About 80 percent of companies surveyed in a global study by IT services major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) said they had increased revenue by investing in the Internet of Things.
"Across the board, those companies investing in IoT are reporting significant revenue increases as a result of IoT initiatives with an average increase of 15.6 percent in 2014. Almost one in ten (9 percent) saw a rise of at least 30 percent in revenue," a press release from TCS on the results of the study said.
The release said company executives still see the IoT as a growing area for businesses, with 12 percent identifying a planned spend of $100 million in 2015 and 3 percent looking to invest a minimum of $1 billion among the 795 companies surveyed.
The report also shows that companies predict their IoT budgets to continue increasing year-on-year, with spending expected to grow by 20 percent by 2018 to $103 million.
TCS launched the global study to look at the impact of IoT technologies across a wide range of industry sectors around the world.
The TCS Global Trend study on IoT
, which surveyed 795 executives from large multinationals, identifies the huge potential for revenue increases from IoT, while also highlighting the significant challenges that lie ahead for businesses transitioning to the new model.
Natarajan Chandrasekaran, CEO and MD of TCS, said: “The age of IoT is well underway. The question is whether businesses are ready to realise the full potential of this technology. Our latest global trend study found that leaders in using IoT technologies are using it to completely reimagine their businesses by changing every aspect of them from business models and products to business processes and workplaces.”
He added: “Now is the time for every leader in every industry to reimagine the possibilities for their businesses in a world of smart, connected ’things’.”
According to the release, companies at the very forefront of this drive for innovation through IoT have seen the biggest benefits from their investments.
The top eight percent of respondents, based on ROI from IoT, report a staggering 64 percent average revenue gain in 2014 as a direct result of these investments. Currently the biggest business impact is that companies can offer their customers more bespoke products and services, yet by 2020 this will convert from marketing functions to increased sales, through adding considerable value to the customer.
"This is reflected in the finding that the most frequent use of IoT technologies by companies is tracking customers through mobile apps, used by almost half of all businesses (47 percent). More than half (50.8 percent) of IoT leaders admit to investing in IoT to track their products and how these were performing, whereas this is only the case with 16.1 percent of the respondents with the lowest ROI from IoT," it said.
Despite the encouraging data on IoT investment and its impact on revenue growth, the report also revealed that major challenges remain in realising the promise of IoT for businesses across all sectors. The report found that the three biggest factors holding companies back were:
Corporate culture: Respondents identified the ability to get employees to change the way they think about customers, products and processes was a major barrier;
Leadership: Having top executives who believe in IoT and are willing to invest time and resources is critical;
Technology: Questions around technology continue to loom large including handling Big Data; internal vs external development; integrating IoT data with enterprise systems; and ensuring security and reliability.
The release said the healthcare sector has been hailed as having the greatest potential to benefit from the IoT, but remains one of the most underdeveloped industries due to regulatory restrictions and data security concerns that currently hinder innovation. The sector plans to spend just 0.3 percent of revenue in 2015, but will be increasing this investment by at least 30 percent by 2018. The healthcare market driven by the IoT is predicted to be worth $117 billion by 2020.
In contrast, executives in the industrial manufacturing sector are reporting the largest increase in revenue from IoT, with an average 28.5 percent, followed by financial services (17.7 percent) and media and entertainment (17.4 percent). The automotive industry has the lowest revenue gain with just a 9.9 percent increase.
The report, which looks at trends across 13 key industries, found that large-scale investment in IoT infrastructure and monitoring is not confined to those in manufacturing, however, with the travel, transportation and hospitality sectors planning to spend 0.6 percent of revenue this year. Media and entertainment companies will spend 0.57 percent of their revenue on IoT in this year – significantly more than the 0.4 percent average and the 0.44 percent spend in banking and financial services.
The release said revenue increases are also being enjoyed globally with all regions reporting double-digit growth in 2014, but US firms are reporting the largest gains of 18.8 percent, up from the previous year.
In revenue terms, Europe as a whole is seeing a 12.9 percent increase, while Asia-Pacific reports a 14.1 percent increase and Latin America an impressive 18.3 percent growth. In 2015, European firms plan to spend $93.9 million on average, with French firms leading the charge ($138 million on average), ahead of Germany ($86.2 million) and the UK ($80.9 million).
North American companies will spend 0.45 percent of revenue this year on IoT initiatives, while European companies will spend 0.40 percent. Asia-Pacific companies will invest 0.34 percent of revenue in the IoT, and Latin American firms will spend 0.23 percent of revenue. This has led to North American and European companies more frequently selling smart, connected products than are Asia-Pacific and Latin American companies, the release added.
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