More than 70% of medium-to-large organisations in the buildings and cities sector in the UAE and Saudi Arabia expect to increase spending on digitalisation and Industrial Internet of Things technologies in the next five years, according to a new survey by global technology vendor Honeywell. Findings from the IIoT Market Spotlight – UAE and Saudi Arabia report, which Honeywell has launched in partnership with YouGov and IDC, also reveal that senior decision-makers in the buildings and cities sector are looking to IIoT technologies to capture key benefits including improved operational efficiencies 53%, time savings 50% and increased revenues 26%.
The growing appetite for investment in digital transformation comes as regional governments push forward with the implementation of smart city initiatives. Research by IDC shows spending on smart city technologies in the Middle East and Africa is expected to increase to $2.7 billion by 2022, up from $1.3 billion in 2018. Experts attribute the positive forecast to the acceleration of digitalisation within urban ecosystems as environmental and economic benefits become clear.
Even with increased spending and appetite for digital transformation there remains challenges for the buildings and cities sector to overcome to realise the benefits of digitalisation. Almost half 43% of surveyed executives highlight a lack of digital culture and a lack of qualified staff and training in their organisation as a key hurdle to the adoption of IIoT technologies. More than a third 37% of respondents said data protection issues are a key concern, and 34% cite budgetary pressures as presenting a key obstacle.
To support organisations to overcome challenges and help realise the benefits of IIoT technologies, Honeywell has launched two innovation and knowledge-exchange hubs in the UAE in the past year. The company will also open a new training and knowledge-sharing hub for IIoT technologies in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, representing continued significant investment and commitment to digitalisation efforts.
The Honeywell Masdar Innovation Centre in Abu Dhabi and the Honeywell Technology Experience Centre in Dubai are designed to encourage collaboration and engagement between stakeholders and facilitate the co-creation of industry-specific solutions through the adoption of IIoT technology. Together, the centres demonstrate solutions for a range of sectors including smart buildings and cities.
Honeywell created the Honeywell IIoT Market Spotlight report to gauge the level of understanding and readiness to adopt IIoT technology, among senior decision-makers in medium-to-large enterprises in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Honeywell commissioned YouGov, a leading market research agency, to interview senior leaders from the buildings and cities, transportation and logistics and industrial verticals to document both the actual and perceived benefits of the technology, as well as the investment outlook for these technologies both today and in the next five years.
A total of 248 interviews were conducted in the UAE 120 and Saudi Arabia 128, with respondents who hold leadership roles, ranging from presidents, vice-presidents and general managers to C-Suite and director-level leaders and department heads. The results were then analysed and compiled by IDC, a leading global IoT analyst house.
Other survey findings include:
No longer nice to have
More than 65% of decision-makers in the buildings and cities sector across the UAE and Saudi Arabia say IIoT technologies are critically important to business operations today or will become so in the next five years.
Focus on cybersecurity
Executives in both the UAE and Saudi Arabia report a growing appetite for investments in cybersecurity, with 72% of respondents looking to boost spending in the next five years.
More than 40% of surveyed executives in the buildings and cities sector say IIoT technologies will help reduce operational expenses by 20% or more in the next five years.
“IIoT, big data and analytics technologies are helping improve the safety, security, productivity, and energy efficiency of urban areas around the world while reducing operating and maintenance expenses and cutting energy costs,” said George Bou Mitri, Vice President and General Manager for Honeywell Building Technologies in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa.
“By aggregating data from disparate systems, we can gain powerful operational insights and enable real-time decision-making that brings many benefits, ranging from improved traffic management, security, and crowd monitoring in cities, to enhanced occupant comfort and reduced downtime for a building’s mechanical assets,” Bou Mitri added.
- Honeywell IIoT Market Spotlight reports level of readiness to adopt IIoT technology amongst senior decision-makers.
- 40% executives say IIoT technologies will help reduce operational expenses by 20% or more in the next five years.
- To help realise benefits of IIoT technologies, Honeywell has launched two innovation and knowledge-exchange hubs in UAE.
- 43% executives highlight lack of digital culture and lack of qualified staff and training as a key hurdle.
- 37% said data protection issues are a key concern, 34% cite budgetary pressures as presenting a key obstacle.