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Vodacom today shared the South African research findings of Vodafone’s fourth annual IoT Barometer Report, the leading global survey of business sentiment regarding innovation and investment in the Internet of Things (IoT). Broadly speaking, IoT refers to the capability of everyday objects to connect to the internet - from cars to coffee machines to fridges. Any device with an on/off switch can, in theory, connect to the internet these days, and this is set to have a huge impact on the way we live and do business in the future.

The IoT Barometer survey was conducted by Circle Research in April and May 2016 and involved around 1 096 companies across Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, the UAE, the UK and the USA. The vertical sectors that were surveyed globally were: Retail (18%), Manufacturing (17%), Energy & Utilities (13%), Healthcare (12%), Transport & Logistics (10%), Public Sector (10%), Automotive (8%), Consumer Electronics (8%) and Industrials (4%).

SA polled highest in almost every category

Over fifty respondents (around 5%), were medium- to large-sized South African companies who polled higher than both the global and EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa)averages across several different categories (see table for categories below). 

Importantly, 90% of South African respondents believe that IoT is critical for the future success of organisations in their sectors (this, against a global average of 76%); and 88%, against a global average of 79%, are of the opinion that seeing real success and value from IoT requires significant financial and time investment.

Deon Liebenberg, Managing Executive for the Internet of Things at Vodacom, says: 'One of the most important findings from the South African companies polled in the report is that the majority ... are looking at adopting IoT. And when they do so, it’s not out of experimentation, but rather because IoT is strategically important to them in terms of their sustainability.'

Our unique challenges force us to think creatively

Liebenberg believes that socio-economic and business challenges are forcing South African companies to be even more creative than their global counterparts in developing IoT solutions'South Africa’s unique socio-economic challenges are a key driver of the innovation and creativity that we see in many of the IoT solutions being developed in this country. This is why South African companies see the adoption of IoT as being more critical for their future success.'

Liebenberg gives two examples of IoT successes that have taken off in South Africa: 'The South African vehicle tracking market is a prime example, and one that has developed into one of the most sophisticated telematics industries in the world. M-health is another area in South Africa where we are seeing unique technology being developed, such as Vodacom’s Stock Visibility Solution mobile application, which monitors drug stock-outs in clinics. M-health in South Africa has a very different context to m-health in developed economies due to the societal challenges faced here.'

We're confident in our employees' skills

Other categories in which South Africa polled higher than the regional and global averages include ‘Employees have the skills to manage IoT security’ (South Africa polled at 68% against a global average of 60%) and ‘Technology is robust enough to safely process data’ (South Africa polled at 80% against a global average of 65%).  

Liebenberg says that this speaks to the maturity of some of the verticals where IoT dominates in South Africa, including our vehicle tracking industry, which has been around for two decades. He says, 'As these companies have evolved, they have invested in building capability and capacity in the components that make up the IoT value chain, and have also developed a certain maturity.

'This has resulted in an IoT skills evolution in South Africa. This is evident in the number of new IoT connections in our market, which has a compounded annual growth rate of 20% and above.'

IoT investment keeps growing worldwide

Overall, the 2016 Vodafone IoT Barometer Report found that, globally:

  • 89% of companies investing in IoT have increased their budgets over the last 12 months. 
  • 76% of all companies interviewed believe that taking advantage of IoT technologies will be critical for the future success of any organisation
  • 63% of IoT adopters are seeing ‘significant’ returns on investment (up from 59% in last year's Report) 
  • IoT investment now accounts for 24% of the average IT budget, on a par with cloud computing or data analytics 
  • IoT technologies play a key role in mainstream business activities in an increasing number of companies.

Find out how Vodacom Business's solutions can elevate your business

Our tailored business solutions, including machine-to-machine (M2M) monitoring, which allows you to track your remote devices and equipment, will up your business's efficiency and give you peace of mind. Go to Vodacom Online now to find out more.

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