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APAC companies fast track IoT projects amid COVID-19

According to the IoT Spotlight 2020 released last week, almost four in 10 (38%) companies in Asia Pacific are already using IoT. Of this pool of adopters, 82% noted that they are accelerating some IoT projects because of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on business. Likewise, almost the same percentage (81%) of companies in the region are launching some IoT projects because of the pandemic.

These are some the key APAC takeaways in the report commissioned by Vodafone Business, as part of a global research that explores the relationship between IoT, business strategy, resiliency and success. The survey was conducted with more than 1,600 respondents across 13 markets, including Singapore, China, South Korea, Japan and India.

“The promise of IoT hasn’t dimmed in Asia-Pacific amid the COVID-19 outbreak. In fact, it’s been accelerated. Thanks to 5G, IoT as a technology has evolved from simple monitoring and sensing, to being able to take active control in real-time,” said Justin Nelson, head of IoT Consulting, Vodafone Asia-Pacific.

He added: “This opens up a new world of possibilities and benefits that businesses here are just as eager, if not more so than their global peers to realise. We are excited to see organisations in APAC kickstarting their IoT journey and gaining the means to create a future ready business.”

As COVID-19 continues to impact economies worldwide, Vodafone Business noted that business leaders must balance initiatives to rein in operating costs with the need to invest in new business models that can drive innovation and build competitive advantage in the new normal.

The report cited the top benefits experienced by APAC companies who have already implemented IoT solutions: 56% of them have seen reduction in operating costs; 50% have cited improved productivity; 37% credited IoT for the creation of new revenue streams, while another 36% have seen improvement of existing revenue streams because of IoT.

Among companies which had experienced reduced costs thanks to IoT, 17% of companies in Singapore reported cost savings of between 40% and 50%. Across Asia-Pacific, half the companies which had experienced reduced costs thanks to IoT reported savings of at least 20%.

Appetite for IoT differs across Asia Pacific
Meanwhile, the study cited different approaches to IoT across the Asia Pacific.

Recognising the benefits of IoT, 82% of adopters in Asia-Pacific are accelerating some IoT projects due to the pandemic.

However, not every country in the region shares the same appetite for IoT. While nearly half (49%) of companies in Singapore and India have already deployed some form of IoT, less than a third (31%) of companies in Japan are doing so. In terms of use cases, 92% of adopters in South Korea say their IoT projects are mission-critical, compared to 54% in Japan.

Indeed, Vodafone Business’ IoT Report 2020 pointed out the challenges to IoT implementation remain in the region, significantly noting that operational factors trump technology issues as top barriers.

“The key barriers to IoT adoption in Asia-Pacific were identified as operational factors such as budgets and financial constraints, as well as a lack of certainty as to how it can help the organisation,” Vodafone Business said. “To overcome this, 63% of businesses in the region (as compared to 56% globally) consider working with communication service providers to create a stronger business case for IoT projects.”

On the other hand, few were concerned about technical issues, such as complexity of solutions and lack of relevant ‘off the shelf’ products. Less than one in five (19%) of Asia-Pacific respondents noted cybersecurity among the potential barriers to adoption of IoT solutions, compared to just a year ago, when cybersecurity was one of the main barriers to business’ willingness to adopt IoT. FutureIoT

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