The State of Internet of Things Product Development

By Rod McLane

What's on the minds of those at the front lines of creating IoT solutions?

While it's impossible to predict with certainty the trajectory of any evolving technology—after all, none of us has a crystal ball to gaze into the future—here are a few thoughts about where the IoT market might be headed, based on an online survey that Ayla Networks conducted in March 2017:

• IoT 2.0 is well on its way. The IoT has progressed a long way in its transition from a novelty to a mainstream tool. More than half of our survey respondents said they already have IoT-enabled products on the market. Among those who don't, more than one-third work at companies planning to start IoT projects within the next 12 months. And experienced IoT implementers are increasingly looking beyond simple IoT connectivity to concerns about what to do with IoT data and how to scale their connected product offerings.

• The IoT will touch essentially every industry. The IoT is already infiltrating beyond its early use cases of smart homes, building automation, industrial automation, wearables and so on. Survey respondents came from all the obvious markets, as well as industries such as health and beauty products, education, food and beverage, plumbing and outdoor power equipment, which haven't yet caught the connection bug in any great numbers. But at the rate it's expanding, the IoT will soon be ubiquitous.

• The benefits of the IoT will be well understood, while risks and challenges will be reduced. Comparing those looking back from the perspective of having launched IoT products with those looking ahead from the sidelines, it's clear that going through the IoT implementation process leads to a more positive perspective. In general, we predict that jumping into the IoT will be a good bet for the vast majority of manufacturers—as well as the customers they serve.

• Do-it-yourself IoT might not be dead, but it will continue to lose steam for most IoT implementations. In our survey, few respondents planned to depend entirely on their own internal resources to build their IoT solutions, and even fewer planned to hand over 100 percent of their IoT implementation to an outside party. The vast majority chose a mixed implementation, combining home-grown and outsourced resources. This realization points to the fact that in the classic build-or-buy question, the answer is "both."

Another point that emerged from our survey is that IoT technologies and expertise delivered in a specialized IoT platform will continue to be important for the foreseeable future.

Who Took the Survey?
A total of 355 people responded to Ayla's online survey. Slightly more than half (53 percent) fell into the IoT-experienced camp—answering "yes" to the question, "Are any of your products already IoT-enabled?"—with the respondents answering "no" or "I don't know" making up our IoT newbies group.

Respondents work in industries including telecommunications; consumer electronics; industrial automation; smart home; heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC); health care; 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.

Rod McLane is the senior marketing director at Ayla Networks, located in Santa Clara, Calif. You can contact him at