IoT Adoption in the USA Slows Owing to Pandemic; Challenges Cited Around Security and Device Onboarding

77% of USA respondents said their IoT project was at best only somewhat successful in meeting expectations and realizing benefits but 86% still plan increased investment, according to new research.

Over one third (36%) of USA organizations have decreased their investment plans in IoT and 33% have cancelled their IoT initiative altogether as a result of COVID-19, a figure considerably higher than their UK counterparts (19%), according to a new State of IoT Adoption Study commissioned by global IoT connectivity specialist, Eseye.

Surveyed USA respondents had fewer large IoT projects underway, with only 13% having deployed more than 10,000 devices, which highlights that the market may not have matured as quickly as parts of Europe. This lack of maturity may be why some USA respondents decreased investment plans and are cautious about IoT success. 41% of USA respondents cited security as a top challenge when implementing IoT, compared to 36% in the UK. Likewise, 41% of USA respondents said device onboarding (i.e., device set up, configuration and design), testing and certification was also a key issue, compared to only 29% of UK respondents. As a result, IoT projects have failed to reach their full potential according to three quarters of USA enterprises who have embarked upon an IoT initiative in the last 12 months.

The Study was undertaken by independent research organization, Opinion Matters, among 250 UK and 250 USA-based senior decision makers and implementers of IoT strategy within five vertical markets. It explores the current state of IoT adoption; the challenges, opportunities and untapped potential of IoT; the impact of COVID-19 and how this has affected adoption plans; and the criticality of intelligent connectivity to fuel future growth.

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Key USA IoT adoption findings:

  • 88% of USA respondents said IoT is a priority for their business.
  • 46% of respondents are planning further projects in the next two to three years.
  • 86% are planning budget increases for IoT initiatives; 46% plan to boost spending by between 51 and 100%.
  • 98% said that COVID-19 has impacted their IoT plans; for 25% it has accelerated development of their IoT initiative,31% said they had increased investment plans, while 36% said they had decreased investment plans and 33% have cancelled their IoT initiative all together. This compares to 19% for UK respondents.
  • 77% of USA respondents said that their IoT project was at best only somewhat successful in meeting expectations and realizing benefits.
  • Security and device onboarding were cited as top challenges; 41% said this for both issues, while for 37% managing the estate and device contracts had proved difficult.
  • Cellular IoT deployments have still not reached anywhere near critical mass; most USA respondents (87%) had deployed fewer than 10,000 devices.

IoT at a tipping point

The Study found the larger the project, the faster the acceleration as organizations embrace IoT. The more devices respondents have in the field, the more they are planning to deploy in the coming twelve months. This indicates a tipping point in IoT projects in terms of scale. However, of 250 US respondents only 13% had deployed between 10,001 devices and 100,000 in the field and only 2% had deployed more than 100,000 devices.

Disrupting markets and business models

IoT projects are undertaken by innovative organizations to disrupt traditional business models and deliver tangible business benefits. When asked about the benefits their IoT initiative has or is predicted to deliver, USA respondents scored higher on entering new markets (36%) versus 34% in the UK and delivering new lines of business, with 35% versus 29% in the UK.

Nick Earle, CEO, Eseye comments: “These findings suggest that USA respondents are choosing to harness IoT for innovation; to break into new geographies and conduct market research with new products. However, security of device and device onboarding was more of a significant challenge for USA respondents than the UK. This device onboarding issue may point to more stringent device certification programs in the USA compared with the UK. However, the need for intelligent connectivity was not such an issue in the USA as it was in the UK. This could be because historically USA deployments tend to be domestic, rather than international. However, as Enterprise organizations based in the US deploy IoT globally, this becomes a much bigger issue due to permanent roaming and other cellular connectivity restrictions.”

Technology drivers

Cloud and remote access were cited as the top technology drivers by 45% of USA respondents which, given the events of the past year, is not surprising, as many businesses look to accelerate their digital transformation plans with IoT initiatives. USA respondents rated LPWAN technologies (45%) and Intelligent Edge hardware (44%) higher than 5G (35%), whereas 5G was the second highest technology driver for UK respondents.

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Intelligent connectivity

USA respondents were asked to what extent they agreed or disagreed with the statement, “I think the evolution of intelligent connectivity is going to be critical to continue to fuel adoption of IoT?” Interestingly, USA respondents were less concerned about this issue, with only 21% strongly agreeing with this statement, compared to 33% in the UKIn fact, nearly one-quarter of USA (23%) respondents were ambivalent towards this statement, neither agreeing nor disagreeing.

Earle continues: “When looking to the future 88% of USA respondents said that IoT is a priority, which was higher than the UK, with 85%. Likewise, we found that USA organizations were more concerned about management of the device and contracts, which could mean that they are starting to think about bigger, more global deployments which mirrors what we are starting to see in the market. Recently Eseye has been working with four of the Global Fortune 500 Enterprises, on some major global IoT programs so the tide is turning.”

Eseye’s 2021 State of IoT Adoption Report offers detailed analysis of the IoT challenges and trends affecting businesses in the UK and USA and examines the variation between vertical markets including: Smart Vending; Supply Chain and Logistics; EV Charging and Smart Grid; Manufacturing; and Healthcare and Medical Devices. It contains recommendations for actions and strategies that organizations should prioritize to improve business outcomes and the value derived from such initiatives. Download the full report here.

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