One-in-five developers now works on IoT projects

There are signs of explosive growth in Internet of Things development, and savings are being better defined

By 2020, professional kitchens, restaurants and other large food providers will be using appliances with sensors and scanners. They will track inventory and provide real-time ordering linked to pricing. Sensors and cameras will be embedded in ovens, refrigerators and even pans and will do things such as track temperatures and ensure food isn't overcooked or spoiled.

This "connected kitchen," as Gartner imagines and defines it, will contribute in five years at least 15% in savings in the food and beverage industry.

Building a connected kitchen, and all the other things the Internet of Things (IoT) is promising to deliver, will take a lot of development work. There are signs that this development is beginning to happen.

Evans Data Corp., which provides research and intelligence for the software development industry, said that of the estimated 19 million developers worldwide, 19% are now doing IoT-related work. A year ago, the first year IoT-specific data was collected, that figure was 17%.

But when developers were asked whether they plan to work in IoT development over the next year, 44% of the respondents said they are planning to do so, said Michael Rasalan, director of research at Evans.

The fact that a large percentage of developers are signaling their intention to be involved in IoT "shows that developers are really excited about it," said Rasalan.

If this 44% do what they say, said Rasalan, the number of developers working on IoT projects, is "expected to increase considerably."

Evans, in its analysis, includes all the people involved in software development in all parts of the development lifecycle. This includes design and engineering, and isn't limited to app developers. Firmware developers and development managers are also counted. For IoT developers, the number includes people working on backend platforms and data analytics, as well as the software that interfaces with mobile devices.

Another sign that things are picking up for IoT, is in conference attendance.

The Internet of Things Developers Conference will hold its second annual conference in May. Last year, this conference attracted about 600 people. But Markus Levy, chairman of the IOT Developer's Conference and president of The Multicore Association, said he's expecting as much as a 40% increase in attendance based on early indications.

The IoT standards and protocol environment remains unsettled. Protocols and standards have yet to be determined and vendors are pushing their own approaches.

Alfonso Velosa, research director of IoT at Gartner, said that by 2018 there will still be no dominant IoT platform, and he is advising implementers, CIOs and others, to "future proof" their IoT deployments to ensure that devices will be work with whatever platforms do emerge. That includes having well documented APIs, he said.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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