In the current emerging phase from Covid-19 IoT applications have a palpable role in supporting citizens and businesses, with teleassistance services through hardware devices that allow you to monitor the vital parameters of patients remotely, or connected surveillance systems that control locations

Their use is the result of the investments made last year, which were huge: according to the latest data from the Research of the Internet Observatory of Things of the School of Management of the Politecnico di Milano the Italian market IoT in 2019 reached a value of 6.2 billion

Growth is in line with that of the major Western countries (where it ranges from +20% to +25%) and is driven by both established applications based on cellular connectivity (€3.2 billion, +14%) and those using other communication technologies (3 billion, +

The strong thrust of the service component enabled by related objects, which due to an increasing maturity of the market reaches a value of 2.3 billion euros (+28%).

Smart Metering and Smart Asset Management in utilities are the first segment of the IoT market, with a value of 1.7 billion euros (+19% compared to 2018), equal to 27% of total turnover, driven mainly by regulatory obligations, which led in 2019 to the

Following are the Smart Car, which is worth 1.2 billion euros (19% of the market, +14%) and counts 16.7 million connected vehicles, and the Smart Building, with a value of 670 million (+12%), mainly linked to video surveillance and

The most significant segments with the growth are Smart Home (530 million, +40%), driven in particular by the boom of the voice assistants, the Smart Factory (350 million, +40%), which in the last three years has benefited from the incentives provided by the Plan

In line with the market average, however, the growth of Smart Logistics solutions (525 million, +26%), used for the management of the company fleets and satellite anti-thefts, of Smart Asset Management applications in contexts other than utilities (

Smart Metering water and heat, Smart Retail and Smart Health are still marginal but of great future perspective.

Emerging IoT trends

According to the Internet of Things Observatory of the School of Management of the Politecnico di Milano, the growth of the Smart Metering market will continue throughout 2020, on the drive of the legislation on gas and electric meters. In the coming years, heat accountants will also be added: from October 2020, new ones will have to be remotely controlled and by 2027 the obligation will cover all the meters in use. Smart water meters are also attracting increasing interest, with calls dedicated to remote water meter telereading, which allow access to consumption, optimize water network management and reduce losses.

It is called a promising Smart Retail, where IoT technologies allow to collect data on user behaviour in stores, which can be used to provide personalized offers and give useful guidance to designers involved in the development of new collections.

High expectations are for Smart Health, where IoT can improve the traceability of medicines and medical equipment in hospitals, integrate devices for monitoring vital parameters remotely with services such as sending medicines home and video call with a By integrating these solutions with artificial intelligence algorithms, you can use the data collected on the behaviour of an elderly person or chronic patient to understand their habits and to detect any anomalies or alarm signals in advance.

Industrial IoT, where we are

The IoT Observatory continues to grow in industrial IoT, but the gap between large companies and SMEs in terms of knowledge and projects is still high.

This is highlighted by a survey of 100 large Italian companies and 525 SMEs, showing that 97% of large companies know the IoT solutions for Industry 4.0 (it was 95% in 2018) and 54% have activated at least one IIoT project in the three years period.

Among the large companies the number of projects total (- 16%) is reduced, due to the high number of projects activated in the previous two years and the progressive shift of the attention of the National Plan Industry 4.0 on SMEs, and the initiatives focus mainly on the mechanical processing sectors (73%)

The most common applications are those for factory management (Smart Factory, 51% of cases), mainly used for real-time production control and preventive and predictive maintenance, followed by logistics applications (Smart Logistics, 28%), dedicated Wireless is the technological priority for the future, with 64% of large companies planning projects based on these technologies, while reducing wired network-based projects (-5% compared to 2018). In increase initiatives that employ networks Low Power Wide Area (12%, +7%) for monitoring environmental parameters in factory or warehouse and for product traceability.

The main barriers to start-up of IIoT projects are the lack of skills (indicated by 56% of the sample) and the lack of understanding of the benefits of these solutions (44%), but only 44% provide training plans on IoT skills or the recruitment of The efficiency (indicated by 69% of the sample) and effectiveness (46%) benefits the choices of large companies, while the desire to experiment with innovative solutions (34%, +14%) grows, at the expense of the incentives of the National Plan Industry 4.0, which is no longer considered Efficiency is also the main objective of SMEs launching I-IoT projects (49%), followed by improvement of business image (40%). Only one in four started to take advantage of the incentives of the Industry 4.0 National Plan to activate initiatives.

Smart cities and technologies

42% of Italian municipalities with at least 15,000 inhabitants have started a Smart City project in the last three years, 6% more than they recorded in the three years 2016-2018. The number of projects still under experimentation remains very high, but the maturity of the projects is also increasing, with 39% of the municipalities that have carried out initiatives extended to the whole urban area and ready to generate the expected results (+19%).

Smart City projects are hampered mainly by the lack of skills (as 56% of respondents felt) and the lack of economic resources (47%), although the perception of these barriers is decreasing compared to 2018 (9% and -15% respectively). The difficulties related to the administrative machinery are followed, such as bureaucratic complexity (38%, +21% compared to 2018) and the difficulty of coordinating the various actors (26%). The main objectives of the initiatives and Smart City are to improve the services already offered to citizens (79%) and introduce new ones (51%), followed by the focus on environmental sustainability (38%), up by 8 per cent compared to 2018.

The municipalities are not the only ones participating in the Smart City projects, but the way to achieve an integrated ecosystem capable of involving more initiatives is still long: the majority of municipalities (54%) carry out projects independently and not coordinated, while there are still few cities (

Municipalized companies are the first actor with whom municipalities collaborate (40%), followed by other municipalities (31%), universities and research centres (29%), while 52% of municipalities are also open to collaborations with startups and service providers. In these collaborations 69% of the municipalities would like to carve out a role as…Promotor, starting and managing first person Smart City projects. 51% are seen as a… (+19% on 2018), which provides third party information and infrastructure of the municipality to allow the provision of services to citizens. Finally, 31% (-2%) would like to be a user of what private operators have done.

During 2019, important progress was made on 5G specifications in Mobile Broadband, Mobile IoT and Massive IoT, with many operators moving from the pilot phase to the commercial launch of networks on a global scale. I

The countries in the front row are the United States, South Korea and China, internationally, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Austria, in Europe, while in Italy all network operators are involved, with 14 5G networks already operating.

Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) networks operating on unleashed band continue to grow, expanding their coverage on a global scale and the number of certified devices in all IoT areas (Smart Metering, Smart Building, Smart Lo As part of the short-range protocols, WiFi and Bluetooth continue to approach the IoT world with the launch of new versions that aim to reduce energy consumption and support multiple connections in parallel.

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