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In the Spotlight: IoT and the future of business

01 Oct 2020
Erik Brenneis

Erik Brenneis

IoT Director, Vodafone Business

Since we published our last report, Vodafone Business IoT has reached 100 million IoT connections. We can see that this milestone in connections has coincided with a big shift in how businesses are using IoT and the value they are getting from it.

Today, IoT is quickly becoming an integral part of business operations, and this will only increase as companies continue on their digitalisation journey.

This change has been highlighted by the way IoT adopters have weathered the Covid-19 crisis. When we conducted our IoT Spotlight research, we were at the peak of the pandemic. Businesses were facing completely new challenges.

The results show that IoT has been an important aid to their business resilience during that time: the great majority (84%) said this technology had ensured business continuity.

So IoT helped adopters remain connected to customers, suppliers and employees and kept their businesses going. And that’s why many (77%)1 decided to accelerate their IoT projects during the crisis and 84%2 now view the integration of IoT devices and data with remote workers as a higher priority than before.

Business success relies on IoT

The research findings paint a very clear picture. IoT is not only helping businesses generate return on investment and a reduction in costs, it’s also creating opportunities with a third (34%) of respondents able to create new revenue streams thanks to IoT.

Businesses have understood that IoT is not just a technology; it’s a way to digitally accelerate, do new things and reinvent their products. It’s a chance to change their business model, putting digital capabilities and data at its core.

To put it simply, they have figured out IoT is the true enabler of digital readiness.

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Resilience is everything

This echoes what we found when we conducted our Future Ready report.

Being future ready today means being able to respond to market changes more flexibly and effectively and using data more to make better-informed decisions. And that’s what businesses told us IoT has enabled them to do during the Covid crisis.

Three quarters (77%)3 of them said the COVID-19 pandemic has caused them to rethink their IoT approach to provide greater stability and adaptability to their operations.

Data matters

The value of the data IoT generates is something that also stood out in this year’s Spotlight, and it’s clear that businesses understand this better than before. The majority said they are using this data to create new products and services and that their strategy has changed for the better by using IoT. The data from IoT is giving them the capability, control and confidence to make better-informed decisions. And that is crucial in today’s ever changing business environment.

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It’s worth it

So why do we conduct this research every year?

I was there when Vodafone Business IoT was founded a decade ago and when we launched the first of these annual studies seven years ago.

I have always believed IoT has the power to improve people’s lives and help businesses of all sizes be more competitive and efficient. But to really see the benefits IoT can bring a business, there’s no better place to look than the businesses using it.

And what they always say, year after year, is that implementing IoT is not always plain sailing, but it is definitely worth it. This year has proved IoT does not simply empower businesses to reinvent themselves and their products. It can also increase business resilience in the face of sudden, unexpected, change.

And to businesses considering whether to adopt this technology or expand existing projects I say: take a look, and understand what IoT can do for you.

Read the 2020 IoT Spotlight report

1 77% of all adopters

2 84% of all adopters

3 77% of all adopters

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