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February 17, 2016updated 31 Aug 2016 5:23pm

UK firms look to hire Chief IoT Officer as Internet of Things investment soars

News: 8 in 10 businesses see security issues impeding innovation.

By Joao Lima

Over half of UK businesses plan to employ a Chief IoT Officer (CIoTO) in the next 12 months, as investment in the IoT is also set to soar.

A survey has found that 54% of UK public limited companies will invest in a CIoTO, especially in the education (63%), retail (63%)and telecoms (64%) industries.

This comes as 94% of all UK businesses claim to be investing in initiatives to prepare for the IoT, spreading those investments across infrastructure, security, R&D, skills and personnel

The "IoT: Risk or Reward?" survey of 500 CEOs and senior decision makers in the UK, has found that 60% of companies will be spending more on the IoT this year, by an average of 42%.

Commissioned by Webroot and IO, the survey also found that 68% of business leaders expect to reap actual benefits from their IoT investments in 2016, up from 20% who are seeing benefits today.

As a primary focus, 71% of those surveyed said that investment around improving network infrastructure and capacity is key. This comes as 24% of decision-makers see their current ICT infrastructure as a barrier to successful IoT adoption.

The survey has also found that 80% of those questioned see security issues impeding innovation, however, only 27% are re-engineering to cater for greater connectedness across their organisation.

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Data security has also been highlighted as a concern by 37% of respondents, who believe it is also impeding progress.

57% of business leaders think that security in general is likely to be compromised as organisations try to innovate quickly.

According to Webroot’s VP of strategic partnerships in IoT, John Sirianni, security concerns are warranted in the IoT era, and organisations will need to adopt some new thinking.

"The speed at which the cyber-criminals innovate is generally faster than the speed at which enterprises can react. The enterprise can only hire so many security professionals – and they need to make sure that when they do, they invest in the best technologies, processes and training too.

"A lot of the cyber-criminals have new toys to play with in the industrial base. The only good news is that they have not yet figured out the best way to monetise that".

IO’s Director Andrew Roughan said that there are some initiatives that can drive change quickly and deliver some customer-facing and online benefits, but this is about more than that – it is about defining the next era of the enterprise, beyond five or ten years.

"The infrastructure to support IoT needs some careful consideration, as typical enterprise-scale infrastructure investments won’t enable the IoT to scale economically."

He said that if there were doubts about just how seriously UK businesses are taking the Internet of Things in 2016, then "this research goes a long way to dispelling them".

"The fact is that everywhere you look, companies are preparing to reap the potential rewards that they see in the IoT – regardless of their size, location or industry," he said.

"However as the IoT evolves in the business world, the pace at which it does so will inevitably be governed by people with the right skills to make it happen."


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