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Surveys show high hopes, deep concerns about IoT

Surveys show high hopes, deep concerns about IoT

Many companies expect IoT to affect their industries but don't have a clear plan yet

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Industrial IoT's big future is starting to become a reality, but many companies still don't think they're ready for it.

Those are some of the findings in surveys released on Tuesday by the Business Performance Innovation Network and the Eclipse IoT Working Group. They reflect the views of hundreds of executives and developers from a range of industries.

More than half of the executives think their industries are already adopting IoT through either pilots or large-scale deployments, and 57 percent are at least in the planning stages themselves, BPI Network said. About 350 executives from around the world responded to the survey by BPI Network, an organization of business leaders.

While many have high hopes for IoT, few are on their way to full deployment. The survey found 41 percent of respondents expect IoT to have a big impact on their industries within three years, affecting things like efficiency and differentiated products and services. But only 7 percent said they have a clear vision with implementation well under way.

Most companies don't have everything they need to succeed in IoT, with many saying they'll need new technical skills, data integration and analytics capabilities, or even a rethinking of their business model. Thirty-one percent of the executives said their organizations face a "major skills gap" in industrial IoT.

The annual developer survey co-sponsored by the open-source Eclipse IoT Working Group, IEEE IoT, Agile IoT and the IoT Council, also found growing adoption along with continuing concerns.

The 2017 results showed more developers working on IoT for industrial automation, connected cities and energy management compared with last year. But nearly half of the 713 respondents, including developers and others, said security is a major concern. That result that echoed BPI Network's findings.

Eclipse's survey drilled down into technical details and found some changes over the past year. While Linux is still the dominant OS for IoT devices, running on more than 80 percent of them, some of the alternatives have gained more traction than others. Windows Embedded, which ran on less than 10 percent of non-Linux devices last year, reached almost 28 percent this year. One reason is that Microsoft has done a good job with the OS, up against alternatives like FreeRTOS and ARM's Mbed, said Ian Skerrett, director of marketing for the working group.

Also, fewer enterprises were using private and on-premises computing for the back-end processing of their IoT data. Just over 18 percent of respondents said they're using private clouds this year, down from nearly 35 percent last year. Meanwhile, the Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform public cloud services all grew more popular.

Cloud providers have come out with better offerings for IoT in the past year, and some enterprises may be using public cloud to scale up deployments that began on in-house systems in the trial phase, Skerrett said.