick Jones, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

"Only a small minority have deployed solutions in a production environment. However, the falling costs of networking and processing mean that there are few economic inhibitors to adding sensing and communications to products costing as little as a few tens of dollars. The real challenge of the IoT is less in making products 'smart' and more in understanding the business opportunities enabled by smart products and new ecosystems." 

Less than a quarter of respondents had established clear business leadership for their IoT efforts, either in the form of a single organisational unit owning the issue or multiple business units taking shared ownership of it, Gartner said.

The research house added that organisational staff need to understand the potential of the IoT before they can successfully invest in it.

"While a single leader for the IoT is not essential, leadership and vision are important, even in the form of several leaders from different business units," Steve Kleynhans, research vice president at Gartner.

"We expect that over the next three years, more organisations will establish clear leadership, and more will recognise the value of some form of an IoT centre of excellence because of the need to master a wide range of new technologies and skills." 

Even respondents who expected the IoT to have a significant or transformational impact are often working for organisations that haven't established clear leadership, Gartner said. Many survey respondents felt that the senior levels of their organisations don't yet have a good understanding of the potential impact of the IoT.

However, Gartner pointed out that attitudes toward the IoT vary widely by industry. For example, board of directors' understanding of the IoT was rated as particularly weak in government, education, banking and insurance, whereas the communications and services industries scored above-average ratings for senior executive understanding of the IoT.