Covid-19 accelerates IoT adoption in Singapore

Covid-19 accelerates IoT adoption in Singapore. Source: Shutterstock

Covid-19 accelerates IoT adoption in Singapore

  • The Internet of Things (IoT) is rising in priority among companies in Singapore because of COVID-19, according to a new study by Vodafone Business
  • Adopters in Asia-Pacific are accelerating more IoT projects due to the pandemic, as it could be one of the solutions businesses leaders need
  • Across the world, businesses are taking a ‘wait-and-see until IoT becomes more mainstream’

Despite the many apparent negatives of the Covid-19 pandemic, in a strange way, it sparked the digital transformation which many organizations critically needed. There has been a pick up in trends across businesses and workplaces, including mass shifts to remote working and cloud computing.

Now, new research from Vodafone Business has suggested that IoT adoption will also accelerate. In the tech world, many are seeing their relevance and importance grow quickly and dramatically.

In fact, companies in Singapore have identified the IoT as a key priority to address the impact of the pandemic. According to Vodafone Business’ IoT Spotlight 2020 report, 86% of businesses that have already adopted IoT in Singapore are accelerating some IoT projects because of the pandemic; similarly, 86% highlighted that IoT has risen up the list of priorities during the pandemic.

The survey was conducted with more than 1,600 respondents across 13 markets and results were similar across the region, with 82% of adopters in Asia-Pacific are accelerating some IoT projects due to the pandemic.

However, not every country in the region shares the same appetite for IoT. While nearly half (49%) of companies in Singapore and India have already deployed some form of IoT, less than a third (31%) of companies in Japan are doing so. In terms of use cases, 92% of adopters in South Korea say their IoT projects are mission-critical, compared to 54% in Japan.

Vodafone Asia-Pacific Head of IoT Consulting Justin Nelson believes, “The promise of IoT hasn’t dimmed in Asia-Pacific amid the Covid-19 outbreak. In fact, it’s been accelerated. Thanks to 5G, IoT as a technology has evolved from simple monitoring and sensing to be able to take active control in real-time. 

“This opens up a new world of possibilities and benefits that businesses here are just as eager, if not more so than their global peers to realize. We are excited to see organizations in APAC kickstarting their IoT journey and gaining the means to create a future-ready business.”

IoT — a much-needed respite

Within Singapore, the top benefits experienced by companies that have already implemented IoT products/solutions are improved productivity (60%); reduced operating costs (52%); improvement of existing revenue streams (35%); and the creation of new revenue streams (25%).

Additionally, among Asia Pacific companies that have reduced costs thanks to IoT, almost three quarters (73%) reported savings of at least 30%. Similarly, 74% of IoT adopters in Singapore decrease their operational costs by nearly a third.  

While IoT technology is quickly on its way to becoming mainstream, challenges to adoption and implementation remain. Ironically, operational factors, such as budgets and financial constraints, as well as a lack of certainty as to how it can help the organization, are top barriers to IoT adoption instead of tech issues.

To overcome this, 63% of businesses in the region (as compared to 56% globally) consider working with communication service providers to create a stronger business case for IoT projects. On the other hand, few were concerned about technical issues, such as the complexity of solutions and lack of relevant ‘off the shelf’ products. 

Less than one in five (19%) of Asia Pacific respondents noted cybersecurity among the potential barriers to adoption of IoT solutions, compared to just a year ago, when cybersecurity was one of the main barriers to business’ willingness to adopt IoT.