Covid-19 boosted IoT adoption, says Vodafone report

  • October 7, 2020
  • Steve Rogerson

Adoption of IoT projects has speeded up during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Vodafone Business’ 2020 IoT Spotlight report.

The report focuses on the impact IoT is having on businesses at a time when their digital capabilities are being put to the test by the Covid-19 pandemic. It has responses from 1639 businesses globally, exploring how they are using the IoT and how the IoT is helping them be ready for the future.

The pandemic has forced almost all businesses to change their working practices and priorities in a matter of weeks, with the findings showing 77% of adopters increased the pace of IoT projects during this time.

Adopters clearly believe the IoT was vital to keep them going, says the report with 84% saying the technology was key to maintaining business continuity during the pandemic. As a result, most adopters (84%) now view the integration of IoT devices with workers as a higher priority and 73% agree the pandemic will accelerate their adoption plans.

The research found that the IoT continued to generate value and RoI for adopters and 87% agree their core business strategy has changed for the better as a result of adopting IoT technologies.

Almost all (95%) say they have achieved a return on investment and 55% of adopters have seen operating costs decrease by an average of 21%.

From improving operational efficiency to creating new connected products and services, key benefits of IoT deployments include boosted employee productivity (49%) and improved customer experience (59%).

IoT data are becoming essential to support businesses’ decision-making (59%) and the majority of adopters (84%) think they can do things they couldn’t do before thanks to the IoT. And IoT data are also helping 84% of businesses meet their sustainability goals.

Businesses see IoT as an essential element of being future ready. So much so that 73% say that organisations that have failed to embrace IoT will have fallen behind within five years.

While cyber security was one of the main barriers to business’ willingness to adopt IoT in previous years, the report sees the concerns significantly reducing, with only 18% of businesses seeing it as one of the top-three barriers to IoT adoption.

This, coupled with the improvements in brand differentiation and competitiveness (43%) showed by mature adopters of IoT, proves businesses that embrace this technology believe the opportunities IoT offers businesses greatly outweigh the challenges of implementation.

“IoT has grown up,” said Erik Brenneis, IoT director at Vodafone Business. “It’s no longer just about increasing return on investment or providing cost savings to businesses, it’s changing the way they think and operate. And it’s giving them an opportunity to redesign their operations and future-proof their business model. This research proves IoT is an essential technology for businesses that want to be resilient, more flexible and quicker to adapt and react to change.”

Vodafone’s IoT Spotlight is a piece of global research that aims to understand the ongoing impact of the IoT as it is adopted and deployed by businesses of all sizes from around the world. The report investigates the relationship between the IoT, business strategy, resiliency and success.

Research was conducted across 13 markets, totalling 1639 respondents in adopter (A) and considerer (C) categories. The breakdown is: USA (A:156 C:103), Brazil (A:71 C:48), Ireland (A:33 C:37), UK (A:56 C:49), Germany (A:67 C:62), Italy (A:62 C:50), Spain (A:66 C:59), South Africa (A:69 C:42), China (A:74 C:103), South Korea (A: 53 C:53), Singapore (A:66 C:46), India (A:77 C:39), and Japan (A:65 C:31).