5 Reasons Businesses Are Not Quite Ready For IoT

by Sohini Bagchi    Feb 19, 2016

IoT

Despite the buzz around the Internet of Things (IoT) and its game-changing benefits to the enterprise, studies reveal, globally, very few projects in this space have actually made it off the ground. In a global survey by IT staffing firm TEKsystems, only 22 percent of organizations are implementing IoT technologies and services. Seventeen percent of respondents said they are currently piloting IoT technologies while less than 20 percent are in the planning stages. 

Here are a few key reasons why businesses are not quite ready for IoT.

1. Security challenges

As the IoT connects more devices, it provides more decentralized entry points for malware. More layers of software, integration middleware, APIs and machine-to-machine communication create more complexity and new security risks. The TEKsystems study suggests that data security tops the list of IoT challenges, with over half the respondents pointing to security as the biggest threat to IoT adoption. 

The survey results are similar to an Accenture study, where researchers say about 47 percent of respondents globally believes security concerns and privacy risks are among the top three barriers to buying an IoT device including smart watches, wearable fitness monitors, and smart home thermostats, among others. 

Read more: Privacy Issues Impede Users From Adopting IoT Devices

“Despite all its promise, the Internet of Things market has revealed itself to be a double-edged sword. The market opportunity is enormous, but security and ease-of-use concerns are hindering its near- and long-term potential,” said Sami Luukkonen, Global Managing Director for Accenture’s Electronics and High Tech Group. 

2. It’s all about people and business

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, believe researchers.

Attitudes towards the IoT vary widely by industry. According to a Gartner 2014 survey, many survey respondents felt that the senior levels of their organisations don’t yet have a good understanding of the potential impact. “Organisations need executives and staff to understand the potential of the IoT if they’re going to invest in it,” said Steve Kleynhans, research vice president at Gartner in an article. “While a single leader for the IoT is not essential, leadership and vision are important.” 

Jason Hayman, research manager at TEKsystems believes finding the right staff and skill sets and an inability to cope with a lack of confidence that IoT initiatives can be handled internally, is one of the topmost hallenges for organizations.

Also read: Internet of Things Only Add To CISO’s Woes

3. Complexity and integration issues

With multiple platforms, numerous protocols and large numbers of APIs, IoT systems integration and testing will be a challenge to say the least. The confusion around evolving standards is almost sure to slow adoption. The rapid evolution of APIs will likely consume unanticipated development resources that will diminish project teams’ abilities to add core new functionality.

Gartner analyst Benoit Lheureux mentioned in his recent report (Jan 2016), “The complexity of IoT integration will often exceed the expectations of IoT project implementers. Clearly understanding integration requirements and investing in essential integration skills and technologies will help IT leaders more successfully implement end-to-end IoT business solutions.”

4. Lack of protocols and standards

There is a clear lack of uniform standard in the IoT space and with a number of players competing in the IoT ecosystem, there are obvious and ongoingtug of wars.

“If the whole idea behind the IoT is to create a world where everything is able to communicate with each other, this obstacle is perhaps one of the biggest barriers of all,” mentioned Rick Delgado in an article published in Smart Data Collective (2015).

Delgado explained with an example. If a company that develops smart clothing is different from a company that develops smart home technology, the chances of their products communicating are minimal. That’s because different devices will often use different communications protocols, resulting in a lack of interoperability and an experience that’s far from seamless for customers

Despite a lack of standard, IoT platform has the ability to aggregate multiple protocols. The platforms need to mature where they can handle multiple protocols without compromising on robustness of the framework, believe experts.

5. No compelling value proposition

 ROI is the prime concern because it is a measurable outcome. Before adopting a new solution businesses must ask what is the measurable business outcome that an IoT enablement can provide. An IoT solution comprises a broad range of technologies across devices, cloud and connectivity from delivery engine, and its here that possibilities are huge.

In an interview with CXOtoday (July 2015),  R R Bipin, VP-Digital Services-IoT, Product Engineering Business, Tata Elxsi, explained, “Today, platform or domain specific modules are not the fundamental differentiators, but what matters is how businesses can use this data and what kind of interventions that data enables. All these needs to be packaged into a product. An IoT solution is linked to a product and it is the heart of the product, but it is not the product in itself.”  

Experts believe, IoT providers will have to explain the key benefits of their services in order for IoT to gain acceptance.