As businesses review their spending in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, some investment areas will need to be paused, and despite 35% of organizations reducing their investments in the internet of things (IoT), 47% have said that they plan to increase their investments in IoT, according to a survey from Gartner.
One reason behind this increase in the investment in IoT is that applying the internet of things to a business process is a metrics-based undertaking, with organisations able to quantify the benefits it will bring.
“They use key performance indicators (KPIs) to track their business outcomes and for most of them they also specify a time frame for financial payback of their IoT investments, which is on the average three years,” said Benoit Lheureux, research vice president at Gartner.
Digital Twins and AI Drive IoT Adoption
One area that the survey highlighted was the increasing use of digital twins when monitoring employee or customer safety, a use case which is enhanced by the ability to monitor activity in near real-time via 5G technology. (A digital twin is a real-time digital simulation model, which uses IoT, AI and machine learning to foresee potential issues such as equipment failure and safety breaches.)
“Digital twins can help companies recognize equipment failures before they stall production, allowing repairs to be made early or at less cost,” said Lheureux. “Or a company can use digital twins to automatically schedule the repair of multiple pieces of equipment in a manner that minimizes impact to operations.”
In the survey 31% of respondents said that they use digital twins to improve their employee or customer safety, with 27% of companies saying that they plan to use digital twins as autonomous equipment, robots or vehicles.
“IoT technology has made a huge difference during the COVID-19 crisis, while more broadly businesses are really starting to see its benefits,” explained Erik Brenneis, Internet of Things director at Vodafone Business. “Our recent IoT Spotlight report found that 87% of organisations see IoT as vital for future success and 77% of adopters increased the pace of IoT projects during the pandemic. It is no longer just about providing cost-savings: it is changing the way that businesses think and operate and providing an opportunity to re-design operations and future-proof business models.”
The Gartner survey was conducted online from June through July 2020, with 402 respondents across the US, UK, Germany, Australia, Singapore and India.