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Survey Highlights Short Range Wireless Deployment Challenges for IoT

By Ken Briodagh August 10, 2017

In a recent B2B technology survey of 455 U.S.-based companies in nine vertical markets, ABI Research is announcing its finding that almost 70 percent of respondents currently have Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or other short-range wireless (SRW) communications technologies in operation, with the remainder set to deploy in the next 12 months. It also showed that there is still a need for SRW education and awareness that extends beyond smartphones and tablets into emerging IoT applications, such as asset tracking and sensor monitoring. 

“The consistent ranking of smartphones and tablets as the most innovative technologies might suggest limited knowledge of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies beyond the consumer electronics space,” said Andrew Zignani, Senior Analyst, ABI Research. “There is a need for greater education on how SRW solutions can be used in more advanced and valuable ways, such as asset tracking, indoor location, and wireless sensor networking, all the while aligning with the existing infrastructure.”

The survey seems to indicate a growing shift toward connecting manufacturing equipment/devices and/or systems to the IS/IT network for remote monitoring using SRW solutions, with 85 percent currently deploying Wi-Fi and 75 percent deploying Bluetooth. While less than one third of companies surveyed deploy 802.15.4 solutions, more than 44 percent plan to deploy the technology in the future.

In healthcare environments, survey respondents see mobile devices and consumer wearables as the main transformative technologies over the next five years. In contrast, respondents consider clinical-grade wearables, remote monitoring, home health monitoring, and asset tracking to be lower priority innovations, with only 2% seeing asset and resource tracking as the most important technology transformation. This is despite equipment misplacements being a key burden in healthcare environments.

Respondents cited the main SRW technology adoption barrier for healthcare, manufacturing, and retail environments to be aligning the technologies with the existing framework. Asset tracking and indoor location vendors are beginning to note this friction and trying to make it easier for infrastructure teams to buy into the idea by leveraging existing Bluetooth or Wi-Fi infrastructure, enabling much simpler deployment and reducing the burden on already constrained IT resources.

These findings are from ABI Research's Industry Survey: Transformative Technology Adoption and Attitudes – Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Short-Range Wireless report. This report is part of the company's Wi-Fi, Bluetooth & Wireless Connectivity service, which includes research, data, and analyst insights.



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