Most people assume that IoT is a complicated and expensive venture, but this viewpoint is arguably outdated. In some ways, IoT has never been more accessible or affordable, with the costs of the technology that powers IoT seeing huge drops in cost.
According to The Economist, the cost of computing is roughly a one hundred-millionth of what it was in the 1970s. The cost of sensors, according to Goldman Sachs, have dropped from $1.30 to $0.60 between 2004 and 2014. And operational costs have dropped too – research by Stanford University suggests the amount of data processing possible per kilowatt-hour of energy grew a hundred-billion-fold between 1950 and 2010.
So why don’t businesses invest in IoT?
With the drop in costs of these technologies, it’s easy to assume that most businesses aren’t encountering financial barriers to IoT. However, the perception of IoT as expensive and complicated persists.
For example, in manufacturing, many businesses consider themselves too small to invest in IoT, as demonstrated by anecdotal evidence in the 2019 PWC Annual Manufacturing Report. The same report said that over 50% of businesses have no plans to implement IoT technologies or are not sure why they should. Manufacturing is not alone in this issue, many SMEs that we meet don’t think they have the finance or resources to invest in digital technologies.
Awareness – not accessibility – is the key barrier
Interestingly, though, the PWC report also suggests that many manufacturers may already be engaged with technologies like ERP systems and CNC robotics – both of these being core elements in any IoT infrastructure for manufacturers.
It seems that some small businesses in the UK may actually be deploying smart technologies without even realising it.
Based on this, it’s possible that a lack of awareness of what actually constitutes an IoT infrastructure –and what benefits it may bring – is the key barrier in businesses adopting IoT technologies.
That’s not to say that some businesses may indeed be struggling with the costs of IoT, but as an emerging and evolving technology, many businesses aren’t clear which use cases and practices make economic and business sense.
How can we facilitate awareness to support IoT adoption?
The accessibility of IoT technology is certainly a benefit to UK business, but it can only be truly advantageous if it is coupled to an awareness of what IoT is and what it can offer. To do this, we need to understand not just on what IoT can do, but what businesses must do to be ready to invest in it.
This may be ensuring a business has the right tools and skills for implementation, but it may even be as early stage as what IoT is and how you can afford it. As a critical starting point though, companies need to be clear on what they want to get out of IoT.
How can Sensor City help?
IoT is a multi-faceted strategy, so it’s worth seeking additional input to support you in areas where you may not have sufficient internal resources.
As a global hub for the development of sensor and IoT technology and rapid prototyping, our team provides hands-on support for early stage technical developments, plus access to a wide network of experts in the sector, university expertise and student talent, and training opportunities to assist in the first steps towards IoT deployment. To help you find the right level of support for you, we offer 3 ‘Space to Innovate’ packages, tailored for the differing needs of businesses – you can check them out here.
We’ve also created a handy 2020 Guide to IoT Adoption, which gives you practical advice from industry experts for investing in and adopting a successful IoT infrastructure. If you’re looking for additional support, business advice, financial support, or just want to gain a greater understanding of what IoT can deliver, the guide provides you with some pointers on places you can go to help you get started.
If you’re looking for more guidance on how to create a successful IoT strategy for your business, download our free 2020 Guide to IoT adoption here.
If you’re looking for more hands-on business support with IoT, get in touch with us to find out more about how our Space to Innovate packages could help you.