Majority of Canadian Businesses Executives are Confused by the Internet of Things

According to new research from Microsoft Canada, the majority of Canadian business decision-makers (52 per cent) said they are working toward harnessing the power of the cloud.

This represents a huge leap from just a year ago, when 90 per cent of senior Canadian executives surveyed said they were not familiar with the real meaning of the term “cloud computing”.

That said, 85 per cent of Canadian businesses recognize that they are failing to thoroughly utilize the benefits of new technology, even though roughly half of the 700 senior level business decision makers surveyed believe such investments help their business stay competitive.

“We are at a tipping point – technology is driving competitive advantage for businesses of all sizes and sectors, but Canada’s business leaders wonder whether they are doing enough to seize its full advantage,” said Janet Kennedy , president of Microsoft Canada.

“The good news is that this study shows marked improvement from last year. It highlights the need for more businesses to leverage the power of technology.  The cloud is no longer where we are going, it’s where we are and businesses that harness its full potential will drive growth and remain competitive.” 

John Ruffolo, CEO of OMERS Ventures, which invests predominantly in startups in the technology, media and telecom sectors, says Canadian businesses are failing to view investment in technology as an opportunity and companies like Microsoft have an imperative to help them reach their full potential.

“Innovation is no longer a virtue solely for the technology industry and companies such as Microsoft can and should help businesses find the solutions they need.” Ruffolo said. “All companies need to embrace innovation in order to drive growth or achieve productivity gains. It’s your choice – innovate or get left behind.”

Elsewhere, the survey reveals that the world of constantly online and connected devices – the Internet of Things (IoT) – is largely unknown to Canadian business executives, despite being widely anticipated as the next area of groundbreaking change.

A majority (53 per cent) of respondents said they are “completely unaware” of what the IoT is, with one in four (24 per cent) saying they are not clear on how it could impact their business. Almost three-quarters (72 per cent) call the Internet of Things a “confusing” concept.

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“With tens of billions of new connected devices set to join the Internet of Things in the near future, the potential for innovative new business opportunities is staggering – so it’s kind of a shock that the level of understanding of the size of this coming wave of new technology is so low,” said digital technology expert Amber MacArthur.

“The new emerging giants – and the new disruptor businesses – will flow out of the Internet of Things, so smart business people had better start doing their homework,” MacArthur says.