The number of companies using IoT devices on a large scale has doubled in the last 12 months

- Adrian Ungureanu

It seems the the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem has just gotten bigger in the past 12 month as the IoT Barometer published by Vodafone revealed that the percentage of companies with more than 50,000 connected devices active has doubled in the last 12 months.

Also, 84% of IoT adopters say that their use of IoT has grown in the last year, while 51% of IoT adopters say that the technology is increasing revenues or opening up new revenue streams, and 66% of all companies agree that digital transformation is impossible without IoT.

Businesses in the Americas have led the way in embracing large scale IoT projects, where 19% of companies using IoT have more than 10,000 connected devices, compared to 13% in Europe and 7% in Asia Pacific. The large scale users also report some of the biggest business gains with 67% of them highlighting significant returns from the use of IoT. Energy and utility companies are at the forefront of the largest IoT projects worldwide, with applications such as smart meters and pipeline monitoring.

The range of benefits that users are getting from IoT is also widening as adoption increases – greater business insights, reduced costs and improved employee productivity top the list globally. In Asia Pacific, 53% of respondents cited increased market competiveness as the top benefit, compared to 35% in the Americas and 33% in Europe. In the automotive sector, 51% of companies say that IoT is helping to improve brand differentiation.

As the scale of IoT projects increases, the report also notes a rise in connectivity requirements. Companies are looking to use a mix of technologies from fixed line to low power wide area networks (LP-WAN) depending on the application. Typically, large scale projects use four different connectivity options, with mobile and Wi-Fi the two most popular. There is increasing interest in the newer technologies such as Narrowband IoT, with 28% of all companies now considering it and other LP-WAN options, for new IoT projects.

The IoT Barometer research surveyed 1,278 respondents in US, Brazil, Ireland, UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, South Africa, China, India, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.