Almost three quarters of executives are deploying or researching the Internet of Things for their businesses, but are concerned about standards, security, interoperability and cost, new research from Verizon has claimed.
The US operator has said manufacturing, transportation and utilities represent the largest share of investment, but growth is fastest among insurance and consumer products.
While the number of connected things is up almost a third over the past year to 8.4 billion, the report said more than half of enterprises said they had fears over standards, hacking risks, different types of technology working together and affordability.
Verizon said: "These uncertainties, along with apprehension around scalability and simplicity, are holding businesses back from full IoT deployment, with many still in proof-of-concept or pilot phase.
"Early adopters seem largely focused on proving out simple use cases to track data and send status alerts, just starting to realise the full value IoT has to offer in driving growth and efficiencies across business."
The operator described LTE-M, which it deployed across the United States earlier this year, as a "game-changer" for the telecoms industry.
It said: "These chipsets are more affordable, require less power, offer more efficient power management for extended battery life and support use cases not connected to external power sources—everything ranging from water meters to asset trackers to consumer valuables."
It added that NB-IoT was also benefiting from fast innovation and falling costs of deployment. The report said: "New connectivity options, including NarrowBand-IoT (NB-IoT), combined with more secure platforms are opening the doors of innovation in enterprises. Lower latency and higher throughput options are also coming to market."
Once 5G is introduced, Verizon said, the Internet of Things will be "massively" expanded, driving new applications and innovations across a variety of industries.
Mark Bartolomeo, VP of IoT Connected Solutions at Verizon, said: “Over the past year, industry innovators in energy, healthcare, construction, government, agtech and beyond have not only piloted, but in many cases, deployed IoT technology to improve business efficiencies, track and manage assets to drive value to the bottom line.
"In 2017, advancements in technology and standards, coupled with changing consumer behaviors and cost reductions, have made IoT enterprise-grade, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg in driving economic value across the board."