Analyts see opportunity and trouble ahead for IoT deployments

Analyts see opportunity and trouble ahead for IoT deployments

Two new reports have pointed out a series of issues that companies embracing the IoT will need to face in the coming few years. They span the whole scope of the IoT ecosystem from operational to deployment, and from data security to company viability.

A new announcement by Gartner asserts that by 2020 more than half of major new business processes and systems will have an IoT element. That’s quite a bullish statement, and it is tempered with the revelation of a number of hurdles business needs to overcome. These hurdles are as follows:

  • Time to completion: Gartner says that through 2018 three-in-four IoT projects will take up to twice as long to complete as planned. The results of this include cost overruns and compromises on ambition including on performance and security.
  • Use of IoT for criminal activity: By 2020, Gartner sees a $5bn black market in fake sensor and video data which will encourage the development of privacy products and services. Individual privacy and concerns, products to protect that and the involvement of governments will all play a part here.
  • Rising costs of security: Gartner suggests the average security budget for IT, operational technology and IoT security requirements will be 20 percent of annual security budgets in 2020 – up from under one percent in 2015.

Meanwhile analyst house Machina, which specialises in the IoT, Big Data and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, has released its annual set of predictions for the IoT sector for the coming year.

Its thirteen predictions broadly centre on industry change and development and a couple, in particular, could be seen as identifying imminent challenges that the sector will need to address. As is often the case with the identification of threats, these might also be seen as opportunities – it rather depends which side of the fence you are sitting on.

Machina tempers its predictions by stating: “We take the view that there is little point in doing these kinds of predictions if you’re not going to be outspoken and take a few risks. Doubtless many of the following list won’t come about as they are specifically termed, but they illustrate wider trends about which we are much more confident.”

So, with that caveat in mind – consider these:

  • A household name in IoT will file for bankruptcy while another will be bought for a figure greater than 100x revenue.
  • There will be a shift from vendor specific to vendor agnostic solutions. Machine notes that some MNOs may give rivals large contracts to support global deployments. The challenge here is for companies to be prepared to ‘let go’ if they want to keep their eye on the prize.
  • Chinese vendors will increasingly emerge as global players. Machina mentions Huawei and Xiaomi specifically, but says other vendors will also come onto the global stage. One outcome will be further consolidation in the semiconductor sector, another will be ‘productisation’ of platforms.
  • Regulatory issues will ‘burn a lot of fingers’ and there will be a significant problem caused for at least one major player. Interestingly, Machina says “Companies are on the hook for compliance and those industries which shoulder the burden for legal responsibility (e.g. auto) will see faster adoption than those where everyone ducks the issue (e.g. consumer electronics).”

All this noted, both Machina and Gartner are bullish about the future of IoT. Gartner points to a lowering of cost in IoT implementation as a key driver for the industry, while Machina sees telecoms as being a real beneficiary in the coming year with topics like 5G and smart home technology pushing telecoms into the limelight.