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Twenty percent of the businesses polled by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for its 6th Annual Digital IQ study said that they were investing in sensors this year, a 3 percent gain from last year.
The professional services firm polled 1,500 business and technology executives to gauge their response to the expanding market for Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. The results indicate that connected sensors are showing up on the radar of a growing number of business leaders.
Twenty-five percent of "Top Performers," companies that PwC ranks among the "top quartile for revenue growth, profitability, and innovation," are adopting sensors this year to boost their IoT initiatives, versus 18 percent last year.
Clearly, many of them approve of the effect sensors are having on the bottom line. A slim majority (54 percent) of Top Performers plan to invest more in sensors in 2014, said PwC.
According to PwC, enterprises are turning to sensors for many of the same reasons that they adopt any technology: better, more efficient business processes. "For businesses, the Internet of Business Things (IoBT) helps companies achieve enhanced process optimization and efficiencies by collecting and reporting on data collected from the business environment," stated the report.
The burgeoning market for IoT solutions also happens to align the priorities of most businesses. "More and more businesses are adding sensors to people, places, processes and products to gather and analyze information to make better decisions and increase transparency," said PwC.
Gartner forecasts that by 2020, data from 26 billion devices will pour into the Internet of Things. And those devices will have a big effect on IT departments.
"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.
On a global basis, Asia leads in sensor adoption (24 percent), followed by Latin America (23 percent), Africa (22 percent), Europe (19 percent) and finally North America (18 percent). It's a state of affairs that is unlikely to change, according to PwC. "Only 8 percent of respondents from European companies and 7 percent of respondents from North American businesses said they plan to boost their investments," said the report.
The top five industries investing in sensors are energy and mining (33 percent), power and utilities (32 percent), automotive (31 percent), industrial/manufacturing (25 percent) and hospitality (22 percent). Healthcare (20 percent), retail (20 percent), entertainment (18 percent), IT (17 percent) and financial services (13 percent) round out the top ten.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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