In this final part of our series exploring the findings of our research into field service and the potential impact of IoT we look at the key reasons driving adoption of IoT forwards….
In fact we can look further within our data to help us better identify when we will see field service companies embracing IoT on a widespread level by looking at how many companies have indeed already implemented an IoT strategy and how many are currently planning to do so.
Over two thirds (67%) of companies are at the very least ‘actively planning an IoT strategy’, with 15% of companies actually ‘having an IoT based system in place’
This would indicate that whilst those who stated that they felt IoT was already becoming widespread may be slightly optimistic, in reality we are perhaps three to five years away from IoT becoming a truly common place tool within field service management with only just under a third of companies (32%) not currently planning to use an IoT strategy or solution as part of their field service operations.
Main reasons for adopting IoT
So what are the key drivers for what is seemingly a large appetite amongst field service companies to adopt and develop their own IoT strategies?
In fact there were three key reasons that were cited by our respondents that stood out in our findings. The largest of these was to ‘Improve customer loyalty by improving the service levels we deliver to our customers’ which 68% of our respondents identified as being a major reason for adopting an IoT strategy.
We are also seeing perhaps further evidence of the growing movement towards servitization which is of course often heavily reliant on remote monitoring that comes via the Internet of Things.
However, the next group of responses which again were all identified by similar amounts of respondents are perhaps much more specific to IoT. These were ‘increasing market share by delivering proactive service before the competition’ (43%),’IoT enabling companies to change our business strategy to a servitized, outcome based solutions model’ (42%) and ‘Increasing profits by moving to a more service oriented business model.’
With a high proportion of our respondents backing each of these statements we are also seeing perhaps further evidence of the growing movement towards servitization which is of course often heavily reliant on remote monitoring that comes via the Internet of Things.
Barriers to adoption
Of course we must also explore the barriers to adopting IoT as well and here it seems clear that there are again three major concerns for field service companies looking to develop an IoT strategy.
Climbing is the only cure for gravity.
Tied heavily to this of course is connectivity.
Whilst for some companies fears around the security of connected devices is a worry, for many others, especially those operating in rural areas actually connecting devices to the Internet in the first place is also a significant challenge and this was flagged up by 56% of respondents.
Finally there is of course the question of the customer. Again security worries remain and 55% of companies believe that their ‘customers would be reluctant to have their devices connected sharing data.’
However, as mobile broadband continues to improve at a rapid pace, connectivity issues will surely subside and whilst the perception of the IoT being a security threat remains, online security is also continuously improving with the likes of Amazon Web Services and recent PTC acquisition Axeda continuing to reinforce online security.
So given that these major fears are likely to fade with time and that there is already a significant groundswell of approval for the use of IoT in field service it seems that it is now perhaps a matter of time before we stop talking about IoT as the future of field service and start seeing it as an integral element within field service operations.
Indeed, the big question for most field service companies is no longer if you will move to IoT but when and what will happen to those who get left behind?