Tuesday, 30 November 2021 12:38

Inmarsat research: Poor connection hinders IoT implementation


Despite the fast adoption of Internet of Things over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, unreliable connectivity is a key barrier limiting the success of IoT projects for most organisations, according to research by mobile satellite communications Inmarsat.

Industrial IoT in the Time of COVID-19, based on the interviews of 450 global respondents across agriculture, electrical utilities, mining, oil and gas, and transport and logistics sectors, found that 75% of all businesses experience connectivity challenges when trialling IoT projects. They also don’t feel that public terrestrial networks are completely suitable for their IoT needs.

For most businesses, the success of IoT projects depends on connectivity being reliable, available, and responsive enough to deliver actionable data at the right time and cost to deliver a return on investment.

According to the research, IoT is a network of networks, therefore reliable connectivity is essential for enabling business critical IoT projects, particularly in some of the world’s remotest locations, where terrestrial connectivity, such as cellular or fibre, is either limited or non-existent.

When choosing IoT connectivity types in areas where terrestrial connectivity is lacking, respondents prioritise reliability (47%), security (42%) and network coverage (38%). This focus on reliability of IoT connectivity is even more pronounced in Latin America (56%) as well as Russia and the Stans (65%), both regions with extensive remote territories with limited terrestrial connectivity.

None of the respondents in either region said public terrestrial networks were completely suitable for their IoT needs.

Overall, there is still a considerable amount of work to be done to improve IoT connectivity strategies, the research stressed, with only 37% of all organisations using some form of backup connectivity to continue collecting IoT data in remote areas away from terrestrial communications.

The study says there is a geographical variance with only 10% of Latin American organisations and 25% of businesses in Russia and the Stans electing to use some form of backup connectivity when they cannot connect to their chosen connectivity type.

Encouragingly, 80% of all respondents agreed that since solving their IoT connectivity challenges they have enjoyed much more success with their IoT projects. More than three-quarters (76%) agreed that satellite connectivity provides critical support to their organisation’s IoT communication networks.

“With three-quarters of our research respondents experiencing connectivity issues when trialling IoT projects, it is clear many businesses need to overcome these challenges to maximise their return on investment. The fact that they also cite the limitations of public terrestrial networks as a barrier to the success of their IoT projects highlights the importance of reliable, secure and responsive connectivity for delivering the actionable, timely data they need to achieve their IoT ambitions,” comments Inmarsat president Mike Carter on the findings.

“Dependable, flexible satellite communications play a key role in enabling IoT for businesses, allowing data to be collected, stored, and analysed from anywhere on the planet, including far-flung sites well out of reach of terrestrial connectivity,” Carter says.

“Businesses are increasingly appreciating that data collected in the remotest areas is often the most valuable, as business-critical activities happen there. Whether running a remote farm in Brazil, a mining facility in Western Australia, or an oil well in the Arabian desert, there must be no holes in an organisation’s visibility of its operations,” Carter adds.

“Inmarsat provides IoT connectivity to business-critical applications in remote places, via its highly reliable L-band network, Elera. It works closely with customers to help them achieve the most reliable, cost-effective, and efficient mix of different IoT connectivity types,” Carter notes.

“In addition, to produce highly accurate, near real time ‘digital twins’ of their global supply chains, businesses need to work with trusted connectivity partners to develop suitable IoT connectivity strategies,” Carter concludes. “Elera is designed for businesses looking to accelerate and improve their IoT deployments, enabling organisations from all sectors to access IoT anywhere.”

This first appeared in the subscription newsletter CommsWire on 24 November 2021.

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