Businesses preferring open source to build their IoT applications, Red Hat survey

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, 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%
  • The importance of standards to address data and app compatibility and longevity 48%
  • The large number of intelligent edge devices and sensors 45%
  • The importance of addressing data and application security 41%

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.

Over the past decade, open source software has become a de facto choice for application development and deployment in the enterprise. 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% of respondents favor open source tools over proprietary options. However, when the question was asked of organisations that classify themselves as IoT leaders, that number was higher, with 43% 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% 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 organisations as they begin to integrate IoT solutions into their IT architecture.

Red Hat, commissioned RHInsights to poll the views of 253 IT decision makers from large and very large enterprise organisations in the US, Europe, and Asia. Respondents must either currently be developing IoT solutions or be planning to develop IoT solutions in the next 12-18 months. The online survey was completed in November 2017.