LONDON — Research for the recent industrial internet of things (IIoT) security Special Report revealed a fundamental lack of awareness among the wider ecosystem about the importance of and need for implementing security in connected devices. Now a new survey confirms that the big issues in IoT continue to be related to fragmentation and security.
The, survey, commissioned by mobile R&D firm InterDigital and carried out by the GSMA, revealed that despite the IoT’s potential, there are significant challenges. Half the respondents identified the development of sustainable business models as the first or second biggest challenges, while the availability of connectivity (42%), security fears (30%), and technical incompatibility (30%) were also highlighted as significant challenges.
Technical incompatibility or interoperability is a clear concern for the mobile industry – 92% of respondents identified fragmentation as a major or moderate issue. Respondents identified connectivity technologies and connectivity management as the areas in greatest need for standardization.
While you’d expect an audience of people in the mobile industry to question the sustainability of business models — as the operators clearly still haven’t found the sweet spot for their part in the IoT ecosystem that brings profitability — the security and interoperability challenges are clearly common threads across the IoT ecosystem.
Other findings of the report, Mobile and the Internet of Things: Unanimity around fragmentation, surprises in connectivity and geography, include highlighting the key role to be played by 3GPP standards-based technology in the IoT, the expectation that North America will lead the world in adoption, and the current small scale of IoT revenue amid hopes for rapid growth.
The report concludes that the successful deployment of IoT will be heavily reliant on cellular technologies such as 5G, LTE, NB-IoT and GSM. Of the connectivity technologies listed as key to IoT, six of the top seven emerged from 3GPP standards – and only 4% of respondents considered Wi-Fi as an important connectivity option for IoT. One third of respondents agreed that by 2023, 5G would likely become the most important connectivity technology for the IoT.
On revenue opportunities from the IoT, almost half of respondents said current revenue from the IoT accounts for less than 1%. However, by 2023, respondents indicated that IoT could account for 20% of operator revenues. The consumer, smart home and smart cities segments are where they think they will benefit significantly from the IoT, with 66% of respondents naming these as their top choice for revenue generation.
Additional findings from the report include:
North America will lead IoT adoption with 73% of respondents identifying the region as the most likely early adopter of large-scale IoT.
59% of respondents believe IoT growth will be driven by demand for data to develop machine learning and artificial intelligence.
42% of operator respondents expect mobile operators to drive the adoption of the IoT, compared to only 29% of non-operator respondents. Non-operator respondents also view system integrators (SIs) and application developers as key players in IoT adoption.
The future of IoT could be in the hands of new companies, with 64% of respondents believing that new players (39%) and yet-to-emerge companies (25%) will have the most influence over the development of IoT in the next 10 years.
The report is based on an online survey of 393 global respondents in the mobile industry: 34% of respondents were from mobile operator companies, including mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), 24% were from software developers and 14% were from hardware vendors. The remaining respondents were made up of players within the mobile ecosystem, including SIs, testing providers, industry bodies and consultants.