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Claris, Reticle study looks at small/medium business owners thoughts on IoT

In a recent partnership with Reticle Research, Apple’s low code subsidiary, Claris surveyed 323 SMB [small to medium business] executives in the U.S. and U.K. to find out the latest trends and attitudes toward Internet of Things [IoT].  

In the big picture, the term IoT encompasses everything connected to the internet, but it’s increasingly being used to define objects that “talk” to each other.

To gauge IoT usage and benefits for small and medium businesses (SMBs), in February 2020, Reticle Research surveyed 323 SMB executives in the U.S. and U.K. to learn about their adoption of and attitudes toward IoT. Among the leading findings: 

In equipment-intensive industries, SMBs show strong IoT adoption. Among SMBs in industries such as retail, automotive, manufacturing, energy, and logistics, 77% of SMBs have used or developed an IoT tech solution. In an even stronger sign of adoption, of those that have developed their first IoT solution, 92% have developed multiple IoT applications. 

SMBs see IoT as providing a competitive advantage. Three out of five SMBs said they believed that IoT tech could create a competitive advantage. The same number said they see competitors are doing more with IoT. Almost half agreed that their company was behind the curve on IoT tech and needed to catch up. 

Improving efficiency and productivity lead as IoT drivers. Among surveyed SMBs, the leading benefits sought by IoT projects include improving efficiency (52%) and productivity (51%) and improving speed (45%). About a third of respondents state gathering business intelligence as a driver. Developers also identified automation of error-prone processes, saving money versus proprietary systems, and better monitoring of equipment as benefits. 

IoT projects yield a return on investment (ROI). Among surveyed SMBs, 24% say an IoT project has already yielded ROI while another 38% expect an IoT project to yield ROI within the next year. Over 80% of respondents said that these IoT projects had been started within the past two years. 

Lack of development expertise is the #1 reason for not pursuing IoT. About 35% of surveyed SMBs reported a lack of development expertise as an IoT project inhibitor. About one in five cited security or privacy concerns or a lack of a path to ROI. Even in SMBs that have not launched IoT initiatives, nearly 30% of executives say it is likely their company will do so within the next three years. 

According to the report, while SMBs that have not engaged in IoT development cite a lack of development resources as the most common reason for not pursuing such projects, companies that have developed IoT projects have largely done so using in-house staff and within manageable budgets. 

In the U.S., over three-fourths said they have been able to implement their most significant IoT project for less than $100,000 (to date) and 46% said they did so for less than $US50,000. Similarly, in the U.K., 81% of respondents said that they had been able to implement their most significant IoT project for less than £100,000 (to date) while 54% said they did so for less than £50,000. 

When asked about their most significant IoT project, 38% of respondents whose firms had implemented an IoT project said that they were expecting it to yield ROI within the next year. Another 24% said that it had already yielded ROI. 

About 70% of surveyed SMBs said that they used full-time development staff to create an IoT app, while another 21% said that they used part-time staff. About 13% of surveyed SMBs said that they outsourced development to a professional services firm or agency. The most reported number of developers staffing an SMB IoT project was 2 to 4, with over two-thirds respondents reporting this staffing. 

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.