This is the first installment in 5-part series on Ayla Network’s IoT survey on the “Biggest Opportunities and Challenges of IoT-Enabled Products and Services.”

Six years. That’s how long it’s been since the market research firm Gartner first included “Internet of Things” in its Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies report, which charts emerging technologies’ progression on their way to mainstream adoption. Although the term “Internet of Things” was first coined in 1999, it’s taken until the past few years for the IoT to seem like it’s everywhere. We decided to do a survey to find out what some of the people creating IoT solutions—or considering them—think are the biggest opportunities and challenges of IoT-enabled products and services. We got a terrific response to our survey, and we’ll share some of the results in the coming weeks through our blog. But first, a bit of context....

Evolution of the IoT Market 

The Gartner Hype Cycle charts the evolution of IoT technologies, in the context of all emerging technologies. From that first Internet of Things appearance in 2011: 

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...the IoT moved up the hype cycle through 2015:


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Then, in the most recent chart in 2016, Internet of Things was replaced by “IoT Platform,” which is now making its way back up the curve:


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This switch in terminology from IoT to IoT platform recognizes both the increasing sophistication of IoT technologies and the realities of what it takes to bring smart, connected products to market. 

Some Survey Highlights

The realities of IoT product creation emerged loud and clear in our survey. In future posts, we’ll explore more details of what the survey uncovered, but here are some top-level observations:

  • Highlight One: Overestimating Challenges. Compared to those who already offer IoT-enabled products, those who haven’t yet launched IoT solutions tend to overestimate some of the challenges of IoT solution creation.
  • Highlight Two: Underestimating Benefits. Those who have yet to start on IoT solutions often underestimate some of the benefits of the IoT compared with vendors who already offer IoT-enabled products.
  • Highlight Three: Mixed Approach. A significant majority of those that already offer IoT solutions report using a combination of home-grown and third-party managed resources. Only a few do everything in-house or outsource everything to external parties.
  • Highlight Four: Top Considerations. Cost emerged as the #1 consideration when evaluating IoT solutions, but the often-heralded IoT benefits of data analytics and scalability—factoring less into the evaluation stage—became important later, when identifying which IoT areas that respondents hoped to improve.
  • Highlight Five: Future Directions. Where do we go from here? What are the next steps? The survey hinted at several future directions for manufacturers. We’ll highlight the most promising ones.

Who We Surveyed 

We conducted our survey online in March 2017. Here’s a quick look at who took part:

  • A total of 355 people responded to the online survey. 
  • Respondents work in industries including telecommunications, consumer electronics, industrial automation, smart home, HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning), healthcare, utilities, lighting, automotive, financial services, aerospace, education, and government. 
  • Their job functions spanned C-level and other executives through product management, hardware and software product development, IT, systems design, business development, technical support/service, marketing, and sales.

After the questions about roles and industries, we asked if respondents had any products that were already IoT-enabled. Their answers divided respondents into two groups: one group that answered “yes,” and one that answered either “no” or “I don’t know.” In that way, we were able to make some comparisons between those with some experience launching IoT solutions and those who are still IoT newbies.

Stay tuned for the second installment in our series from our recent survey on the “Biggest Opportunities and Challenges of IoT-Enabled Products and Services.” Until then, learn more about how an IoT platform can help speed and simplify your IoT solution creation efforts, and how we at Ayla Networks can help guide you on your journey.

The upcoming installments of the Ayla blog on the IoT survey “Biggest Opportunities and Challenges of IoT-Enabled Products and Services” include: 

Survey Highlights #2: Overestimating IoT challenges and underestimating IoT benefits

Survey Highlights #3: Taking a mixed approach 

Survey Highlights #4: Top considerations for creating IoT-enabled products

Survey Highlights #5: Future directions for IoT