Businesses Are Bracing for the Internet of Things: Gartner

Forty percent of business and IT leaders expect the Internet of Things to affect their organizations within three years.

Business leaders are awaiting the bottom line-boosting effects of the Internet of Things (IoT).

In a survey of over 450 business and IT leaders, Gartner discovered that 40 percent were looking for the IoT to boost sales and cut costs for their organizations within three years, the analyst group announced today. Further out (five years or more), 60 percent said that they expected the same result.

Yet few of them have a plan to capitalize on the IoT's growth.

Less than a quarter of those polled had IoT leadership in place, in the form of either a single business units or multiple groups taking up the cause. Gartner's data reveals that "the IoT is very immature, and many organizations have only just started experimenting with it" by adding IoT-enabled gear to their production environments, said Nick Jones, a vice president and distinguished analyst at the research firm.

Some industries are further ahead of the curve than others. Executives at communications and services companies had a better grasp of the IoT's potential impact, while those in the government, education, banking and insurance industries lagged behind.

Economics aren't a factor, as it only adds "a few tens of dollars" to add networking and sensing capabilities to products, observed Jones. "The real challenge of the IoT is less in making products 'smart' and more in understanding the business opportunities enabled by smart products and new ecosystems."

Last year, Gartner forecast that by 2020, the IoT will consist of 26 billion devices and generate over $300 billion in incremental revenue by that year. As expected, IT departments will bear the brunt of IoT's encroachment.

"Data center operations and providers will need to deploy more forward-looking capacity management platforms that can include a data center infrastructure management (DCIM) system approach of aligning IT and operational technology (OT) standards and communications protocols to be able to proactively provide the production facility to process the IoT data points based on the priorities and the business needs," said Gartner research director Fabrizio Biscotti in a statement at the time.

Successful IoT initiatives don't have to fall squarely on the shoulders of a CIO or other top executive, said Steve Kleynhans, a research vice president at Gartner. "While a single leader for the IoT is not essential, leadership and vision are important, even in the form of several leaders from different business units."

Nonetheless, Gartner said experts will soon begin to emerge within enterprises. "We expect that over the next three years, more organizations will establish clear leadership, and more will recognize the value of some form of an IoT center of excellence because of the need to master a wide range of new technologies and skills," said Kleynhans.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Tags: Gartner, internet of things, IoT

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