Eseye claims that just 1% of businesses are able to achieve ubiquitous connectivity for IoT. Eseye defines that level of connectivity as, “better than 98% connectivity levels on average across their device estates.” It goes further and claims that “just 16% are achieving 95% connectivity.”

The details come in the latest State of IoT Adoption report (registration required) launched by Eseye. At 18 pages, it delivers some uncomfortable facts about how poorly organisations are doing with IoT connectivity. What makes the results interesting is that all the respondents had IoT devices in at least 3 countries. They were also relying on cellular networks for connectivity. It shows, again, why the belief in ubiquitous mobile connectivity makes no sense.

Paul Marshall, Co-Founder and CCO, Eseye (Image Credit: LinkedIn)
Paul Marshall, Co-Founder and CCO, Eseye

Paul Marshall, Co-Founder and CCO, Eseye, comments on the findings: “It is shocking that businesses are prepared to compromise their goals and risk customer dissatisfaction or product failure because of sub-standard connectivity. In our eyes anything less than 100% is simply not good enough, which has been our mantra since day one and remains at the core of Eseye’s offering.

“As the survey suggests, IoT connectivity success is about more than just buying SIMs and data. Breadth and depth of global coverage matters – how many cellular networks do you truly have access to? Is that coverage resilient and reliable enough for your business case? In order to achieve near 100% ubiquitous global IoT connectivity, a unique blend of network capabilities, hardware, device optimisation and professional service expertise is required.”

Mediocre is not good enough

One of the big take-outs from the study is that organisations seem to be settling for whatever they can get. Part of that is because they are using the cheapest possible connectivity to manage costs. It seems that cheap SIMS and data packages are creating a false narrative for buyers.

What is not clear, is if any of the respondents has done an ROI on the challenges that mediocre connectivity creates. For example, what is the impact when devices disconnect? How much support time is spent reconnecting devices and troubleshooting? What are the risks of a device disconnect in terms of safety and security? Just as importantly, what is the impact on the business overall in terms of inconsistent connectivity?

According to Marshall, “Buyers may be unaware that their connectivity is subpar as they may not have a suitable benchmark, and are engaging in a false economy when cost is their top concern not value. The fact that buyers seem unaware that connectivity performance is even an issue clearly points to a need to better educate the market around what should be acceptable to deliver IoT success.”

Some key stats from the report

There are a fair number of statistics in this report. However, some stand out and should be carefully noted by anyone deploying wide-scale IoT.

  • 81% of respondents expect the number of IoT devices in their estate to increase.
  • 78% say ubiquitous connectivity is crucial to the business case despite only 1% reaching more than 98% connectivity.
  • 72% plan to increase IoT budgets in 2023 with more than half seeing an increase of 25%-50%.
  • 95% admit that cost of connectivity is an important factor in decision-making.
  • 81% say getting the right IoT device is critical.
  • 67% of IoT project failures trace back to device issues.
  • 80% want a single IoT connectivity management platform.
  • 17% ranked device security as a major problem but that is down from 39% in 2021 and 22% in 2022.
  • 62% of manufacturers say IoT has enabled the business to increase revenue.
  • 58% say IoT has created operational efficiencies in the supply chain.

Where is IoT seeing growth?

The vertical market analysis in the report looked at five different industries – EV charging / smart grid, healthcare / medical, manufacturing, supply chain / logistics and smart vending. It looks at where growth in IoT is likely to be and shows some surprising numbers.

Supply chain / logistics (85%) and healthcare / medical (84%) are expecting to see the most growth. EV charging /smart grids and manufacturing expect an 80% growth, while smart vending is just 75%. To put those numbers into a wider perspective, 14% say IoT estates will treble if not quadruple. 6% expect a larger growth than that.

IoT is seen as key to entering new markets and disrupting existing markets. This is especially true for EV charging and smart grids.

In healthcare, there is different driver and that is lower costs and increasing coverage. 9% of respondents have between 10,001 and 100,000 devices. A major driver has been the COVID-19 pandemic and organisations changing how they engaged with patients. Importantly, more than 31% plan to more than double the number of devices they have in their estate.

In supply chain and logistics, IoT has been key to new models. The ability to track shipments and record location, temperature and other factors is an increasing requirement. As such, 77% will increase their budgets by 25% to 50% over the next two years. However, there are headwinds here. 50% of respondents admit they are only able to achieve between 71-90% connectivity.

How to improve IoT estates

The report offers a number of solutions to improving the effectiveness of IoT devices. It points out that the risk of connectivity failures can be extreme, especially in healthcare. Inconvenience to end-users is also an issue. Being unable to charge vehicles or get goods from a vending machine will upset consumers. More importantly, in an age of social media, it could create reputational risk if a company is found to be unreliable.

Issues with choosing the right hardware are highlighted, with two-thirds saying that IoT project failures are down to the device. What is not clear here is whether this is due to poor design, questionable marketing or a failure to test and pilot projects.

Compounding that issue is permanent roaming. For supply chain and logistics, the ability to monitor across borders is crucial. Part of the problem is roaming charges, something that is exacerbated by using cheap contracts. There are also regulatory issues with governments in some countries banning and blocking roaming IoT devices.

Enterprise Times: What does this mean?

The benefits from IoT are substantial. They provide the ability to gather more detailed and localised data on what is happening in a range of environments, from healthcare to supply chain and logistics. It allows companies to meet regulatory demands and even those of insurers.

Given the benefits, it is hard to understand why organisations are playing fast and loose with connectivity. While we are in a financial squeeze for businesses, there is a need to get the most out of contracts. However, if that threatens the effectiveness of a solution, there is a point where cost reduction becomes more of a risk than paying more.

It will be interesting to see if these numbers change next year. The responses in the report suggest that awareness is high. However, awareness and action are not the same thing.

Eseye launches AnyNet SmartConnect to deliver agility and scalability to IoT rollouts

 

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