By connecting even the most basic devices and sensors, it will enable new levels of insight into the inner workings of industrial machines, grid infrastructure, cars and much more. It will help designers glean new insights that will enhance next-generation products, and enable site managers to predict and fix problems before anything goes wrong.
But how quickly is the Internet of Things being adopted in 2020? What are engineers embracing, and what are they struggling with? Which barriers must be overcome before all industrial sectors can take advantage of the IoT revolution? To find out, Professional Engineering teamed up with Arm, the company designing the chip technology architecture behind most IoT devices, to survey more than 1,800 international engineers working across manufacturing, aerospace, automotive, construction and more.
Our findings show that engineers are very interested and aware of the potential of IoT, and believe that predictive maintenance and real-time monitoring will be the key benefits. Automotive engineers, in particular, believe the IoT will have a significant impact on the way vehicles are designed and engineered.
The adoption of IoT technology has been slow but steady, with the majority of companies already implementing it or planning to – although spending over the past three years has remained stable rather than rising. Most companies plan to adopt a hybrid approach utilising some third-party services rather than building their own systems. There were different views on which connectivity technology was best, with respondents praising the stability and speed of non-cellular connections such as wi-fi, while acknowledging that they lack the versatility of cellular connections such as 4G.
A slight regional divide was observed in the data. North American engineers were more likely than those in the rest of the world to see the IoT as a broad tool, not just limited to predictive maintenance. However, they were twice as likely to cite security and budget as the most significant deployment concerns rather than knowledge about adoption.
More broadly, global respondents said they were generally concerned about security and the cost of installation. Engineers are clearly aware of the benefits of the IoT and keen to incorporate it into their work, but there remain some hurdles to overcome to truly realise its potential.