News & Views

Wi-SUN IoT Report

IoT goals have shifted in the last five years but investment remains critical to success despite projects delays and reduced budgets due to the pandemic, says The Journey to IoT Maturity (https://wi-sun.org/iot-maturity-model/) report from the Wi-SUN Alliance (www.wi-sun.org), a global member-based association made up of industry leading companies driving the adoption of interoperable wireless solutions for use in smart cities, smart utilities and other IoT and industrial IoT applications.

Plans to roll out smart initiatives have grown in the last five years with security and surveillance say 87% of respondents confirming that they were very likely or definitely planning to deploy the technology in the next 12-18 months, compared to 77% of respondents in the 2017 survey.

Distribution automation (82% up from 74% in 2017), advanced meter infrastructure (80% up from 68% in 2017), and smart parking (77%) have seen the biggest rise since 2017 (up from 57%).  In addition, smart traffic lights and controls were up 76% from 58%, noise and air sensors rose to 79% from 62%, and electric vehicle charging increased to 79% up from 66% compared to 2017.  Streetlighting, which enables smart cities to control energy use and costs while maintaining citizen safety and security, grew 72% up from 61% in 2017.
 
“Five years ago, the market was less mature with many smart city and smart utility projects still in their infancy.  Our latest research shows that organizations are becoming more ambitious and sophisticated in their thinking – IoT is now a bigger priority than ever across all sectors, and the scale of what is being planned over the next few years is encouraging,” says Phil Beecher, President and CEO, Wi-SUN Alliance (
https://wi-sun.org).  “But what’s clear is that the journey to IoT maturity isn’t without its stumbling blocks.  Obstacles remain and organizations, supported by IoT services and solutions providers and the industry, must work to overcome a mixture of technical and non-technical barriers.”  
 
The biggest change for IoT adopters when considering a smart cities solution has been the importance of industry-wide open standards for IoT deployments.  In the report, 86% of respondents feel that this is either very important or crucial, up from 78% five years ago, while 84% (up from 79% in 2017) believe the same when considering a smart utilities solution.

More respondents are demanding a lack of vendor lock-in as a specific feature in 2022 (78% up from 66% in 2017) reinforcing the need for open standards, which make it easier to integrate new IoT solutions, devices and software with existing infrastructure.

Another notable trend in the last five years has been an increased focus on mesh networking.  IoT adopters are migrating away from exclusive use of star topologies (down to 12% from 21% in 2017) to hybrid networks (68% up from 58% in 2017) that include both star and more reliable mesh networks.  This reflects an increased technical awareness of the technology options available and a maturing approach to IoT network planning.  

Based on based on interviews with IT decision makers (mostly c-suite and senior management) at UK and US organizations across a range of industries, including energy, utilities, government, construction, technology and telecoms, the Report is the follow-up to Wi-SUN’s 2017 IoT study.