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IoT survey: half of all developers already using AI

Mar 4, 2020 — by Eric Brown 1,182 views

Newark’s latest IoT developer survey results reveal that 49 percent of respondents use AI in their IoT applications. There’s also growing concern for user privacy and increased adoption of off-the-shelf hardware.

Online technology distributor Newark, which like Farnell Newark and Element14 is owned by Avnet, has released the findings of its Network Global IoT Survey 2019. The survey interviewed 2,015 participants from its global customer base from September through December 2019, spanning 67 countries in Europe, North America, and APAC.

Responses were predominantly from engineers working on IoT solutions (59 percent), as well as buyers of components related to IoT solutions, hobbyists, and makers. Although that spans a lot of different scenarios and motivations, the 2K sample is large enough to take notice.

Network Global IoT Survey 2019 results for AI usage (left) and use of third parties in IoT development
(click images to enlarge)
(Source: Newark)

The most surprising result is the fast-growing use of Artificial Intelligence technologies. A total of 49 percent of respondents said they were already using AI in their IoT applications. Machine Learning (ML) is the most used technology (28 percent) followed by cloud-based AI (19 percent). Yet 51 percent say they are hesitant to adopt AI due to lack of expertise.


Security is still the number one “concern” regarding IoT development, but it’s down to 35 percent from 40 percent in the 2018 survey. Connectivity and interoperability follow at 27 percent and 25 percent, respectively. Security is also at the top of the list at 47 percent when respondents were asked about the “most important aspects to consider” with IoT development (see chart below).

Survey results for “most important aspects to consider” in IoT development
(click image to enlarge)
(Source: Newark)

There was a surprising — and encouraging — degree of concern about user privacy. Some 70 percent believe that users should own the data gathered by their edge devices, followed by 26 percent saying that the company that implements the IoT system should own it.

When asked what the top IoT industry will be in five years, last year’s leader — home automation — fell from 27 percent to 22 percent in a tie with industrial automation. Smart city applications saw a boost to 16 percent. These were followed by AI (13 percent) and energy management (10 percent).

SBCs continue to be the preferred hardware foundation for IoT gateways, at 54 percent, followed by personal design (30 percent) and silicon provider platforms (13 percent). It’s unclear if the latter includes commercial compute modules. As seen in the chart farther above, many IoT developers are requiring third party assistance, especially in edge-to-cloud communication.

Some 45 percent of respondents use environmental sensors in their IoT gear, followed by motion (26 percent) and Opto/image sensors (15 percent). WiFi (67 percent) is the most common wireless technology for IoT projects. This is followed by cellular and Bluetooth Low Energy, which is followed by LoRa at 21 percent. The survey results also include answers about programming languages, cloud platforms, IoT data, project motivations, and more.

Further information

More information on Newark’s Network Global IoT Survey 2019 may be found on the survey web page.

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