Number of large scale global IoT projects doubles

The amount of companies with more than 50,000 connected devices active has doubled in the past 12 months, according to a new worldwide survey by Vodafone.

The research from Canonical looked at the views, opinions and experiences of 361 IoT professionals regarding past, present and future IoT projects.
Two-thirds (66%) of all companies agree that digital transformation is impossible without IoT.

According to the latest report, 84% of adopters noted that their use of IoT has grown in the last year; and more than half (51%) said that the technology is increasing revenues or opening up new revenue streams.

Additionally, two-thirds (66%) of all companies agree that digital transformation is impossible without IoT.

Businesses in the Americas have led the way in embracing large scale projects, where 19% of companies using IoT have more than 10,000 connected devices, compared to 13% in Europe and 7% in Asia-Pacific.

The large-scale users also report some of the biggest business gains; 67% of them highlighted significant returns from the use of IoT. Energy and utility companies are at the forefront of the largest IoT projects worldwide, with applications such as smart meters and pipeline monitoring.

The range of benefits that users are getting from IoT is also widening as adoption increases – greater business insights, reduced costs and improved employee productivity top the list globally.

In Asia-Pacific, more than half (53%) of respondents cited increased market competiveness as the top benefit compared to 35% in the Americas and 33% in Europe. In the automotive sector, 51% of companies said that IoT is helping to improve brand differentiation.

Security remains the biggest barrier for organisations regarding deployment. However, in companies with 10,000 or more connected devices in operation only 7% say security is their top worry.

Organisations are reportedly taking more steps to tackle security concerns including an increase in security training for existing staff, working with specialist security providers and recruiting more IT security specialists.

As the scale of projects increases, there is a parallel rise in connectivity requirements. Companies are looking to use a mix of technologies from fixed line to low power wide area networks (LP-WAN) depending on the application.

Typically, large scale projects use four different connectivity options with mobile and Wi-Fi the two most popular. There is also increasing interest in the newer technologies such as Narrowband IoT, with more than a quarter (28%) of all companies now considering it and other LP-WAN options, for new projects.