10 Insights From Microsoft’s Latest IoT Signals ReportOctober 12, 2020
- One in three enterprises is increasing their investments in IoT as a result of Covid-19.
- 79% of enterprises adopting IoT see AI as either a core or a secondary component of their strategy.
- 97% have security concerns when adopting IoT, with network-level security being most important (43%), followed by device track & management and endpoint security (both 38%).
- Businesses adopting IoT believe they’ll see a 30% ROI on their IoT projects.
These and many other insights are from Microsoft’s IoT Signals Report, Edition 2, published on October 2nd. IoT Signals is published annually to provide Microsoft partners, customers and business leaders the insights and market intelligence they need to develop and launch IoT strategies.
This year, Microsoft commissioned the Hypothesis Group, an insights, design and strategy agency to execute the IoT Signals Edition 2 research. More than 3,000 IoT decision-makers in enterprise organizations across the US, UK, Germany, France, China and Japan currently involved in IoT were interviewed. Please see page 4 for additional details on the methodology.
The top 10 key insights from Microsoft’s IoT Signals Report, Edition 2 include the following:
- Enterprises’ IoT adoption surged in the last year from 85% to 91%. The survey found that 83% of adopters have at least one project that has achieved the use stage, which is 9% better than last year. Hypothesis Group and Microsoft found that IoT projects fall into four stages: learn, trial/POC, purchase and use. The study points out that more projects are in the purchase and use stages this year, with fewer in the learn phase than in the previous year. In 2020, 29% of IoT adopters surveyed have projects in the Learn stage, compared to 33% in 2019. The study’s authors note this signals that enterprises are maturing from knowledge gathering into implementing.
- 90% of enterprise leaders say IoT is critical to their success, up from 88% a year ago. Enterprises have ambitious plans for IoT in the future too. 95% anticipating using IoT just as much or more in two years than today, expanding current use cases. The researchers imply that the more effectively an enterprise integrates IoT into its core business, the higher the level of satisfaction with the results.
- US, France, Germany and China have the highest percentage of enterprises that are adopting IoT today. The research team finds that IoT adoption is strong across all six countries included in the study’s methodology, with a slight variation in adoption speed and its defined success. China’s enterprises are the fastest at moving into the use phase (10 months), while German projects take slightly longer (14 months). Despite their different speeds of adoption, both China and Germany feel most strongly that IoT is critical to their enterprises’ success. Adoption is slower within the UK and Japan, with more of their IoT projects in the learning phase than other countries.
- Retail, Energy and Manufacturing industries have above-average IoT adoption rates and believe IoT is critical to their success. The average time to use was 12 months, except for the energy industry, which generally took about a month longer. Of the four industries studied, manufacturing has the most ambitious plans to use IoT in the next two years (67% versus the average of 64%).
- IoT excels at track-and-traceability, remote real-time process monitoring and providing real-time supply chain data that increase its adoption across the study’s industries. In manufacturing, production flow monitoring is invaluable in troubleshooting product quality, yield and potential compliance problems. IoT sensors provide the data needed to identify anomalies in production data early, so customer orders can still ship on schedule. In healthcare, there are regulatory compliance requirements for supply chain track-and-traceability, making IoT a superior technology to solve that challenge.
- 31% of enterprises are increasing their investment in IoT due to Covid-19, twice as many as will be decreasing. Achieving positive ROI on early projects delivers a formidable confidence boost, as the study found that companies who anticipate the same or more IoT investment have 27% of projects in the learn phase. Early successes with IoT have an accumulated impact on how enterprises choose to invest in IoT. The study’s researchers provided an interesting story to illustrate how IoT adoption during the pandemic is essential. A German bottler wasn’t seeing empty glass bottles come back via recycling and quantify the problem using IoT data, then re-plan production scheduling. They were able to keep producing despite recyclable bottles not coming back from customers.
- IoT initiatives are making their greatest contributions to improving efficiencies, increasing yields and improving quality. Enterprises are seeing IoT most often increase the efficiency of operations (54% of the time), followed by allowing employees to be more productive (47%) and increasing production capacity or yield (46%). The research team found that enterprises remain highly reliant on the production and operational efficiencies IoT provides. Other reported top benefits of IoT include quality (77%) and safety (41%).
- Enterprises define success with IoT initiatives by the cost and production efficiencies achieved first. Achieving greater control, optimization and visibility across manufacturing, supply chains and services providers contribute to IoT projects’ success by reducing costs and increasing efficiency. IoT-based data often holds the insights and intelligence needed to unravel why complex enterprises are bogging down and what ca be done to improve performance. The following are the five common measures of IoT success.
- The top three reasons enterprises integrate AI with IoT are prescriptive maintenance, improving user experiences and predictive maintenance. The researchers mentioned how one healthcare provider described their company’s integration of AI within IoT for predictive maintenance: “We layer AI on top of our IoT solution to do predictive maintenance. We know historically that pump B is going to fail at a specific point, so we can send the technician out before it fails.” At a minimum, seven in ten enterprises are planning to adopt AI for IoT projects.
- Over 85% or more of the enterprises competing in the manufacturing, retail and energy industries have an AI strategy today, with retail leading all others in adopting AI analyzing IoT data. While the majority of retail (83%), manufacturing (77%) and energy (76%) companies are using AI in an IoT solution, healthcare organizations lag, with only 66% capitalizing on AI in their IoT strategy.