Interview: Digital transformation impossible without IoT says Vodafone IoT chief

Interview: Digital transformation impossible without IoT says Vodafone IoT chief

Communications giant Vodafone says that two-thirds of users believe that digital transformation is impossible without the Internet of Things (IoT).

Eighty-one percent of adopters think their digital strategy is generating measurable business value, adds the company.

Vodafone also finds that over half of IoT adopters say that the technology has either increased existing revenues by an average of 19 percent, or opened up new revenue streams.

Where businesses reported a reduction in costs via their IoT implementations, the average was 16 percent, says Vodafone.

The findings were published in Vodafone’s IoT Barometer report. Circle Research surveyed 1,278 enterprise and public sector executives from 13 countries to produce the report for the company.

“The proportion of adopters that have embraced IoT on a massive scale — more than 50,000 connected devices — has doubled since 2016. And the majority of adopters say they’re spending more on IoT than 12 months ago,” says the report.

With Vodafone also finding that nearly 80 percent of respondents believe most business processes will include IoT elements by 2022, Internet of Business asked Stefano Gastaut, IoT director at Vodafone Group Enterprise, for his insights on both Vodafone’s IoT strategy and how organisations are adopting these technologies.

Vodafone’s latest global IoT Barometer finds that 51 percent of IoT adopters say that the technology is increasing revenues or opening up new revenue streams. Do you think that figure will change in the coming years? And if so, what will drive that change?

Stefano Gastaut: “We absolutely expect this figure to continue rising. As IoT and connectivity moves higher up businesses’ agendas, we’re expecting to see more and more initiatives rolled out across all industries.

“Our research has found that 79 percent of IoT adopters believe that over 50 percent of business processes will include some form of IoT sensing or control systems by 2022. As the costs of implementing connectivity into devices decreases, we expect to see the rate of adoption grow.

As IoT delivers more insight to businesses we expect its use to expand not just within organisations but also in helping to form more connected ecosystems.

Can you share any concrete examples of companies whose revenue streams have changed thanks to IoT?

We have healthcare organisations that are now able to access new revenue streams from providing connected wearables to offer patients more independent lives. We have home protection service providers in the US that are selling information back to insurance companies to improve risk profiling on the basis of IoT-generated data.”

The IoT Barometer also says that two-thirds of all companies agree that digital transformation is impossible without IoT. Why has IoT become so crucial to so many organisations?

Early adopters of IoT will definitely be leading the digital transformation journey. Businesses need to consider how IoT can be leveraged throughout an entire organisation, rather than developing it in silos. This will help organisations of all sizes develop business strategies to use the new technologies, allowing them to adapt quickly to different market challenges and changes.

Our research has shown that 81 percent of adopters think their digital strategy is generating measurable business value, compared with 65 percent of organisations who are simply considering switching to IoT.

Last year Vodafone launched its NB-IoT network in Ireland. Can you explain why IoT needs special networks like this and what the benefits are?

“Narrow Band IoT (NB-IoT) offers another option for connectivity and provides a solution for applications which would not be viable using existing technology. It is a low-power, wide-area technology that uses licensed spectrum, and that means quality of service is maintained and interoperability is improved.”

Internet of Business says

London-headquartered Vodafone has embarked on a number of forward-looking Internet of Things (IoT) programmes in 2018, from putting 4G on the moon to partnering with Lamborghini and China Mobile, to trialling an air traffic control system for drones and working with retailer Mango on in-store digital fitting rooms.

It’s good to see a British multinational pushing the boundaries of IoT technology with such confidence and imagination, and putting the partnerships in place to bring about global collaboration.

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