IoT developers face a myriad of hardware and software challenges, ranging from connectivity requirements and interoperability to security issues and data management. Plus, they need to keep in mind a host of design constraints, including power, size, and cost. To gain insight into some of the biggest challenges and commercial efforts by IoT developers, the Eclipse Foundation conducted a survey earlier this year and found that IoT development is happening at a fast pace, with most of the investments driven by the industrial markets.
The survey found that the top three concerns of IoT developers are security (38%), connectivity (21%), and data collection and analysis (19%). These were followed by challenges in performance (18%), privacy (18%), and standards (16%).
Conducted by the Eclipse IoT Working Group in cooperation with member companies (including Bosch Software Innovations, Eurotech, and Red Hat), the 2019 IoT Developer Survey received responses from more than 1,700 developers about their IoT efforts. Two-thirds of respondents are working on IoT projects professionally, indicating real commercial outcomes, according to the Eclipse Foundation.
Most of the respondents are involved in three industries — IoT cloud platforms (34%), home automation (27%), and industrial automation/IIoT (26%). However, IoT projects are growing in automotive, education, and building automation industries.
“Developers are contending with interoperability and performance challenges across key areas like constrained devices, device gateways, and scalable cloud platforms,” said Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, in a statement. “Connectivity, in particular, is a rising developer concern because of the proliferation of incompatible networking technologies in the market.”
A key finding revealed that the top three CPU architectures for constrained devices were Arm-based, with significant use of niche 8-bit, 16-bit, and 32-bit microcontrollers (MCUs), said Eclipse. Here’s the breakdown:
Arm Cortex-M0: 21%
Arm Cortex-M3: 27%
Arm Cortex-M7: 19%
Image: Eclipse Foundation
Also, Arm along with Intel dominated hardware architectures used for IoT gateways. Seventy percent of respondents use gateways and edge nodes with Arm variants, while 42% use gateways and edge nodes with Intel x86 and x86_64 CPUs.
The survey also found that the top three integrated development environments (IDEs) or text editors for IoT development are Eclipse IDE (45%), Visual Studio (32%), and Notepad++ (26%). In addition, nearly 10% of respondents also use Eclipse Che, the Eclipse Cloud IDE. The report also noted that the usage of Visual Studio Code rose to 32% from 23%, compared to last year.
Image: Eclipse Foundation
Although TCP/IP (54.1%), Wi-Fi (48.2%), and Ethernet (41.1%) dominate in connectivity protocol usage, the survey indicates that Satellite and Thread have more than doubled year over year. The report also noted the usage of specialized connectivity solutions such as LPWA, Zigbee, 6LoWPAN, Z-Wave, and Satellite, which range in usage between 8% and 15% each.
Other key findings include:
The top three security technologies were communication security (38%), data encryption (38%), and JSON Web Tokens (JWTs) (26%).
The most popular programming language for constrained devices was C, while Java was the most popular for gateways/edge nodes and IoT cloud.
The three leading IoT cloud platforms were AWS (34%), Azure (23%), and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) (20%).
The top three communications protocols used by IoT developers were HTTP (49%), MQTT (42%), and Websockets (26%).
The survey found that 80% of respondents are active in IoT. Forty percent of them are developing IoT solutions at work and 10% are developing in their spare time while 20% are learning in their spare time and 10% are researching IoT solutions.
There is no doubt that the percentage of developers working on IoT solutions will continue to grow across all industries. One case in point: Dresner Advisory Services’ 2018 IoT Intelligence Market Study found that 32% percent of organizations (across a variety of verticals) were investing in IoT in 2018, with 48% planning investments over the next two years.
>> This article was originally published on our sister site, EEWeb: “Survey: IoT Developers Prefer Arm-Based Processors.”