In February 2020, Reticle Research, on behalf of Claris, surveyed 327 small and medium business executives in the U.S. and U.K. to learn more about their adoption of and attitudes toward Internet of Things (IoT) within their companies and industries. The research findings have been provided exclusively to Digital Journal.
The research found that a significant majority of firms (77 percent) are implementing IoT solutions with many implementing multiple projects; however, a lack of technical expertise is holding back implementation and affecting the delivery of many projects.
The report finds that within equipment-intensive industries, small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs) are showing strong IoT adoption, especially among SMBs in industries in retail, automotive, manufacturing, energy and logistics. About 92 percent of those firms that have developed such solutions have developed multiple IoT application, with the most common number being between 2 and 4 (80 percent of implementers)
One of the key drivers is that SMBs see IoT as providing a competitive advantage. Here, about 62 percent of respondents said they believed that IoT tech could create a competitive advantage as opposed to about 17 percent who disagreed. Further, 61 percent of the respondents were concerned that their competitors are doing more with SMBs. Almost half (48 percent) said that their company was behind the curve on IoT tech and needed to catch up.
The research also suggests that IoT projects are yielding a return on investment (ROI). Among the surveyed SMBs that have implemented an IoT project, 24 prevent indicated that projects has already yielded a return on investment while another 38 percent said they expect an IoT project to yield ROI within the next year.
Further drivers for seeking to implement IoT include a desire to improve efficiency and productivity. Also mentioned was improving speed and gathering business intelligence. Companies are also keen to identify where the automation of error-prone processes can assist. Where successful, interfaces developed for IoT applications have the ability to greatly simplify access. With this regard, 71 percent of respondents said that the interfaces used by target users to control IoT applications were somewhat or very easy to use.
Not all projects are successful, however. A lack of development expertise topped the list reasons for not pursuing IoT (something that resonates with other industry reports). About 35 percent of surveyed SMBs reported a lack of development expertise and 20 percent cited security or privacy concerns. Despite the strong adoption of IoT applications by surveyed SMBs and a number were uncertain as to whether IoT was only for big companies