The number of developers involved in Internet of Things (IoT) activities will reach 1.7 million globally by the end of 2014, according to ABI Research estimates. The size of the ecosystem is forecasted to surpass 3 million developers in 2019. For comparison, this would by then account for approximately 10% of all software developers.
“Currently, the IoT activity is largely polarized between hobbyists and makers at one end, and enterprise-level developers at the other end,” says principal analyst Aapo Markkanen. “But, owing to a combination of various enablers, we can also see a growing number of startups taking the commercial plunge and starting to productize the concepts they’ve prototyped earlier with Arduino or Raspberry Pi. That productization, however, can be an extremely difficult feat to pull off, requiring very diverse skillsets.”
The core enablers for productization comprise purpose-built cloud platforms and development kits, which are making the IoT accessible to developers who may differ greatly in terms of their resources and commitment. Recently launched development kits, such as Intel’s Galileo and relayr’s WunderBar, may prove significant IoT enablers. Furthermore, there are also several other, more indirect enablers that will be critical for the IoT’s evolution. These include sensors and sensor engines, affordable 3D printers, as well as crowdfunding platforms. Collectively, all these building blocks could eventually translate into a perfect storm of hardware innovation.
“After all the talk about hardware being irreversibly commoditized and software ‘eating the world’ we may be actually soon witnessing a countertrend in the technology industry, driven by the consumer IoT,” adds practice director Dan Shey. “Consumers will shun away from anything that is not inspiringly designed and robustly produced, so any consumer-facing IoT play needs to deliver on both of those fronts if it’s to have any traction. In this sense, the IoT could represent the beginning of a Hardware Renaissance.”