Large-scale deployments of IoT technology are gaining traction in the world’s largest economies as the number of companies using more than 50,000 connected devices doubled year-on-year, Vodafone Group announced.

In its IoT Barometer Report 2017, the latest in a series of annual updates on the technology, Vodafone said the proportion of companies using the technology hit 29 per cent in 2017, more than double the 12 per cent reported in 2013 when the operator published its first IoT study.

The 2017 report is based on responses from 1,278 companies in 13 countries including the US, China, Brazil, UK, Germany, South Africa, India and Australia, which were quizzed during April and May.

Vodafone said the research revealed widespread increases in both IoT uptake and project scale. The results also highlighted an interest in narrowband IoT technology (NB-IoT) with 28 per cent now considering it alongside other LPWA options for new projects. This is despite the fact rollouts of NB-IoT technology are still in the early stages in many markets, given the technology was only standardised in June 2016.

International popularity
APAC led the way in terms of the number of overall IoT deployments with 36 per cent of companies quizzed in the region using IoT. In comparison just over a quarter of companies in the Americas and Europe regions reported rollouts.

The Americas, though, had the highest proportion of large scale adoptions with 19 per cent of companies running more than 10,000 connected devices, compared with 13 per cent in Europe and 7 per cent in APAC.

Vodafone’s research revealed the overall proportion of companies with deployments of over 50,000 connected devices doubled since its 2016 report to 6 per cent.

Industries leading the adoption charge were consumer electronics, automotive and energy. Although reporting a lower adoption rate, healthcare companies using the technology were likely to have larger scale deployments, alongside utility companies.

Future impact
Vodafone’s survey found 70 per cent of companies using IoT believed it would have an “enormous” or “sizeable” impact on the whole economy in the next five years. However, security and connectivity issues remained a key concern.

Vodafone IoT director and Global Enterprise CEO Erik Brenneis said the results showed: “Adopters have great expectations for the future of IoT.”

In terms of the impact on industries’ future prospects: “New low-power connectivity options, like narrowband IoT, will be key to making that possible.”