Life at Eclipse

Musings on the Eclipse Foundation, the community and the ecosystem

The 2019 IoT Developer Survey Results are Live

After months of hard work, the 2019 IoT Developer Survey results are live today. This year marks the fifth year the Eclipse IoT Working Group has asked the global IoT developer community to share their perceptions, requirements, and priorities. The survey has proven to be an influential assessment of the IoT market as viewed from the development front lines. Access the full findings of the 2019 IoT Developer Survey here.

Over 1,700 individuals took the survey between February and March 2019. Just like in previous years (see results from 2018, 2017, and earlier here), Eclipse IoT collaborated with key IoT ecosystem players like Bosch and Red Hat to maximize the reach of the survey.

The key findings this year include the following:

  • IoT drives real-world, commercial outcomes today. 65% of respondents are currently working on IoT projects professionally or will be in the next 18 months.
  • IoT developers mostly use C, C++, Java, JavaScript, and Python
  • AWS, Azure, and GCP are the leading IoT cloud platforms
  • Top three industry focus areas remain the same as last year: IoT Platforms, Home Automation, and Industrial Automation / IIoT.
  • MQTT remains the dominant IoT communication protocol leveraged by developers
  • The Eclipse Desktop IDE is the leading IDE for building IoT applications

IoT gets real(er)

Consistent with our findings last year, two-thirds of the respondents to our survey develop and deploy IoT solutions today or will be doing so within 18 months. This continued focus on building and deploying real world solutions is reflected in the increases in developers’ focus on performance, connectivity, and standards shown in the survey.

C and Java dominate

C won out as the programming language of choice for constrained devices, while Java was most popular for gateways/edge nodes and IoT cloud. Neither of those findings are surprising. C and C++ have long been the languages of choice for small embedded systems where minimizing memory space and power consumption, and maximizing processor utilization are key. Java is the dominant language and platform where the memory and processing resources are larger, and the complexity of the systems are greater. In particular, Java is the language of choice for most cloud infrastructure projects, so seeing it lead in IoT cloud is consistent with that.

AWS, Azure, and Google hold on to the lead

As expected AWS, Azure, and GCP maintain their status as the leading IoT cloud platforms. The list of three and their rankings are entirely consistent with their relative weights in the cloud computing marketplace as a whole, so there is no surprise to see this reflected in our results.

A continued focus on platforms, home automation, and IIoT

IoT Platforms (34%), Home Automation (27%), and Industrial Automation / IIoT (26%) were the respondents’ three most common industry focus areas. These areas are likely to continue to be key targets for IoT developer activity.  The fact that IoT Platforms is consistently year after year the number one focus for IoT developers is interesting. It implies that enterprises and industrials are putting resources into building their own IoT platforms for use by their companies. To me this suggests that industrial IoT is going to be a huge opportunity for hybrid cloud, as companies build and run IoT solutions on-premise based using modern, open technologies.

Security is (still) top of mind

Security is still the top concern for IoT developers. Communication Security (38%) Data Encryption (38%), and JSON Web Tokens (JWTs) (26%) were the top three security technologies cited in the survey, with virtualization also starting to play a stronger role in IoT Security.

MQTT is still the dominant IoT communication protocol

HTTP (49%), MQTT (42%), and Websockets (26%) were the top three communications protocols used by IoT developers. The growth in MQTT adoption over the past seven or eight years has been phenomenal, and I like to think that the Eclipse IoT community with its Eclipse Paho and Eclipse Mosquitto projects had a small part to play in that. Having robust open source implementations available has certainly been part of the MQTT’s success. Looking forward that main challenge we see for further MQTT adoption is the lack of interoperability built into the protocol. While MQTT is a great lightweight, low latency protocol it does not provide any guidance on the topic structures and payload definitions used by any device or application. This means that no two teams using MQTT would expect to have their systems be able to reliably exchange data. The Eclipse Tahu project defines the Sparkplug protocol — created by Arlen Nipper one of the co-inventors of MQTT itself. Sparkplug defines the topic structures and payload definitions necessary for out-of-the-box interoperability of SCADA systems. We are hopeful that Sparkplug could spur MQTT to even greater adoption in industrial IoT use cases.

The Eclipse Desktop IDE is the leading IoT IDE

45% of respondents use the Eclipse Desktop IDE. It is not at all surprising that the Eclipse IDE has a strong franchise with IoT developers, given the dominance of C and Java. The Eclipse CDT project has long been hugely important in the embedded software space. The past decade CDT has been used by virtually every chip, SOC, and RTOS company as the basis for their toolset. Those developer solutions also typically use additional tools such as the Target Management Framework, and Remote Systems Explorer that were specifically designed with the embedded developer in mind. That, coupled with the Eclipse IDE’s broad use amongst professional Java developers makes its leadership in IoT clear.

In addition, close to 10% also use Eclipse Che, our community’s next generation cloud-based tooling solution. It really seems part of the future of IoT is in the cloud, one way or another.

Access the full findings of the 2019 IoT Developer Survey here.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to fill out this survey, and thanks again our Eclipse IoT members for their help with the promotion.

We are very interested in hearing your thoughts and feedback about this year’s findings. And, of course, we are always open to suggestions on how to improve the survey in the future!

Written by Mike Milinkovich

April 17, 2019 at 7:00 am

Posted in Foundation, Open Source

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