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Business Embraces IoT as Key Important Technology, Says New Study

By Ken Briodagh January 30, 2018

The Internet of Things (IoT) has twined its fingers into dozens of other technology industries like artificial intelligence, robotics and connectivity. But for decision makers like the executives charged with implementing the IoT, it can be difficult to separate fact from hype.

To better understand the current state of the IoT, Forbes Insights and Hitachi Vantara partnered up to survey more than 500 senior executives around the world who are leading IoT initiatives within their companies. The resulting new report, “The Internet of Things: From Theory to Reality—How Companies Are Leveraging the IoT to Move Their Businesses Forward,” sponsored by Hitachi Vantara, addresses the following issues:

  • Is the IoT still an aspiration or is it becoming an operational reality?
  • How is the IoT being leveraged within companies?
  • In broad terms, what does IoT implementation look like at this early stage?
  • Are there companies that are more advanced with using these technologies?
  • What are some of the implementation lessons learned?
  • What are the practical steps companies can take as they begin their own IoT journey?

“Executives rank the Internet of Things as their top technology priority,” said Bruce Rogers, Chief Insights Officer, Forbes Media. “It’s becoming a competitive differentiator that will affect almost every industry.”

Key findings:

  • Almost two-thirds of companies believe the IoT is important to their current business, and over 90 percent believe the IoT will be important to the future of their business.
  • Of all emerging technologies, executives believe the IoT will be the most important, ranking it above others such as artificial intelligence or robotics.
  • More than half of respondents said their company has significant IoT programs in operation or that these programs are a major contributor to their business.
  • When building out IoT capabilities, companies say their greatest challenges are the inability to present a compelling return on investment (32 percent), keeping the IoT secure (32 percent), cross-department cooperation (31 percent), integration of disparate data (30 percent) and availability of skilled staff (29 percent).

“The findings of Forbes’ executive survey aligns with what we at Hitachi are also hearing from our customers: IoT is increasingly becoming a strategic imperative to effectively compete in the digital economy—and IoT is hard,” said Asim Zaheer, CMO, Hitachi Vantara. “It is imperative to ensure you have well-defined goals, outcomes and top-down support for your initiative at the outset, and a strong partner to help you drive your desired outcomes.”

The data in the report is derived from a 2017 Forbes Insights survey of 502 executives who identified themselves as responsible for, or familiar with, the IoT activities of their companies. Respondents were based in Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific, and represented a range of industries, with not one comprising more than 25 percent of the total. All respondents were director or above, and came from companies with 500 employees or more. Forbes Insights also conducted interviews with several senior executives to add context to the findings.


Ken Briodagh is a writer and editor with more than a decade of experience under his belt. He is in love with technology and if he had his druthers would beta test everything from shoe phones to flying cars.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Editorial Director

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