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COVID-19 catapults adoption of IOT projects

Simnikiwe Mzekandaba
By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba, IT in government editor
Johannesburg, 09 Oct 2020
Peter Malebye, managing executive for IOT in Africa at Vodacom Business.
Peter Malebye, managing executive for IOT in Africa at Vodacom Business.

For those South African firms that have adopted the Internet of things (IOT), the technology became a catalyst for business continuity as the COVID-19 crisis hit companies across the globe.

This is based on new data from the 2020 IOT Spotlight report compiled by Vodafone Business, which found that 71% of South African adopters sped up adoption of IOT projects during this time.

Last year, the Vodafone IOT Barometer revealed that 34% of global companies use IOT technology and 70% of these adopters had moved beyond the pilot stage.

It further revealed that many industries in SA and on the continent have already adopted digital transformation strategies, meaning IOT is going to be a key enabler in those sectors.

According to latest stats, adopters believe IOT was vital in keeping them going, with 88% of South African businesses saying the technology was key to maintaining business continuity during the pandemic.

“This research shows that indeed IOT is an essential technology for businesses that want to be resilient, more flexible and quicker to adapt and react to change,” saysPeter Malebye, managing executive for IOT in Africa at Vodacom Business.

“Businesses ought to empower themselves through retrofitted solutions and engagement models to stay relevant and profitable, while ensuring cost reductions. IOT is starting to play a significantly bigger part in many sectors currently offering solutions beyond just connecting employees, things and places.”

With responses from 1 639 businesses worldwide, the report highlights the majority of adopters (91%) now view the integration of IOT devices with workers as a higher priority, and 83% of South African businesses considering this technology agree the pandemic will accelerate their adoption of it.

In terms of enabling decision-making, the study highlights that IOT data is becoming an essential part in this process, with the majority of adopters (90%) revealing they can do things they couldn’t do before, thanks to IOT.

In addition, the IOT data is helping 88% of South African businesses to meet their sustainability goals, it states.

Thereport also highlights that businesses see IOT as an essential element of being future-ready, with 80% noting organisations that have failed to embrace IOT will have fallen behind within five years.

“While cyber security was one of the main barriers to business’s willingness to adopt IOT in previous years, the IOT Spotlight 2020 sees the concerns significantly reducing, with only 21% of South African businesses seeing it as one of the top-three barriers to IOT adoption.

“This, coupled with the improvements in brand differentiation and competitiveness, proves businesses that embrace this technology believe the opportunities IOT offers greatly outweigh any implementation challenge.”