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Internet of Things set to see widespread adoption by 2019, with 49% of retailers now using it

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Internet of Things (IoT) technology will be widely adopted by 2019, suggests a new international report, which finds that almost half of retailers are now putting it to work in their businesses.

Around 49% of the retailers questioned, who hailed from as many as 20 different countries, are using IoT technology, and 81% said that it had improved the customer experience. That in turn is likely to have a positive effect on loyalty and revenue, says Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, in its study, The Internet of Things: Today and Tomorrow.

The leading retail use of IoT technology was in in-store location services that send personalised offers and product information to shoppers. Monitoring, maintenance and – for four out of 10 retailers – surveillance were among the other uses.

The study questioned 3,100 IT and business decision makers in 20 countries to find out how the IoT is developing in different parts of the world and in different industries. It found that while 98% of business leaders had some understanding of the term, many are unclear as to exactly it means – and what it means for their business.

In an Aruba e-book, Kevin Ashton, credited with coining the term Internet of Things, defines it like this: “The ‘Internet of Things’ means sensors connected to the Internet and behaving in an Internet-like way by making open, ad hoc connections, sharing data freely and allowing unexpected applications, so computers can understand the world around them and become humanity’s nervous system.”

Across industries, 72% of businesses have introduced IoT devices into the workplace, for, in order, remote monitoring, indoor location-based services, and controlling building temperatures and lighting. Some 62% of industrial respondents had introduced it, primarily to monitor and maintain essential industrial functions.

The Aruba report found that 85% of businesses across industries plan to implement IoT by 2019, in a move that would see them respond to needs for innovation and business efficiency. Aruba’s report also cautions that connecting thousands of things to existing business networks has already resulted in security breaches for most (84%).

But while only 16% of business leaders had expected a large profit gain from their IoT investment, 32% did see profit increases. And while only 29% of executives expected their IoT strategies to result in business efficiency improvements, 46% did experience efficiency gains.

Chris Kozup, vice president of marketing at Aruba, said: “With the business benefits of IoT surpassing expectations, it’s no surprise that the business world will move towards mass adoption by 2019. But with many executives unsure of how to apply IoT to their business, those who succeed in implementing IoT are well positioned to gain a competitive advantage.”

Capturing and understanding data is integral, according to Kevin Ashton, to the Internet of Things, but that appears to be another clear challenge for global organisations. Some 98% of organisations that had adopted IoT say they can analyse data – but 97% see challenges in creating value from this data. Well over a third (39%) of businesses are not extracting or analysing data within corporate networks.

Ashton said: “Since its inception in 1999, the Internet of Things has been ridiculed, criticised, and misunderstood. And yet here we are, less than two decades later, in a world where tens of thousands of organisations are saving and making hundreds of millions of dollars from the Internet of Things, using cars that drive themselves, subway stations that sense passengers, algorithms that diagnose deadly diseases using phones, and many other once apparently-impossible technologies. The future promises far more amazing things. The most important decision you can make now is how to be a part of it.”

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