IoT adoption in the enterprise gaining momentum in Australia: Telsyte

Majority of early IoT adopters claimed cost savings and increased customer satisfaction as a result, according to the analyst firm.

Nearly a quarter, or 23 percent, of Australian organisations are in the test, development, or production phase of IoT, a new study by analyst firm Telsyte has found.

According to the Telsyte Australian Emerging Enterprise Technology Study 2017, which surveyed 302 IT decision makers on nine types of "emerging" technologies, 59 percent of early adopters claimed cost savings from using IoT, while 30 percent claimed increased customer satisfaction.

In November last year, Telsyte reported that 22 percent of enterprises had IoT programs or pilot programs in production, while 29 percent had IoT devices and a strategy, but nothing in operation.

Two-thirds of respondents in the most recent study see a positive role for IoT in operations and IT, with similar levels of interest for customer service and marketing applications.

Additionally, more than 60 percent see value in smart wearable devices such as smartwatches and smart glasses in their organisation for internal operations, access control, and customer-facing applications.

"This boom in both end-user devices and industrial machines such as sensors and cameras is creating massive volumes of data which can be used to enhance productivity, modernise processes, and help leaders make better strategic decisions," Telsyte said.

The biggest barriers to IoT adoption within the enterprise is the initial cost outlays of deploying IoT, as well as maintenance of legacy infrastructure, according to the analyst firm.

"IoT gives organisations an opportunity to overhaul their systems and modernise processes; the challenge is doing this while maintaining legacy systems," Telsyte managing director Foad Fadaghi said in a statement.

"A complete overhaul is often required with IoT creating barriers for organisations which are not yet at the right phase to make large scale investments."

The growing enterprise interest in IoT is despite the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner finding that 71 percent of IoT devices and services used by Australians failed to adequately explain how personal information was collected, used, and disclosed.

Privacy and security standards around IoT are also yet to be established in Australia.

The Telsyte study additionally found increasing interest in artificial intelligence-powered technologies such as robots, digital assistants, and chatbots.

Nearly two-thirds of organisations are "already dabbling" with machine learning or deep learning to improve operations and decision-making, according to Telsyte. A similar percentage of respondents also indicated that their organisations are planning to use cognitive computing in some form.

65 percent of IT decision makers also see use cases for machine learning in financial modelling and fraud detection.

"AI intentions are running at two speeds in the Australian market, with businesses much more bullish about using automation technology than consumers," Fadaghi said in a statement.

"There is an undercurrent of fear in the average consumer about the impact of AI on jobs and future prospects for later generations in a highly automated world."

A recent IDC study sponsored by Salesforce showed that, contrary to the grim picture painted by critics, AI will have a positive impact on productivity, revenues, and job creation.

From 2017 to 2021, the study predicts that AI-powered CRM will create more than 16,000 new direct jobs and AU$19 billion in increased revenue in Australia over the next five years. Improved productivity in Australia accounts for AU$4 billion of the revenue boost.

More than half of Telsyte's respondents also indicated that their organisations are exploring or already developing augmented reality applications, while 59 percent are investigating the potential uses or "disruption" of blockchain-based technology in their industry.

Additionally, 74 percent said they had use cases for voice recognition technology within their organisation.

In June, IT services firm Unisys told ZDNet that there is an opportunity for organisations to integrate personal virtual assistants such as Amazon's Alexa, Microsoft's Cortana, and Apple's Siri into their enterprise systems.

Similar to the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement, Unisys is betting that personal virtual assistants will not only become part of an organisation's IT ecosystem, but it will also become the access point to an organisation's "automation realm".

For example, an employee will be able to ask Siri on their personal iPhone how many days of annual leave they have accumulated, or how many servers are running over 50 percent capacity.

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