Premier Farnell Global IoT Survey 2018

We reached out to our global customer base with an IoT survey between September 2018 and November 2018. We got 1,042 completed questionnaires, primarily from engineers of IoT solutions, in 51 countries.

Scroll down to see the results per question below.

Participation by region

Below are respondents per region, a total of 1,042 submissions received.

Not specified51

Gender Demographic

Out of the 959 participants who disclosed their gender, 93% were male and 7% were female.

1. Out of the following, what do you feel is the most important aspect to consider when developing IoT solutions?


  • Security 52%
  • Communication reliability 24%
  • Edge device reliability 9%
  • Ease of data review/analysis 8%
  • Ecosystem 7%

It is always interesting to see how developers approach security in the context of IoT. According to the survey when it comes to developing IoT solutions, security and communication are the two main concerns. Security is no longer taking a backseat, survey results show 52% of the users are concerned about data security, data privacy and protection. 24% are concerned about the way data communication is handled.

Click on the topics below to read more about IoT Security and how to overcome critical issues.





2. What is your key concern regarding IoT?

Focus on security increases. The survey shows 40% of respondents think security is the most important aspect when developing IoT solutions, mainly due to the type of data collected from the things (machines) and humans, which is very sensitive & personal. We can expect to see more and more encryption everywhere. Businesses who initiate IoT projects treat IoT security as their top priority.

3. What do you believe will be the top IoT Industry in 5 years’ time?

According to the survey, the following sectors will mainly benefit from IoT technologies. With no surprises, Home Automation, Industrial Automation & Control and Artificial Intelligence are going to be the top three sectors to benefit the most. We are already seeing these sectors have IoT solutions running and/or show realistic and robust business models. With the rise in smartphone usage, consumer IoT solutions in automated home applications have the highest adoption rate.

See response split per industry below:

  • Home Automation 27%
  • Industrial Automation & Control 20%
  • Artificial Intelligence 12%
  • SMART Cities 12%
  • Energy Management 11%
  • Transportation 8%
  • Wearable technology 7%
  • Other 2%

Find out more about Industrial Automation and Control Applications.

4. Did or do you use a third party for any part of your IoT systems design?

no 58%
Yesedge to cloud communication21%
Yesdesigning edge devices18%
Yesdata centre/analytics18%

Build vs Buy IoT Solution. The survey shows developers prefer to design a complete edge-to-cloud-security solution by themselves (58%), instead of relying on third-party providers. Developers understand the critical importance of an IoT platform to efficiently, securely, and economically support their IoT applications rather than relying on external parties, as sometimes running & maintenance might cost more.

5. Who do you believe should own the data gathered by edge devices?

User who’s data is gathered70%
Company who implements IoT system25%
External governing body5%

With the IoT becoming critical to many industries and consumers, questions surrounding data ownership are coming up with increasing frequency. In essence, 70% of the users like to own the data collected by the edge device rather than these being owned by the IoT solution provider. However, 25% of respondents indicated that they are happy with the solution provider owning the data collected.

6. What one factor do you think would most accelerate the benefits of the IoT?

Interoperability – certifying standards.36%
Ease of development28%
Connectivity Standards28%
Needs for Open Standards27%
Needs for data Privacy Policy23%
Adoption by public sector16%
Energy Consumption12%

What would help IoT solutions become more effective? For sure interoperability comes into play with 36% of respondents suggesting it is the one factor that will accelerate benefits of IoT. All connected things need to communicate with each other, regardless of their manufacturer or technical specifications. Connectivity standards and ease of development (28% of respondents each) are the other two important factors that need to improve in order to make the IoT dream come true.

7. How likely would your company be to take on the lead role of building an IoT product itself?

0 - 25%54%
26% - 50%24%
51% - 75%13%
76% - 100%9%

IoT is booming but is still in its early stages and companies are unclear about what its future will look like, considering there are so many unanswered questions from interoperability to security and data management. This was clearly reflected in our survey; 54% of respondents are still not sure if they are going to be leading the IoT market, they are still testing the water. But on the brighter side, there are few small players (9%), like makers and start-ups, who are innovating and bringing new IoT solutions to the market. So we can say that there’s still more developments to come – but we do expect to see the percentage of innovating businesses to rise in the coming years.

8. What is the main reason for your company developing an IoT solution?

Because there is a need in the market31%
We are innovators26%
To simplify and improve people’s lifestyle20%
We are following the market trend13%
IoT strategy is our business objective/focus9%

IoT is the trending technology; more and more businesses would like to be part of the revolution and ride the wave. Survey results show that there is great demand for IoT solutions and more and more businesses are tapping the market. Some players are just trying to be part of the demand but others are innovating (26% of respondents) and offering game changing solutions to lead the IoT market.

9. Where would you gain the greatest value from IoT data?

What matters more in IoT, the data or the things? IoT and data remain intrinsically linked together; collected data analytics bring the picture together and help extract meaningful conclusions and actionable insights. But who gets the benefit? Based on the survey results, operations applications get the most benefit (44% of survey respondents) i.e. optimising the workplace and resources, reducing operation cost and ultimately leading to business profitability. Secondly, customer care application will benefit the most (30% of survey respondents). Gathered data can help offer personalised services online or offline in sectors such as healthcare, retail and others.

See response split for this question below.

Operations Applications44%
Business intelligence & data analytics (ex. SAP, Tableau)24%
Mobile apps26%
CRM (ex.
ERP Systems (ex. SAP, Oracle, Sage, Microsoft)14%
Customer care applications (ticketing, support, maintenance)30%

10. What programming language do you use in your IoT devices?

For IoT hardware with limited computing power and constrained RAM, C/C++ remains the number one programming language for IoT solutions (62% of respondents prefer it), followed by Python (32%) and Javascript (27%). As these languages are primarily used for embedded development, it's not a surprise that C/C++ & Python are the most used languages for IoT hardware development. However, it is evident that Python is really gaining all the buzz recently.

See response split per programming language below.

C/C++ 62%
Java Script27%

11. What programming language do you use for your IoT cloud?

For Gateway & IoT Cloud development, JavaScript is the most popular language for IoT development (49% of respondents), followed closely by Python (38%). JavaScript makes things easier, as it makes devices interoperable and mainly focused on the servers and hubs that collect and store all the information from various nodes/edge devices.

See response split per programming language below.


12. What is your preferred communication type between edge devices and the cloud?

There's a growing number of IoT connectivity protocols, from short range to long range connectivity solutions. Based on the results, WiFi is leading (preferred by 66% of survey respondents) due to the connectivity long-range, more throughput and thanks to the latest low-power MCU with integrated WiFi connectivity on the chip. Cellular and Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) also remain very popular for communication between edge devices and the cloud, with 31% and 27% equivalently.

Cellular (4G/LTE)31%
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)27%

Find out more about different Wireless technologies.

13. What hardware components were used to design your IoT Gateway?

Hardware platforms have become an essential part of the early stage design process, they enable engineers to test their designs quickly and cost-effectively and provide proof of concept. Survey results clearly show design engineers using some sort of hardware platform to accelerate development and time to the market. Results show 50% of developers use single board computer, such as Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone Black etc, because they are ready-to-use embedded development platforms for building end-products. Single Board Computing (SBC) accelerates time-to-market and minimizes development cost and risk. Others prefer to use personal designs (27% of respondents) or development platforms provided by silicon vendors (19%).

See detailed response split for this question below.

Popular Single Board Computers50%
Personal design27%
Silicon Provider Development Platforms19%

14. What Cloud Service provider would you prefer for your IoT solution?

Looking at survey results, there is a clear upward trend in adoption of personal cloud (30% of survey respondents), which is a surprise at a first glance. However, personal cloud is owned and controlled by the user, which means there are no monthly subscription charges, it is harder to breach externally, faster and can be accessed locally, which could justify its popularity among survey respondents. Public cloud services are also not far behind in popularity, Google Cloud follows closely at 22%, Amazon AWS at 20% and Microsoft Azure at 14%. In the meantime, IBM Watson is struggling to get adoption from IoT developers (only 6%).

See detailed response split for this question below.

Personal Cloud Solution30%
Google Cloud Platform22%
Amazon Web Services20%
Microsoft Azure14%
IBM Watson6%

15. What do you believe is the most common type of sensor technology?

Sensors are an essential component of IoT solutions; they are the eyes and ears of a system, capturing critical information from the physical world and converting them into signals that can be measured electrically. With so many types of sensors available, which types of sensors are used more often in IoT applications? Based on the survey results, environmental sensors are the most common type (38% of respondents) – used to measure temperature, humidity, pressure, gas etc. Motion sensors are the second most commonly used type of sensors in IoT, according to respondents (25%).

Click to read more about the different sensor types for IoT applications.

Health Monitoring8%