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May 23, 2017

Failing IoT projects highlight need for strategy change

There's a lot of changes that need to be made in order for the potential of the Internet of Things to be realised, Cisco has a few pointers.

By James Nunns

Analyst predictions may well be painting a glamorous picture of the potential for the Internet of Things but it remains in its infancy.

With IDC predicting that the worldwide installed base of IoT endpoints will grow from 14.9 billion at the end of 2016 to 82 billion in 2025, it’s clear that this industry trend will soon become a way of life for many people and businesses.

However, at this moment in time, the majority of IoT projects are failing. According to research from Cisco around 60% of IoT initiatives are stalling at the Proof of Concept (PoC) stage, and only 26% of companies have had an IoT initiative that they consider to be a complete success.

The news doesn’t get much better from there, with a third of all completed projects not considered a success.

While it’s clear that many businesses are certainly trying out IoT projects, there’s a number of barriers that are leading to failure. The whole scene is somewhat reminiscent of he early days of Hadoop and more broadly the rebirth of big data.

The findings, which were released at the IoT World Forum event, found that the biggest blockers were: time to completion, quality of data, internal expertise, IoT integration, and budget overruns.

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Read more: IoT early adopters: Imagining success on the journey into the unknown

Speaking at the IoT World Forum, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins said: “We are in phase zero. 26% of these things have been a success, and they are probably the low hanging fruit.”

Robbins was talking about how the industry is very much at the beginning and how it’s impossible to predict what is possible.

There’s no doubt that the IoT holds great potential and is going to happen. 2016 Q3 we saw for the first time the number of connected things to the internet and M2M over networks exceed the number of phones and tablets.

While this highlights that change is afoot, there’s still those barriers blocking success.

Cisco suggests following the path of those that have seen success by doing things like ensuring collaboration between IT and the business, having a technology-focused culture, and by having IoT expertise.

Respondents to the survey (60%) said that IoT initiatives often look good on paper but then provide more difficult than expected. The most successful organisations were the ones that engaged in the IoT partner ecosystem at every stage.

Read more: Cisco tackles IoT security with new threat defence solution

Inbar Lasser-Raab, VP of Cisco Enterprise Solutions Marketing said: “We are connecting things that we never thought would be connected, creating incredible new value to industries.  But where we see most of the opportunity, is where we partner with other vendors and create solutions that are not only connected but also share data.

“That shared data is the basis of a network of industries – sharing of insights to make tremendous gains for business and society, because no one company can solve this alone.”

For those that are curious as to why security concerns were not considered to be one of the top five blockers, Inbar said: “security challenges typically come when you get to the end stage of a project,” which very few are managing to do.

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