The Rise of IoT Enterprise

Oct 29, 2020

Luzviminda Daracan
Research Officer
PCCW Solutions

With the advent of 5G networking capabilities promising ultra-reliable and low-latency communications, the IoT-5G technology ecosystem will totally unleash the power of digitalisation, changing the way many devices connect and operate. Today, more enterprises across industries are aiming to seize IoT-5G opportunities. As connectivity is one of the core parts of digital transformation, 5G has a crucial role to play – not just for the evolution of communications, but also for the growth of businesses operations that are increasingly becoming remote, and more demanding of agility and speed.

IoT is driving enterprise innovation

Enterprise and consumers are both set to benefit from the 5G evolution, but 5G will become the first generation in the history of mobile to have a bigger impact on enterprise than consumers.i Enterprise will overtake consumer IoT connections in 2024, which will triple between 2018 and 2025 to 13.3 billion, and will account for 54% of IoT connections.

Smart buildings will be the largest growth sector with 4.9 billion connections, accounting for 37% of connections by 2025, driven by the development of smart city initiatives. In addition, smart manufacturing will grow the fastest at 30% during 2018-2025, driven by Industry 4.0 trend and manufacturers deploying IoT to automate production, streamline operations and increase productivity.ii Some of the other industries to be revolutionised will be smart health, smart retail, smart vehicles, etc.

Realising the return on IoT investment

As enterprise automation proliferates, senior executives regard IoT as top-five game-changing technology, with 60% of all enterprises having deployed an IoT solution as part of their digital transformation plans. In addition, 83% of organisations will grow their IoT investment further by 2024, with 27% growing their investment by 50% or more.iii Most IoT projects are happening in Manufacturing/Industrial settings (22%), with verticals such as Transportation/Mobility (15%), and Energy (14%) having increased relative share on IoT projects.iv

Despite the challenges on IoT investments, 92% of enterprises estimated that financial payback would be achieved within five years, and over half said less than three years.v Many IoT applications are well supported by existing 4G cellular networks, including those employing LTE-M and NB-IoT technologies. This continues to gain traction for applications that require low power wide area (LPWA) connectivity and will evolve and operate seamlessly within the new 5G connectivity.

Scaling IoT deployments to innovate

IoT creates a unique opportunity as value-enabler for greater innovation across the organisation. The future of digital innovations centres around people, processes and data. Connecting devices, humans and the wider corporate network allows enterprises to maximise resource utilisation and workforce potential. Average IoT deployment is continuously increasing with more than 35% within enterprises resulting to newer use cases, new business models, and further benefits that businesses can discover and innovate.

iGlobal Mobile Trends 2020, GSMA Intelligence
iiIoT connections forecast, GSMA intelligence
iiiThe IoT Business Index 2020: a step change in adoption, The Economist, February 2020
ivIoT Analytics, 2020
vInternet of Things: Where Your Competitors Are Investing, Gartner