UK is falling behind on IoT adoption – Microsoft

A new report from Microsoft suggests the UK is falling behind the trend when it comes to IOT adoption, risking losing out on the economic benefits of the digital economy.

At the moment, it seems the UK can’t do much right in the digital world. Yes, it might be one of the quickest nations worldwide to get all of its MNOs into the 5G race, but there are numerous stories which condemn the potential of the country, suggesting actions are not following the strong rhetoric which has been set forward by the UK Government.

Whether it is Brexit and the delayed decision on Huawei, a sluggish approach to fibre broadband deployment or poor regulations which inhibit speedy deployment, the UK constantly seems to be at risk of losing out on the promised bonanza in the digital economy. Here, Microsoft is suggesting sluggish adoption of IOT could be another worry.

According to the research, 73% of the respondents work for UK companies which have adopted IOT. This might sound like an impressive number, though it compares to 88% in Germany and China, 87% in France and the US, and 83% in Japan. Of those who have adopted IOT in the UK, only 80% of the respondents believed it was ‘critical’ to their success in the future.

Although you always have to take these reports with a pinch of salt, Microsoft will certainly benefit from hyping the importance of IOT, it might be considered a concern the UK is not dining at the top table. Some of those with the biggest worriers might be the telcos.

The original promise of 5G was to drive higher download speeds to satisfy the consumer’s insatiable appetite for data, though the conversation has evolved over the last 18-24 months. Now you have numerous telcos around the world preaching the benefits of IOT to enterprise customers as this could represent a significant new revenue stream in the future.

In the UK, IOT has been central to the messaging from Vodafone while O2 has been exploring how it can work with enterprise business customers more intimately. The telcos are searching for ways they can engage enterprise customers beyond traditional connectivity, and not only does IOT drive additional revenues, it opens up conversations with new customers.

At almost every Vodafone event over the last few years, seeing a large plastic cow with a sensor draped around its neck was a guarantee. The connected cow has become as much as an inside joke as the talking fridge, but it does represent entirely new opportunities for the telcos. Farmers might never have been customers in the past, but should the benefits of IOT be effectively communicated, there are numerous segments where the door could be opened.

That said, first and foremost the telcos will have to navigate the traditional reserved and conservative nature of the Brits. As you can see from the adoption rates listed above, it seems the old attitudes of the UK are still prevalent.

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