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Study Says Half of Developers Not Ready for Internet of Things

With the Internet of Things (IoT) rapidly gaining prominence as a key factor in Big Data analytics, a new survey shows that 50 percent of developers don't believe they have the skills or resident technology to deliver on expectations of IoT projects.

Nevertheless, the study indicated 65 percent of production IoT apps are making money, with expectation that number will hit 80 percent in a few years.

The IoT, which involves connecting all manner of devices, sensors, systems, machines and so on to collect data, is "expected to generate large amounts of data from diverse locations that is aggregated very quickly, thereby increasing the need to better index, store and process such data," according to Wikipedia.

"The number of connected things is set to explode, with Gartner forecasting it will reach 25 billion by 2020," said Progress Software Corp. exec Mark Armstrong in announcing the study the company commissioned to Harbor Research, which surveyed 675 developers in seven nations in January and February. The 12-page report, available in PDF format if registration info is provided, is titled "State of IoT 2015 Global Developer Study."

"Our research shows developers put their long-term bet on industry and infrastructure IoT apps as the foundation for revenue generation," Armstrong continued. "They just need the right technology tools to gather, analyze, use and manage contextual IoT data to maximize this opportunity, from both a creative and revenue perspective. With the right approach, developers can turn their big ideas into business reality, helping define the IoT and its future."

Not Ready for IoT
[Click on image for larger view.] Not Ready for IoT (source: Progress Software Corp.)

In addition to the 50 percent of respondents who don't report being capable of delivering on IoT project expectations, 45 percent don't believe they have access to technology tools to collect, analyze and leverage contextual data from sensors, and 30 percent feel overwhelmed trying to manage the data overload in "contextualized" IoT apps. Progress said location-based functionality is an example of one such context.

Other survey highlights include:

  • Forty-five percent of responding developers were currently working on IoT apps.
  • Android is the OS of choice for IoT apps, listed by 29 percent of developers. Windows came in at 24 percent, while Linux was reported in use by 21 percent of developers and iOS by 16 percent.
  • Java is the programming language/platform of choice for coders building apps to collect and integrate data on the server side, listed by 55 percent of respondents. Following Java were PHP (17 percent) and Node.js (17 percent).
  • 40 percent of developers use a rapid application development (RAD) tool most of the time if not exclusively, which Progress said was "a significant shift from traditional development approaches" such as building apps from scratch. Twenty-five percent reported never using RAD tools.
  • Primary industry markets today are smart homes (19 percent), wearables (13 percent), automotive (11 percent) and sports/fitness (11 percent).
  • Primary industry markets in the next three to five years are expected to be healthcare (14 percent), smart city (13 percent) and automotive (12 percent).
  • Top-of-mind worries for developers doing IoT projects are interoperability, integration and security/privacy. Respondents provided no consensus on when or if these obstacles will be overcome.

"The IoT is rapidly expanding, and IoT-related products are cropping up in all kinds of devices," the report concluded. "Although the hype may fade, the effects of the IoT are unlikely to go away in coming years even as technology advances. The IoT is still in its infancy. Any new offerings should be highly flexible and forward-looking to adapt to new technologies and future needs."

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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