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Retailers Ahead in Internet of Things Education

Decision-makers agree they will benefit—but challenges remain

September 30, 2015

The internet of things (IoT) continues to grow, connecting more devices to each other to help run more of everyday life, but there’s still a massive awareness gap. Even among the very people who will be making big decisions about the future of the IoT, many do not know much about it. Research suggests retailers have made the most progress in this area.

Internet of Things (IoT) Decision-Makers Worldwide Who Are Familiar with the IoT, by Industry, Aug 2015 (% of repsondents)

The International Data Corporation (IDC) surveyed business and IT decision-makers worldwide about the IoT. In most industries, fewer than half of respondents said they were familiar with it. Only manufacturing and retail bucked this trend, with retail taking the lead by 3 percentage points.

Retail has come out ahead in other research related to the IoT as well. Retailers have adopted IoT technologies at above-average rates for both customer-facing and back-end applications. Manufacturers have also been ahead of the curve when it comes to behind-the-scenes uses for the IoT.

Across industries, most decision-makers surveyed by the IDC thought the IoT would be of strategic importance to their business—but not transformational. About two-thirds of manufacturing respondents and 59.6% of retail respondents agreed. More than nine in 10 respondents in all verticals thought the IoT would be important in some way.

Leading Concerns/Challenges with Deploying Internet of Things (IoT) Technologies According to IoT Decision-Makers Worldwide*, May 2015 (% of respondents)

According to Forrester Consulting research commissioned by SAP and Intel, two-thirds of IoT decision-makers worldwide believed the IoT would have a positive impact on process efficiencies, and 61% said the same about their customer relationships. Six in 10 believed the IoT would benefit their profitability. More than half believed they would be able to offer new services thanks to the IoT.

But there were still a number of problems holding things back. More than a third of respondents had security concerns about the IoT, and 31% were challenged by the complexity of its implementation.


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