Confusion around IoT hampers adoption in EMEA, says Aruba
Disparate knowledge of IoT hampers adoption in EMEA, says Aruba
Aruba Atmosphere EMEA 2017, Disneyland Paris

Confusion around IoT hampers adoption in EMEA, says Aruba

IoT adoption in Europe and the Middle East (EMEA) is hampered by a disparate understanding of the technology among business and IT leaders, according to a survey.

The poll of 1,400 business and IT leaders in 11 countries in EMEA was announced this morning at Aruba Atmosphere EMEA 2017. It was carried out by wireless networking specialist Aruba Networks, a HPE company.

The EMEA IoT showdown: Business vs IT report shows that IoT adoption currently sits at 50 percent, a figure which is set to rise to 82 percent by 2019. The problem, according to Aruba, is that there is a clear lack of alignment between business and IT leadership regarding what IoT is, how it is being used and even whether it has been adopted.

Points of confusion

Respondents highlighted several points of confusion affecting IoT adoption in the region.

Fundamentally, the main point of contention is the definition of IoT. The man who coined the phrase IoT, Kevin Ashton, says it means “sensors connected to the Internet and behaving in an Internet-like way by making open, ad hoc connections, sharing data freely and allowing unexpected applications, so computers can understand the world around them and become humanity’s nervous system.”

Yet, 65 percent of IT leaders define IoT as ‘adding internet connectivity to everyday objects’ while 48 percent of business leaders suggest it means ‘automation of building services’. Both are true, but Aruba says these definitions miss a wider point about the benefits IoT has to offer.

Similarly, there is disagreement over the use cases for IoT, with the result that EMEA businesses fail to spot the opportunities. IT leaders believe the primary use for IoT is monitoring and maintenance of critical equipment, whereas business leaders believe it is to provide location-based services.

This has created a “highly fragmented” IoT landscape, with countries reporting drastically different levels of IoT adoption, understanding of IoT, and levels of perceived security that it offers, according to Aruba. The company’s report suggests that there is even confusion over whether IoT is in use in their own businesses. 58 percent of business leaders believe it is, whereas only 47% of IT leaders agree.

Morten Illum, vice president of EMEA at Aruba commented on the findings: “It’s clear that there are conflicting views within departments on IoT, but with IoT adoption moving at an unprecedented rate and the business reporting clear business value from IoT, it is essential that there is an open dialogue around IoT to ensure cohesion on IoT adoption. Conflicting priorities could mean disruption in its success within the organization.”

Read more: How can organizations close the IoT skills gap?

Reasons to be positive

Despite this disparate understanding of IoT, majorities in both parties say they will roll out an IoT project in the future, believing it will improve productivity, reduce operational risk and bring greater efficiency and better value to their business.

At present, Spain is supposedly the leading country in Europe when it comes to IoT adoption, with 69 percent of respondents from that country claiming to have deployed the technology. France and Italy are not far behind with an adoption rate of 61 percent, while the UK and Sweden sit at a lowly 37 percent with only Norway behind them on 34 percent.

There remains much to be positive about, however. Illum believes “EMEA has a huge opportunity with IoT. With executives across the region already reporting significant business benefits such as enhanced customer experiences and better innovation, those who are able to successfully align and connect internal structures to implement IoT are well positioned to gain a competitive advantage.”

Read more: IoT held back by skills gap, say a third of execs