The Internet of Things (IoT) is arguably the hottest topic at Mobile World Congress this year, but for all its potential, it comes with a health warning from one of the world's biggest telcos.

"We need the capability to manage [IoT] security at every layer," from the network, to the device and the application, said John Slamecka, AT&T's EMEA president.

Security "is a conversation that has to happen, regardless of where you sit in the IoT ecosystem," he told Total Telecom.

On Monday, AT&T published its State of IoT Security report, which found that 85% of organisations worldwide are either considering or implementing an IoT strategy, but just 14% have established a formal audit process to understand how many connected devices they have and whether they are secure.

Only 10% said they are fully confident that their connected devices are secure, and only 12% are confident that their business partners' connected devices are secure.

Slamecka said enterprises worldwide feel that there is an imperative to tap into new technology, such as IoT.

"Companies realise that they have to invest – it's an opportunity to enter new industries and geographies. It's huge," he said, adding that the world is entering "an age of hyper-adoption" of new technology.

At Mobile World Congress, AT&T is demonstrating a range of IoT solutions, including but not limited to freight tracking, automotive services, and a connected refrigerator developed in partnership with Red Bull that enables the energy drinks maker to monitor the temperature of its products.

"We view it as an obligation to our customers to help them understand how these new technologies can be used by them to help them innovate," Slamecka said.

"Of course, all of this could become a big mess, without security," he warned.