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IoT adoption
barriers: How to
speed up
IoT adoption 

Author: Mike Elgan

The Internet of Things (IoT) is helping to transform business. The insights enabled by IoT bring unprecedented levels of awareness and automation into business processes and decision-making.

The IoT revolution is ushering in a new age of digital business. And that makes sense—the benefits are enormous. Network-connected, sensor-equipped devices can enable powerful monitoring of activity, environment, location and other factors. They can cut operating costs. Organizations can enjoy improved mobility, seize new business opportunities and gain better control over processes and facilities.

So, with all the benefits of IoT, what is slowing down IoT adoption?

Understanding IoT adoption barriers

There is no one cause of IoT adoption barriers, but many working in concert. Here's a look at some of the most common obstacles holding companies back.

Data security

The increase in an organization's attack surface brought about by the addition of new connected devices is causing some concern, and with it a desire to get IoT security right. These concerns go far beyond the security of the devices themselves or the data they generate. IoT devices can open a door to malicious attackers that give them access to networks, their resources and data. The problem is compounded if you're running legacy systems or security policies that don't take IoT into account. 

Data collection and analytics

Sensor-based IoT devices are great because they can monitor a wide range of processes and conditions. But all those sensors introduce a flood of incoming data that has to be managed, stored, processed, backed up, secured and analyzed. Many organizations are uncertain about the quantity of data generated, where and how it will be stored, who has access and what the bandwidth implications are, so they may hesitate.

Fragmentation

The applications and use cases of IoT are numerous and divergent between and even within industries. And the IoT space is characterized by rapid growth and change. Discovering the best solution for any particular industry is one key to success, but adds to delays in adoption. 

Interoperability

IoT industry fragmentation adds to the challenge of interoperability. An abundance of devices, processing platforms, connectivity options and applications—as well as a large number of standards and protocols—adds to the challenges of IoT adoption. Although IoT devices are small in size, they are great in number, and each device, platform and application must interoperate with the others, adding a complexity that may trigger caution and hesitation before adoption.

Expertise

As with any new technology, IoT specialists are hard to come by, and it turns out this category does require expertise. IoT devices seem simple. But, in fact, integrating these devices into an effective IoT solution can be quite complex.

Performance 

IoT solutions greatly increase the amount of data to be handled by networks, so it's natural to worry about the potential performance degradation. That's one reason why choosing the right technology and architecture is vital. 

Time to implement

Because of complexities, IoT could take a considerable amount to time to implement. After all, IT leaders want to get it right, make it work and not break anything. One of the reasons for IoT adoption barriers is the unexpected amount of time it takes to conduct IoT rollouts.

How to speed up the revolution

Now that the business world is starting to understand the constraints of rapid IoT adoption, it's becoming clear that what's needed is a comprehensive, rather than piecemeal, approach to IoT that facilitates device management, accommodates specific industry requirements, and integrates IoT security with organizations' larger systems and processes for risk management. With the experience of the past few years, it makes sense to narrow the range of standards supported, expand the timeline to implementation and consider more turnkey solutions rather than build-it-yourself approaches.

One key decision is whether to keep IoT programs in-house or to partner with a service provider. Depending on the industry, the company (including its size), and the specific requirements and applications, an IoT managed services provider may offer the smartest way forward. Industries with complex, specialized equipment—or those where staffing and expertise are harder to come by—may benefit enormously from leveraging the experience a service provider offers. The calculation should focus on the cost and time to develop the knowledge and expertise required for the target IoT programs.

Once that fork in the road is navigated, it behooves companies to plan realistic timelines and approaches that take into account the many sources of delay. Ideally, it makes sense to map out all phases of an IoT rollout and think about both minimum and maximum expected timelines for each phase, resulting in an overall best- and worst-case scenario for time to roll out and adoption.

The IoT revolution is a powerful boon for business—but one that calls for intelligent planning.

Learn more ways to overcome IoT adoption barriers and protect against IoT security threats.