Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

EIU: IoT market on cusp of widespread adoption

William Payne
February 27, 2020



Most companies in the developed world are about to start early implementation of IoT related products and services, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), which has released its latest annual report on IoT worldwide.

"The IoT Business Index 2020: A Step Change in Adoption" points to a substantial increase in IoT adoption worldwide. Investment in IoT programmes is also up substantially. AI and machine learning are seen as crucial drivers to realising the value of IoT data, but concerns around cybersecurity are hampering wider adoption of IoT systems.

The EIU report, sponsored by Arm, is one of the longest-running business studies into IoT, offering a global measure of IoT implementation. 

Chief amongst the report's findings are that since 2017, IoT adoption has advanced substantially; the average company is now on the cusp of early implementation of IoT-powered products and services.

The progress also reflects increased investment: 82% of execs surveyed say their organisations grew their IoT investment in the past three years, up from 62% who said the same in 2017. This investment is delivering returns, respondents say: most agree either “somewhat” (38%) or “strongly” (19%) that their use of IoT has delivered “more than its expected return on investment”.

Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are viewed as vital to realising the value of IoT data. Just over a quarter of survey respondents (26%) say that IoT data are pivotal to their current or planned use of AI, with 56% identifying IoT as “one of many important sources” for AI initiatives. 

However, security concerns still hamper IoT adoption – 45% of respondents believe that security concerns have held back consumer adoption, and over a third (37%) say these concerns have discouraged their companies from pursuing an IoT strategy.