No, your competitors probably aren’t rolling out massive IoT deployments (yet)

IoT-light-bulb

Read quickly through Verizon’s “State of the Market: Internet of Things 2017” report, and you get the impression that the Internet of Things has exploded over the past year. Check out the breathless executive summary:

In our view, 2016 was the year IoT gained significant momentum in the enterprise. In 2017, it is clear there is no turning back. Businesses are laser-focused on IoT as an enabler of sustainability, safety and economic growth—with 73% of executives either researching or currently deploying IoT, according to a survey of industry executives commissioned by Verizon.

That’s nearly three-quarters of responding executives! If you’re in that other quarter, you probably should start looking for a job now because your slow-footed enterprise is doomed.

Or maybe not. While that 73% impressive, it’s really a combination of enterprises actually deploying IoT on a large scale and enterprises that are experimenting. Citing a May 2017 McKinsey report, Verizon notes, “Most enterprise IoT projects are in the proof of concept or pilot phase, not in production.”

Gaudy Gartner forecasts notwithstanding (8.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2017, and will reach 20.4 billion by 2020), enterprise IoT efforts generally are in the toe-dipping phase. So, if your enterprise doesn’t have an IoT pilot, plan, or strategy, it’s not too late to get in the game — especially since the infrastructure needed to support widespread use of IoT still isn’t ready.

“This is the year we will see more developments around the first 5G networks,” Verizon said in its report. “5G is expected to be up to 100 times faster than existing networks, it also promises to be more efficient and have lower latency rates. As such, experts expect 5G to massively expand IoT applications and drive innovation across all industries.”

As with the 73% figure, there’s less here than meets the eye. What “more developments” actually means is that Verizon is running 5G trials in 11 U.S. markets this year. Great to hear, and I’m looking forward to ubiquitous 5G someday. But until then, enterprises that aren’t yet up to speed on IoT should focus first on defining a business case for the technology and then on developing a deployment strategy. That way, when the IoT infrastructure is ready, you’ll be ready too.

RELATED LINKS

I is for IoT

Defensive strategies for protecting IoT

N is for networks

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