Global Research Expects Industry 4.0 to be Lead Application for IoT Within 5 years

By Tiera Oliver

Associate Editor

Embedded Computing Design

July 21, 2021


Global Research Expects Industry 4.0 to be Lead Application for IoT Within 5 years

Newark, an Avnet company, published new research on the Internet of Things (IoT), expecting the role of IoT for industrial automation and control applications to be essential to the delivery of Industry 4.0. The IoT Survey, ran annually by Newark, generates new insights on this key market, including opportunities and challenges for engineers working in IoT.

According to the report, the top three industry segments leading the way in IoT applications are industrial automation and control (25%), home automation (18%), and artificial intelligence (12%).

Despite industrial automation and control being labeled as a key market for IoT, it is reported that Industry 4.0 adoption remains slow, primarily due to concerns over security (32%) and lack of business strategy (30%) hindering the adoption and integration of smart manufacturing solutions.

Per the report, security continues to be the most important aspect for developers to consider (29%) when developing their design, and it is also their primary concern (36%), followed by connectivity and interoperability.
The perceived value of data collected by IoT connected devices is a considerable factor in the adoption of IoT. The increasingly connected world of smart cities, factories, homes, and vehicles now has devices and systems autonomously exchanging and storing data. This data offers organizations the ability to make improvements, increase profits, or reduce costs across business functions while delivering improved quality, increased efficiency, compliance, and predictive maintenance benefits. In the survey, 48% of respondents cited productivity and manufacturing enhancements as their main reasons for designing-in IoT connectivity.
Not unexpectedly, respondents continue to adopt AI as part of their solutions. 39% said they are using AI in their designs already and a further 47% say they would be willing to implement AI within future projects. Environmental sensors are reported as the most common sensors used within IoT devices, used to measure temperature, humidity, pressure, gas, and more. This has been a consistent trend in each of the three years that Newark has run the survey. The survey also found that a large number of respondents are using SBCs as the core of IoT designs (48%).
According to the report, innovative solutions for smart home, industry, marketplace, and government are paving the way to build the future of IoT. Research showed that the IoT continues to be important for future designs. Nevertheless, when asked whether their company is taking a leadership position in the future of IoT, half of respondents (49%) stated they have 0-25% confidence that their company will take a lead role in shaping IoT. Only 11% of respondents expected to be ahead of the IoT curve and have a clear vision about its future.
During 2020, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the IoT industry led to growth in the development of new medical devices and systems, with the potential for demand in improved connected medical equipment in the future.

IoT can change the way patients are diagnosed, treated and monitored, supports vaccine tracking, inventory management, and more. A quarter of survey participants expect healthcare to be the next big industry likely to take advantage of growth in IoT connectivity. The use of SBCs as the core of IoT design is also in line with anecdotal feedback that Newark has received from customers that during the COVID-19 pandemic, design engineers have embraced development kits and single board computers as they design at home.
Newark's 2020 IoT survey also provides insights on decisions regarding 'wireless vs. wired' connectivity in IoT design, preferred vendors, popular SBCs for new IoT designs, commonly used programming languages, and communications preferences.

Customers can read the full results of Farnell's Third Global IoT Survey at Farnell in EMEA, Newark in North America and element14 in APAC.
For more information, visit: or

Tiera Oliver, Associate Editor for Embedded Computing Design, is responsible for web content edits, product news, and constructing stories. She also assists with newsletter updates as well as contributing and editing content for ECD podcasts and the ECD YouTube channel. Before working at ECD, Tiera graduated from Northern Arizona University where she received her B.S. in journalism and political science and worked as a news reporter for the university’s student led newspaper, The Lumberjack.

More from Tiera