Significant investment in IoT, despite COVID-19 uncertainties

Tuesday, 03 November, 2020

Significant investment in IoT, despite COVID-19 uncertainties

Despite the disruptive impacts of COVID-19, 47% of organisations plan to increase their investments in Internet of Things (IoT) implementation, according to a Gartner survey. The survey found that 35% of organisations reduced their investments in IoT following the COVID-19 lockdown.

One reason behind the increase is that, while companies have a limited history with IoT, IoT implementers produce a predictable ROI within a specified timeframe.

“They use key performance indicators (KPIs) to track their business outcomes and for most of them they also specify a time frame for financial payback of their IoT investments, which is on the average three years,” said Benoit Lheureux, Research Vice President at Gartner.

In addition, as IoT investments are relatively new, most companies have many cost-saving opportunities to pursue, such as predictive maintenance on commercial and industrial assets like elevators or turbines, and optimisation of processes such as increasing manufacturing yield.

As a result of COVID-19, 31% of respondents used digital twins (such as remote asset monitoring to reduce the frequency of in-person monitoring) to improve their employee or customer safety. Additionally, the survey showed that 27% of companies plan to use digital twins as autonomous equipment, robots or vehicles.

Lheureux notes that digital twins can help companies recognise equipment failures before they stall production, allowing repairs to be made early or at less cost. Digital twins can also be used to automatically schedule the repair of multiple pieces of equipment, to minimise the impact on operations.

Gartner predicts that, by 2023, one-third of mid-to-large companies that implemented IoT will have implemented at least one digital twin associated with a COVID-19-motivated use case. Survey findings revealed that the enforcement of safety measures also fuelled the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI).

25% of organisations favour automation (through remote access and zero-touch management), while 23% opt for procedure compliance (safe automation measures), to reduce COVID-19 safety concerns. For example, organisations can monitor work areas using AI-enabled analysis of live video feeds to enforce social distancing compliance in high-traffic areas.

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