Earlier this year Vodafone’s annual IoT Barometer found that a significantly increased number of businesses were placing the Internet of Things at the heart of their operations.

The research, conducted among over 1100 companies from around the world, found that a growing number were using the IoT to deliver new products and services and that number was set to double in the coming twelve months. The Barometer found that 76 percent of those questioned said that the IoT would be playing a ‘critical’ role in their future success as many looked to add intelligence to their products.

One of the most interesting findings though was that the adoption of the IoT was moving from large, global companies into a growing number of small businesses looking to increase their revenues by moving from simply delivering a product to using the IoT to offer additional services and to build an on-going relationship with their customers.

This take up has been driven, in no small part, by falling hardware component prices and much lower connectivity cost. As a result, IoT deployments are now within the reach of much smaller businesses and Vodafone identified real growth among SMEs.

So are we seeing the promise of the IoT becoming reality and on a much larger scale than has previously been the case? Could those forecasts of a market worth trillions by 2020 be within reach?

Perhaps, but large hurdles remain and will need to be overcome if the IoT is to be able to deliver the promises being made for it.

How do we square attitudes to privacy and security; how can we ensure that governments facilitate and support IoT through effective standards and will businesses be happy to cede competitive and proprietary advantages so that as many devices as possible are able to talk to one another. With many enterprises remaining fearful of the novelty associated with the IoT that chain will only be as strong as its weakest link.

Companies will need to be careful who they work with and the partners they pick, especially when it comes to security.

While the Internet of Things is an incredibly varied market, crucially most businesses will be looking to use it within the next couple of years. By which time the IoT may have become indistinguishable from any other business process and simply be part of a company’s basic fabric.