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Making Business Sense of the Internet of Things

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With better data – and more of it – comes improvements in efficiency and better, more informed business decision. At least that’s the thinking behind the boom in Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.

Most American and British business leaders agree, according to new study from Aeris, a provider of machine-to-machine (M2M) and IoT solutions and services, and research firm Vanson Bourne. Seventy-four percent of the 300 executives surveyed by the company in the U.S. and U.K. feel that IoT will enable them to better meet their key business objectives in the coming year, while 71 percent said IoT will help them gain a competitive edge.

Those attitudes help explain why industry watchers expect the IoT market to explode over the next few years. Earlier this year, analyst firm International Data Corporation (IDC) forecast that the IoT solutions and services market will hit $1.7 trillion by 2020, driven in large part by enterprise demand.

Aeris’ study uncovered some interesting regional differences. “In the US, 86 percent felt that IoT would help their organizations in 2016, while in the UK, only 51 percent agreed,” wrote Aeris spokesperson Trystan L. Bass, in a company blog post.

That optimism is being tempered by practical concerns over integrating IoT tech into their IT environments.

Big data analytics and management is a big worry among executives. Seventy-two percent of respondents said they’re having a tough time extracting meaningful insights out of sensor and connectivity data.

While it’s a discouraging statistic, the survey data suggests that businesses are struggling with a more fundamental IoT competency. Nearly the same number (73 percent) voiced concerns over the collection, storage and management of sensor data.

Enterprises also have to contend with building IoT-enabled applications.

“Since last surveyed in 2013, executives find that developing IoT applications and enabling them for different platforms is even more difficult,” Bass stated. “Seventy-six percent find this a challenge today versus 69 percent two years ago.”

Most organizations are developing their IoT and M2M apps in-house (65 percent), the study found. American companies are more likely to build their own apps (70 percent) compared to British companies (55 percent).

There is a bright spot. Sensor makers are making some progress, reported Bass.

“The survey revealed at least one thing has gotten easier in the past few years,” she wrote. “In 2013, 72 percent of IT decision-makers found that building IoT devices and the required sensor hardware was a challenge, but today, only 66 percent consider this a problem.”

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

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