Whenever a new technological trend arrives, it is often de rigeur to create new job titles for them; CMO can refer to chief mobility officer as well as chief marketing officer, for instance. Now, a report released by Webroot and IO argues more than half of UK organisations polled plan to employ a chief IoT officer in the coming year.
54% of the 500 UK CEOs and senior decision makers polled said they would invest in the Internet of Things by looking to appoint a chief IoT officer. The most likely industries to make this move, according to the research, are the telecoms (64% of respondents), retail (63%), and education (63%) industries.
“If there were doubts about just how seriously UK businesses are taking the Internet of Things in 2016, this research goes a long way to dispelling them,” the report opens. According to the research, 87% of businesses are implementing IoT-focused projects this year, with 94% investing in initiatives for it.
In terms of primary focus for IoT investment, 71% of respondents say network infrastructure attracts the bulk of the money. A quarter (24%) say their current infrastructure is a barrier to successful IoT adoption. 60% of UK businesses are looking to increase their investments in IoT projects, with more than two thirds (68%) saying they expect to see tangible benefits from their IoT strategy in 2016. One in five already see benefits.
“We’re definitely seeing a move in enterprises,” said IO director Andrew Roughan. “There are some initiatives that can drive change quickly and deliver some customer-facing and online benefits, but this is about more than that – it’s about defining the next era of the enterprise, beyond five or 10 years.
“The infrastructure to support IoT needs some careful consideration, as typical enterprise-scale infrastructure investments won’t enable the IoT to scale economically,” he added.
The news that organisations are looking at hiring chief IoT officers may raise eyebrows, but it probably won’t surprise industry analyst Jeff Kagan all that much. Writing for Equities.com on February 1, Kagan wrote: “A chief IoT officer may be [the] next executive placement for every company going forward.
“The Internet of Things is growing and spreading so rapidly it is difficult for companies to stay ahead of the demand curve. At this pace, going forward most every company will have a chief IoT officer,” he added. “The problem is that today, there are very few top level candidates.”
It is also self-evident that any fledgling chief IoT officers need to have clearly defined roles as the technology progresses – and so back to the chief mobility officer. Red Hat VP mobile platforms Cathal McGloin, speaking to this correspondent back in 2014, explained the problems with the term. “People understand that mobility is not a separate thing,” he said, “so you see a trend towards mobile centres of excellence, traditional IT emerge, rather than appointing somebody to be mobile.”
“It is important to peel the onion back and makesure the changes at the company you are evaluating are real,” added Kagan.
Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their IoT use-cases? Attend the IoT Tech Expo World Series events with upcoming shows in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.