Technology key to maintaining business continuity during the pandemic, say 88% of SA businesses

A global study by Vodafone Business, the 2020 Internet of Things (IoT) Spotlight report, reveals the impact the Internet of Things (IoT) has on businesses at a time when their digital capabilities are put to the test by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The IoT Spotlight features responses from 1,639 businesses globally, exploring how they are using IoT and how it is helping them be ready for the future.

During the COVID-19 crisis, IoT has made the difference

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced almost all businesses to change their working practices and priorities in a matter of weeks, with the findings showing that 71% of SA adopters increased the pace of IoT projects during this time.

Vodacom Business is committed to supporting businesses and IoT solutions are central to business success in our increasingly digitised world. This research shows that indeed IoT is an essential technology for businesses that want to be resilient, more flexible and quicker to adapt and react to change. Businesses ought to empower themselves through retrofitted solutions and engagement models to stay relevant and profitable, while ensuring cost reductions. IoT is starting to play a significantly bigger part in many sectors currently offering solutions beyond just connecting employees, things and places.

Peter Malebye, Managing Executive for IoT Africa at Vodacom Business

Adopters clearly believe IoT was vital to keep them going: 88% said the technology was key to maintaining business continuity during the pandemic. As a result, the majority of adopters (91%) now view the integration of IoT devices with workers as a higher priority and 83% of SA businesses considering this technology agree the pandemic will accelerate their adoption of it.

IoT is key to improving business performance in South Africa

The research findings are clear: IoT continues to generate value and ROI for adopters and 87% agree their core business strategy has changed for the better as a result of adopting IoT. Almost all (97%) say they have achieved a return on investment and 67% of adopters have seen operating costs decrease by an average of 23%.  

Data is the key to future readiness

You can’t manage what you can’t measure. IoT data is becoming essential to support businesses’ decision-making (68%) and the majority of adopters (90%) think they can do things they couldn’t do before thanks to IoT. And IoT data is also helping 88% of South African businesses meet their sustainability goals.

IoT enables new ways of working, and the benefits clearly outweigh the risks

Businesses see IoT as an essential element of being future ready. So much so that 80% say that organisations who have failed to embrace IoT will have fallen behind within five years. While cybersecurity was one of the main barriers to business’ willingness to adopt IoT in previous years, the IoT Spotlight 2020 sees the concerns significantly reducing, with only 21% of South African businesses seeing it one of the top-three barriers to IoT adoption. This, coupled with the improvements in brand differentiation and competitiveness 43% showed globally by mature adopters of IoT, proves businesses that embrace this technology believe the opportunities IoT offers businesses greatly outweigh any implementation challenge.

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