Is the IoT Market Maturing? Microsoft Report and Partners Share New Trends & Opportunities
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The Internet of Things (IoT), together with a series of catalytic technology such as cloud, edge computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and mixed reality, is creating billions of connected endpoints for businesses to optimize operational efficiency, improve workplace safety and increase revenue.
With such benefits, it’s unsurprising that we see 88 percent of business reporting that IoT is very or somewhat critical to their success, according to the recent Microsoft IoT Signals report. And not only are companies increasingly recognizing the contributions IoT has on their success as a business, but IoT is also being adopted across industries: retail, manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare – the list goes on.
In fact, the report shows that 85 percent of decision makers from enterprise organizations have adopted IoT, and 74 percent have projects in the “use” phase. Which leads us to the question here: as the IoT market continues to grow and mature, what new opportunities and challenges are emerging that should be top of mind?
We polled some Microsoft partner during recent IoT in Action events about their key takeaways on building, implementing or selling new IoT solutions and experiences – below are their thoughts ranging from what it means to be successful to partnering on going to market.
IoT Success Revolves Around Simplicity & Security
Finding success with IoT – whether you’re working on developing a solution or implementing it into your business operations – often hinges on these questions: is it simple, and is it secure?
During our conversations with partners we heard the same theme over and over: IoT needs to be simple from the edge to the cloud. Speaking of their IT buyer clients, Travis Gerber, CEO of Buddy Platform said, “Customers often tell us they are looking for solutions that are both simple and secure. This looks slightly different for everyone. For us, that means translating complex building data into meaningful insights they can take action on.”
The research agrees. The IoT Signals report also found that one of the top IoT barriers was challenges stemming from complexity and technical aspects. In fact, 39 percent of responders said this was their biggest barrier to IoT adoption.
To assist companies with overcoming this challenge, Microsoft has focused on finding ways to make it easier to build and use IoT solutions, such as the release of IoT Plug and Play, which offers a new, open modeling language to seamlessly connect IoT devices to the cloud. Now developers can quickly connect IoT devices to the cloud, as well as build smarter solutions that just work with the cloud, all without having to write a single line of embedded code. Plus, by using Azure IoT Central or Azure IoT Hub, businesses can prototype and build larger scale IoT deployments in significantly less time.
Security Should be an End-to-End Process
We also found that while Microsoft partners place a high value on security when building IoT solutions, security is rarely a barrier to IoT adoption. And the IoT Signals numbers back this up with only 19 percent of companies listing security as their biggest barrier to adoption – even though 97 percent of companies said they were concerned about security when adopting IoT.
Yet with billions of new devices being connected, organizations still need to secure them to protect data, privacy, physical safety, and infrastructure. So how should companies be thinking about IoT security?
The first step is looking at how you can simplify the complexity of your IoT security solution with built-in protection at each stage of your deployment – including cloud services and devices – and minimizing security weaknesses wherever they exist. Building security into every part of your IoT platform is essential for minimizing risks to your private data, business assets and reputation.
Microsoft has been successful in thinking about security from an end-to-end perspective – and even more importantly – has been successful in helping their partners and customers do the same. Azure Sphere, for instance, is a comprehensive IoT solution that includes hardware, OS, and cloud components so partners can securel