Survey Finds Open Source Tools are the Leader for Developing IoT Solutions

From refrigerators to doorbells, any device with power can be made intelligent and every day, millions of new connected devices are entering the market. According to IDC, the worldwide Internet of Things (IoT) spending is projected to surpass $1 trillion in 2020, with a forecast compound annual growth of over 14% over the next several years. With the development of IoT solutions rapidly accelerating, enterprises are actively investing in technology and tools that can develop, deploy and manage these IoT products and services.

To better understand what technology is being used when it comes to the development of IoT solutions, Red Hat commissioned RTInsights to survey 253 IT decision makers at large and very large enterprises. To participate in the survey, the enterprises must either currently be developing IoT solutions or are planning to develop them in the next 12-18 months. In particular, the survey looked at how IoT application development differed from conventional application development, the most important capabilities when developing IoT solutions, and the relationship between open source tools and the development of IoT solutions.

One of the first questions asked was, “What are the most important differences between IoT and conventional application development.” The top answers included:

  • The importance of developing solutions that are inherently reliable and scalable (51 percent)
  • The importance of standards to address data & app compatibility & longevity (48 percent)
  • The large number of intelligent edge devices and sensors (45 percent)
  • The importance of addressing data and application security (41 percent)

By determining how the two processes differ, we can better determine what is needed to be successful in developing IoT solutions. It is no surprise that solutions that are reliable and scalable topped the list given the penchant of IoT solutions to both produce and consume high volumes of data.

Learning how enterprises differentiate between developing for IoT vs. conventional, we wanted to know what software tools IT decision makers were turning to when it came to building these IoT applications. Over the past decade, we have seen open source software become a de facto choice for application development and deployment in the enterprise. And according to the survey results, open source tools are the preferred method for developing IoT solutions as well.

Among enterprises who are currently developing IoT solutions, 39 percent of respondents favour open source tools over proprietary options. However, when the question was asked of organizations that classify themselves as IoT leaders, that number was higher, with 43 percent of respondents relying on open source for their IoT solution development. And those enterprises that primarily use open source tools for IoT solution development classify themselves as IoT leaders 50 percent more often than enterprises that primarily use proprietary tools.

When we consider the key requirements for developing IoT solutions, the support around open source solutions does not come as a surprise. Enterprises developing IoT solutions must be ready to address scale, reliability, complexity, and volume requirements — all characteristics that open source embodies.

Open source software is pervasive in the enterprise and this survey highlights an opportunity for open source technology to further support organizations as they begin to integrate IoT solutions into their IT architecture. We are committed to supporting the transformation of enterprise IT and look forward to working with users to develop IoT solutions based on Red Hat technologies that meet their unique needs.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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