A global survey of more than 600 informed IT veterans revealed a perceived gap between public and private sector readiness when it comes to the new era of smart, connected devices and systems known as the Internet of Things (IoT).

The survey, commissioned by Flex (formerly Flextronics), was the topic of conversation today at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, where the results were presented at a private event among industry luminaries across consumer technology, automotive, energy, agriculture and health care. They were also published in the January 2016 edition of INTELLIGENCE, the Flex magazine.

The study revealed that more than eight in ten IT veterans believe private businesses are better prepared for advances in IoT technology, with government/public infrastructure preparedness trailing by about seven years.

The public sector’s perceived lack of preparedness in this area appears to be taking a toll, as 71 percent of IT veterans feel their country’s government/public infrastructure prevents them from taking full advantage of the latest IoT technology.

However, the survey also revealed global enthusiasm for the potential of IoT. In their responses, 91 percent of IT veterans agree that IoT is a necessary aspect of their country’s economic future – with a majority (94 percent) expressing the belief that IoT it will make businesses more efficient. Beyond purely economic benefits, 90 percent of respondents also believe that IoT will improve lives in their country.

There is an opportunity for the public sector to help close the gap in perceived readiness by demonstrating a commitment to investing in IoT. Notably, IT veterans in China feel that their government has recognized the importance of IoT, and has made it a priority. Additionally, 88 percent of IT veterans in China feel their government is committed to investing additional resources to further develop IoT technology, compared to:

  • 67 percent in India
  • 64 percent in the U.S.
  • 54 percent in the UK
  • 54 percent in Japan
  • 36 percent in Germany

A specific area in which the public sector can play a greater role in collaboration with the private sector involves the critical issues of security and privacy. Although these issues are paramount among IT veterans globally, only half of respondents feel that the public and private sectors in their country are prepared to address security and privacy concerns.

  • 50 percent feel their country’s government is prepared to ensure that public infrastructure is secure and cannot be compromised or hacked.
  • 52 percent feel that private enterprise/businesses in their country are prepared to ensure that the hardware devices they manufacture are secure and cannot be hacked.

“The gap in preparedness between public and private sectors remains a barrier to IoT adoption. This suggests that stronger partnerships between sectors – and public support – are necessary to make our enthusiastic projections for this new era of smart devices a reality,” said Mike McNamara, CEO of Flex. “At Flex, we remain committed to being a partner to all, and helping the world live smarter.”

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