UK manufacturers neglecting the benefits of IoT

UK manufacturers neglecting the benefits of IoT

UK manufacturers aren’t actively investing in IoT technologies, according to a report published this week.

The SAP study polled 100 senior executives working in the British manufacturing sector and found that almost a fifth expected no investment in the IoT this year. The average investment is only 8 percent of most IT budgets.

Major doubt and challenges

This lack of investment casts a major doubt on the uptake of IoT, even though most of the respondents believed that the technologies can help. More than half of deploying companies saw cost reductions, and 38 percent saw improvements in product development.

The study revealed that there are clear challenges when it comes to adopting IoT. Nearly half (47 percent) cited a lack of awareness and understanding as a barrier, while 43 percent said legacy technology was an issue. 42 percent were concerned about data protection. Another study from EEF suggested that Internet speeds are also an issue.

Related: 5 reasons why manufacturers are embracing the Internet of Things

Light at the end of the tunnel

Surprisingly, only one in five have actually experienced an IoT application or product working. A respectable proportion of the executives saw IoT as a career booster, with 48 percent stating that IoT will result in higher value jobs in future.

IoT is widely accepted as a source of growth and benefit for a variety of businesses and industry, and manufacturing is one of them.

Gartner claims there’ll be 25 billion objects connected to the internet by 2020, with IoT creating nearly $2m (£1.4m) in global economic benefit.

Staying positive with IoT

Nayaki Nayyar, GM & head of IoT at Go to Market for SAP, said the Internet of Things offers many benefits for manufacturers.

He said: “IoT is set to have a major impact on the manufacturing sector and it’s encouraging that businesses see the potential benefits technology can bring to provide better insights, proactive actions and improved outcomes.

“Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things can enable end-to-end transformation for manufacturing companies and connect the shop floor to the top floor, optimising supply chains and manufacturing operations and ultimately helping them stay competitive.”

Separately, a new report from BDO LLP has found that while 59 percent of UK manufacturers think Industrie 4.0/Industry 4.0 will have a positive impact on the sector, only 8 percent have a “significant understanding” of the processes involved.

20 percent of companies had some level of Industry 4.0 strategy in place, with 19 percent saying they do not need a strategy. 43 percent plan some level of investment in automation over the next 24 months.

Related: German production plants were leveraging the Internet of Things – back in 2005