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Businesses fail to achieve highly resilient connectivity as commodity IoT providers fail to deliver

A new State of IoT Adoption report launched today by Eseye, a leading global IoT connectivity solutions provider, revealed the shocking statistic that companies are settling for sub-standard IoT connectivity performance, with only 1% of respondents achieving better than 98% connectivity levels on average across their device estates. In fact, only 16% of respondents are achieving more than 95% connectivity.

Mission-critical IoT devices require near-100% connectivity and the fact that companies are prepared to accept poor performance relative to the connectivity levels they could achieve is highly concerning. Imagine IoT health and medical devices losing their connection and the human impact that might have, or an EV charger failing because of ‘mediocre’ connectivity and the revenue lost as a result, not to mention stranded drivers. As a core belief, Eseye focuses on supporting mission critical IoT use cases, delivering resilient global connectivity to devices where customers experience near 100% uptime for every device anywhere in the world.

The study, commissioned by Eseye, and undertaken by independent research organisation, Opinion Matters, is the third annual State of IoT Adoption survey and the largest connectivity survey undertaken in the market, involving 1,009 senior decision makers in the UK and US across five different vertical sectors – EV charging and smart grid, healthcare and medical devices, manufacturing, supply chain and logistics and smart vending. It examines the challenges and opportunities that are hindering and helping IoT adoption, compares IoT growth by market and vertical, and reveals budget forecasts for the next two years.

The report highlights that respondents appeared satisfied with their service despite experiencing connectivity levels that are significantly below best practice. Businesses lack the technical knowledge to make the most of their IoT investment and are compromising their chances of success by settling for second-rate connectivity. While investment and device numbers are increasing, a failure to emphasise quality is holding the sector back.

Nearly every respondent (95%) said that cost was an important aspect when choosing their connectivity provider. However, 71% admitted that cheap commodity SIM and data connectivity providers aren’t a good long-term investment, which suggests they may have been impacted in the past. This highlights the importance that value plays in IoT connectivity decisions. An example of this is that nearly all respondents (89%) agreed that an end-to-end services programme that gives them access to IoT services under one roof would be beneficial to their business.

“It is shocking that businesses are prepared to compromise their goals and risk customer dissatisfaction or product failure because of sub-standard connectivity,” Paul Marshall, Co-Founder and CCO, Eseye, comments on the findings. “In our eyes anything less than 100% is simply not good enough, which has been our mantra since day one and remains at the core of Eseye’s offering. As the survey suggests, IoT connectivity success is about more than just buying SIMs and data. Breadth and depth of global coverage matters – how many cellular networks do you truly have access to? Is that coverage resilient and reliable enough for your business case? In order to achieve near 100% ubiquitous global IoT connectivity, a unique blend of network capabilities, hardware, device optimisation and professional service expertise is required.

“Buyers may be unaware that their connectivity is subpar as they may not have a suitable benchmark, and are engaging in a false economy when cost is their top concern not value. The fact that buyers seem unaware that connectivity performance is even an issue clearly points to a need to better educate the market around what should be acceptable to deliver IoT success.”

The good news is that the majority of respondents (81%) expect the number of IoT devices in the field will increase over the next 18 months and nearly three quarters (72%) are planning to increase their IoT budgets in the next two years. However, respondents know all too well that unlocking success and getting it right leads to even greater success, which is why it is so important to get connectivity and device design right – first time.

There was consensus (81%) that getting the IoT device design right is key to an effective IoT project. 

Despite this, operational failures are often down to the device, with over two thirds (67%) of respondents saying that most of their IoT project failures are down to an issue at the device level. Worse still, they can’t find help when they need it. Almost three-quarters (72%) say that embedded firmware developers are hard to find and in short supply, for example.

Keen to measure the state of their IoT project, 9 out of 10 respondents said that it would be beneficial for their business if they could assess their IoT project’s level of maturity and compare where their project is at with their industry peers. Additionally, 95% of US respondents said it would be beneficial to assess IoT project maturity compared to 86% in the UK and 94% of US respondents said a monthly subscription service programme with all end-to-end IoT services under one roof would be beneficial, versus 84% in the UK.

“Businesses need to understand where they are to get to where they want to be,” Nick Earle, CEO, Eseye, comments. “They also need to demand more from IoT service providers, and a service model that emphasises quality at an affordable price point. They should be seeking end-to-end expertise incorporating device design, connectivity, and lasting value. At this crucial point in the sector’s development, second-best – in any aspect – is not good enough. Taking the time to assess a product’s maturity, and then investing in expertise to improve quality from first principles, is the necessary first step in today’s IoT projects.

“A change of mindset is needed, where buyers understand the capabilities they are working with and invest in the right connectivity technology that will drive change for their unique business case.  Increasing budgets allows IoT teams to invest in solving the problem by building connectivity-by-design into their products, rather than simply increasing the scale of inadequate devices. This survey demonstrates that there is a lot of demand and support for IoT, but we need to capitalise on this by educating buyers and solving business problems rather than just throwing money at an inefficient model.”

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