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The internet of things (IoT) is rapidly showing its mettle in real-world applications, especially in industries such as manufacturing, but research has highlighted persistent challenges around IoT hardware design, security and service availability, with more than 97% of respondents reporting that IoT projects had been less than 50% successful.
Undertaken in association with Kaleido Intelligence, the survey from IoT connectivity solutions provider Eseye took the view of more than 750 IoT professionals. The resulting report examines the crucial factors for IoT connectivity firms to deliver, uncovering the main connectivity pain points for those currently deploying IoT and those looking into it for the future.
One of the key findings was that 84% of firms viewed hardware design as the number one barrier to deploying IoT. In addition, 56% of those that had adopted cellular IoT said maintaining commercial relationships with multiple providers was too complex.
The research also found that just over half (51%) of those deploying IoT claimed connectivity performance and quality of service across international markets was not good enough, while just under half reported that robust multi-region cellular coverage was lacking and 46% stated that permanent roaming restrictions remained a key concern.
Just over two-fifths of respondents said the ability to customise with preferential operator contracts in scenarios such as bring your own contract (BYOC) was also lacking in the IoT connectivity ecosystem.
Eseye found that when it came to selecting IoT connectivity providers, the most important criteria cited in the survey were vertical-specific expertise and the facility to offer simplified security policy implementation. The study also found that emerging technologies such as private 5G/Long-Term Evolution (LTE) were now being seriously considered for both current and future implementations.
Survey respondents said the top two desired capabilities from an IoT connectivity partner were around the provider having an extensive set of mobile network operator (MNO) partners (66%) and being able to offer hardware and connectivity bundles (49%).
The survey also found that mitigating permanent roaming issues was high up the agenda, to combat the risks associated with permanent roaming. Although a high percentage of respondents were using eSIMs, many cited challenges with eSIM providers. Respondents said that reporting and tools to manage over-the-air (OTA) campaigns were lacking. They also noted that the eSIM still required integration with multiple MNOs to obtain visibility and control, and that some MNOs and IoT service providers only supported consumer eSIM profiles, not IoT/M2M grade.
“Historically, IoT has been viewed as too complex due to hardware, connectivity and security challenges; this survey shows that these challenges persist today. Frankly, customers deserve greater certainty and lower risk when they undertake IoT deployments. They need to be confident that their IoT project will deliver the expected outcomes and consistent quality of service internationally,” commented Eseye CEO Nick Earle.
Nick Earle, Eseye
“To deliver the desired levels of confidence and return on investment from their IoT projects, businesses need to partner with industry specialists that can offer a centralised managed service for their IoT deployment, providing a holistic view of all hardware, connectivity and partnership management requirements in one place,” he said.
Kaleido Intelligence research lead Steffen Sorrell added: “Connectivity is key for IoT to deliver value, but with multiple contracts, combined with roaming restrictions, it is difficult for organisations to easily control their environment. This is where that commercial flexibility is really needed.
“Likewise, hardware device design and deployment issues are common, and this is where specialist help is critical – especially for new projects – to handhold the customer from initial design through to full deployment. While eSIM has been touted as the answer to many of these issues, it is not the panacea, as many of our respondents reported problems.”