Gartner Finds Companies Still Figuring Out Their IoT Strategies

In a survey of 465 IT business professionals, support for using the Internet of things is growing, but 38 percent say they won't use it.  

Gartner, IoT, enterprises, CIOs, Internet of Things

Enterprises are still trying to decide how the Internet of things will fit into their operations, though support for the idea continues to grow. That's the conclusion of the latest IoT research from Gartner, which reports that roughly 64 percent of 465 IT professionals surveyed said they eventually plan to implement IoT in some way.

The report, "Survey Analysis: Early Adopters of Internet of Things Poised to Make 2016 the Year of the Customer," was released March 3 and also found that 29 percent of the respondents said they are already using the IoT, while 14 percent are planning to implement it in the coming 12 months. Another 21 percent said they plan to implement IoT after 2016.

At the same time, though, some 38 percent of the respondents said they have no plans to implement IoT at all, "including 9 percent that see no relevance whatsoever in the technologies," according to the report. The number of organizations adopting IoT will grow 50 percent in 2016, reaching 43 percent of organizations overall.

"The big issue for the people not planning to use IoT is the lack of clear benefits," which was cited by about 50 percent of the respondents, Gartner analyst Chet Geschickter, who wrote the report, told eWEEK.

Having insufficient expertise and staffing was cited by 41 percent of the respondents, while 38 percent pointed to not having clear leadership for the technology, he said. Many respondents also said that they are having trouble developing ideas that would show how their companies could benefit from IoT, he said.

"That really is about the use cases, what can you actually do with this stuff for your business," he said.

In addition, 37 percent of respondents mentioned security concerns with IoT.

There are still plenty of questions that IT leaders have when it comes to IoT, according to the Gartner report, Geschickter said. "One of the biggest concerns we have at Gartner is whether the CIOs are ready for this."

What could happen is that companies will make decisions about IoT based on how their competitors are making progress in using the technology to improve their performance, operations or bottom lines, he said. When competitors adopt IoT strategies, that could force companies to move forward to keep up, he said.

"It's absolutely happening right now," as seen when fitness apparel vendor Under Armour acquired several technology companies recently, he said. "They're definitely forcing the issue on other companies like Nike and Adidas. There are some early movers, and their competitors follow them closely."

Consumer interest in IoT is also growing, but so far, it has mostly been slow as consumers find products with IoT capabilities and then have to decide whether to pay a bit more than non-IoT products to bring the new technologies into their homes. At the present time, consumers are not asking for smart homes or appliances in huge numbers, he said.

That will likely continue to change and evolve as consumers eventually begin seeking out such products, rather than adopting them by chance, Geschickter said. "If you went back to 2005 and asked people if they wanted a phone that played music for them, they would have said 'what are you talking about?' And now 10 years later, they couldn't imagine a phone that doesn't play music."

The Gartner report is based on an online survey conducted in November 2015 among Gartner Research Circle Members and included responses from 465 IT and business professionals spanning 18 business sectors in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America. The survey found that the biggest IoT technology challenges for those that have already implemented IoT are cyber-security, integration and managing business requirements. However, orchestration of workflows and processes looms as a major concern for those planning to implement IoT.

"2016 will be a very big year for IoT adoption," said Geschickter. "We are starting to see a wide range of IoT use cases across virtually all industries. But the big challenge now is demonstrating return on investment. Executives need to validate the contribution that IoT can make in order to justify large-scale rollouts."