SMBs See IoT Potential, Wary of Possible Challenges

Almost three out of five SMBs agreed that IoT would help boost their revenues, a sentiment that was echoed by around two-thirds of MSP respondents.

avg and iot

Roughly one in four (26 percent) small and midsize businesses (SMBs) and managed services providers (MSPs) expect the Internet of things (IoT)—including multiple devices, wearables and cloud-based services—to generate more money for them than any of the other current big IT trends, according to a survey released by AVG Technologies.

Almost three out of five (57 percent) SMBs agreed that IoT would help boost their revenues, a sentiment that was echoed by around two-thirds (67 percent) of MSP respondents.

However, just 18 percent of SMB respondents thought their IT provider was ahead of the curve regarding IoT management while 70 percent of MSPs themselves admitted the need to adapt their services to meet customer expectations in this regard.

"For small businesses, the Internet of things means the ability to use the latest technologies—and it truly promotes the BYOD trend," Marco LaVecchia, vice president of channel sales for AVG Technologies, told eWEEK. "It also means businesses need to ensure all those connected devices are secure and free of viruses and malware."

The study, based on a poll of 1,770 small businesses and MSPs in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany and Australia, also revealed that 55 percent of MSP respondents said customers are demanding IoT-related services and 77 percent are planning to expand their service or product portfolio.

Of those SMBs working with an IT provider, 68 percent feel that their provider could improve their service with regard to IoT offerings and understanding.

"Although SMBs seem concerned that adopting the Internet of things will increase costs, we can't look at it this way," LaVeccia said. "Today, the importance of the IoT is equivalent to how laptops and phones are important to a business. Many of the IoT devices coming to businesses today will be extremely valuable and beneficial to businesses, and will help gain efficiencies and increase margins."

A little under half (46 percent) of SMBs think that the IoT will be the IT trend that has the greatest impact on their organizations over the next five years.

An even higher proportion, 71 percent, said that due to the Internet of things, their organizations will need to take extra steps to secure and protect their data.

In addition, more IP-enabled devices are coming to the market daily, and users are adopting IoT devices at a very fast rate and single users are leading the trend of adopting the IoT.

"There is always fear to new ideas and concepts. Businesses did not turn away from mobile devices when they came out, because they were valuable. It's important for businesses to standardize on what IoT devices they will and will not support," LaVeccia said. "Support programs these days are focusing on managing the user and may contain a certain number of devices in a contract. Therefore, supporting three or seven devices per user may be the same cost, depending on the support contract by their IT service provider."