Internet of Things World, the world’s largest and most comprehensive IoT conference and expo, released findings from its latest survey of more than 100 IoT decision makers on a variety of concerns related to scaling, implementation, cybersecurity, and blockchain.
These findings come at an especially important time for IoT strategy and deployment in the industry. “We have reached an inflection point where IoT is starting to accelerate to commercial mass scaling from the POC experimentation stage, so it’s imperative for organizations to have a coherent IoT deployment strategy and not left out in this period of digital transformation,” says Aru Bala, President Innovation Business at Stanley Black & Decker.
The global scaling and implementation of IoT programs remains a challenge for many organizations. The top problems companies are facing in scaling IoT operations include dealing with “legacy” devices and software (53.06%), the need for highly specialized and custom solutions (45.92%), and managing which departments will be responsible for IoT-related sensors, gateways, networking equipment, analytics, hardware and software (37.37%). Nearly half of the executives surveyed (46.94%) also stated that implementation problems plagued their IoT solution projects while an additional 12.24% singled out the lack of support for a production-quality deployment as a key hurdle.
Another current focus for the industry is cybersecurity. The survey found 36.73% of executives are not sure or not confident that their organization could secure and protect all data within their IoT ecosystem. Also alarming is the fact that half of the respondents are not maintaining an inventory of connected devices and 43.4% are not conducting vulnerability testing to identify where the weak points are in the network, and then working to shut them down.
“We are balancing two somewhat conflicting objectives with IoT: the need to apply pragmatic Infosec policies to network devices around availability, integrity, and security with the heterogeneous nature of an IoT landscape and its constrained network bandwidth. At a minimum, IoT devices need to have tripwires to protect against the most basic of vulnerabilities and control channels that are distinct from the telemetry to extend network intrusion detection capabilities to the edge,” says Dave Shuman, IoT and manufacturing industry leader at Cloudera.
The good news is that 72.16% of respondents are ensuring security is incorporated into the design and embedded into the product life cycle of the devices used. Furthermore, 61.86% are either developing an IoT security policy or enforcing one.
Managing the cross-functional nature of IoT implementation also vexes many organizations. Companies are choosing diverse strategies, with the largest group (32.65%) choosing to create a specific business strategy team tasked with implementing IoT within the company. Trailing that, 27.55% of companies are asking IT to take the helm in leading this implementation.
Early adopters are also doing some company soul searching about the role blockchain should play in their future. Forty-six percent are currently considering the use of blockchain technology in their IoT strategy. For the companies that are seriously considering how to incorporate blockchain, the biggest potential benefits that would justify investing in this technology are reducing the risk of collusion and tampering (15.05%) and building user trust with blockchain cryptography (13.98%).
Despite the hurdles outlined in this survey, the opportunity for the Internet of Things remains huge. Founder of IoT World, Gavin Whitechurch, concludes, “IoT is still very much at the base of the hockey stick in terms of its current deployment and potential growth. As the enterprise becomes increasingly serious about IoT investments, cross-sector collaboration and knowledge-sharing from early IoT deployment experiences will be what drives our new connected world forward.”