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Over half of business processes to use IoT by 2020

Gartner predicts IoT's impact to grow significantly over next four years

Over half of business processes to use IoT by 2020
Gartner said that it expects 75% of IoT projects to take up to twice as long as planned through 2018

More than half of major new business processes and systems will incorporate some element of the Internet of Things (IoT) by 2020, according to the latest predictions from Gartner.

The research house said that the impact of the IoT on consumers' lives and corporate business models is rapidly increasing as the cost of "instrumenting" physical things with sensors and connecting them to other things - such as devices, systems and people - continues to drop.

"Uses of the IoT that were previously impractical will increasingly become practical," said W. Roy Schulte, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

"The IoT is relevant in virtually every industry, although not in every application. There will be no purely 'IoT applications.' Rather, there will be many applications that leverage the IoT in some small or large aspect of their work. As a result, business analysts and developers of information-centric processes need to have the expertise and the tools to implement IoT aspects that play a role in their systems."

Making further predictions on the future of the IoT, Gartner added that it expects 75% of IoT projects to take up to twice as long as planned through 2018. The research house said that, the more ambitious and complicated the project, the greater the schedule overruns will be. For some projects, Gartner said, compromises will be made in order to keep them on-schedule, leading to "significant" weaknesses in performance, security or integration into existing processes.

"Product-centered enterprises will be the worst affected," said Alfonso Velosa, research vice president at Gartner.

"They will seek to launch smarter, connected products, although this will often be a reactive, tactical approach that seeks to address their competition's IoT product. However, even for enterprises conducting internally centered projects that may focus on cost reductions, there will be people issues. Most of these issues will centre on the normal introduction of a new technology model. It will be complicated by emerging business models that will require process and cultural change. Addressing both of these will lead to projects going over schedule."

Gartner further predicted that, by 2020, a black market exceeding $5bn will exist to sell fake sensor and video data for enabling criminal activity and protecting personal privacy.

The nature of IoT solutions, how they are deployed, and the types of data they generate and consume are giving rise to new security and privacy implications that organisations must begin to address, Gartner said. The research house added that this is a rapidly escalating risk to the organisation, bringing complexity unfamiliar to most IT and business leaders.

"The IoT has enormous potential to collect continuous data about our environment," said Ted Friedman, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

"The integrity of this data will be important in making personal and business decisions, from medical diagnoses to environmental protection, from commands to modify actions of machinery to identification and authorisation of physical access. A black market for fake or corrupted sensor and video data will mean that data can be compromised or substituted with inaccurate or deliberately manipulated data. This scenario will spur the growth of privacy products and services, resulting in an extensive public discussion regarding the future of privacy, the means to protect individual privacy, and the role of technology and government in privacy protection."

And finally, Gartner predicted that, by 2020, addressing compromises in IoT security will result in increased security costs to 20% of annual security budgets, from less than 1% in 2015.

As use of IoT devices grows, the unique requirements of IoT architecture, design and implementation over multiple industry segments and scenarios will also grow, Gartner said. As a result, the research house said it believes that the average security budget for IT, operational technology (OT) and IoT security requirements will respond to the growth of IoT devices across all business segments and scenarios.

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