Practically, almost a smart object per inhabitant: smart meters, connected cars and smart buildings are the sector’s most involved in IoT development. As agriculture and industry 4.0 applications grow and smart cities are becoming more concrete, the Internet of Things Observatory tells us about the Italian digital transformation.
The Covid emergency stopped the growth of the Internet of Things, which in recent years had been very rapid (+ 24% in 2019, + 35% in 2018), but the Italian market is holding up the brunt of the pandemic, marking a slight decrease of 3%, in line with the trend recorded in the main Western countries, reaching a value of 6 billion euros.
Spending is divided equally between applications that exploit “traditional” cellular connectivity (3 billion, -6%) and those that use other communication technologies, with another 3 billion, stable compared to 2019. Overall, in Italy there are 93 million active IoT connections, of which 34 million cellular connections (+ 10%) and 59 million enabled by other technologies (+ 15%). Among these, the Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) networks emerge, reaching one million connections for the first time, growing by 100%. A strong push also comes from the component of services connected to connected objects, with a value of 2.4 billion euros and a + 4% that “goes back” to the general trend of the market.
The main results of the latest Internet of Things Observatory of the School of Management of the Politecnico di Milano, presented in April, show that Italian digitisation is anything but abstract thinking.
Technologies of the future
The first segment of the IoT market is made up of Smart Metering & Smart Asset Management in Utilities, with a value of 1.5 billion, 25% of the total, still driven by regulatory obligations. In fact, in 2020 another 2.7 million connected gas metres were installed for domestic users, bringing the diffusion to 69% of the total fleet, and 4.8 million second generation electric smart meters, reaching 50% of the total of electricity meters.
Followed by the Smart Car, with a turnover of 1.18 billion euros, equal to 20% of the market and 17.3 million connected vehicles (45% of the fleet in Italy) and the Smart Building, which is worth 685 million euros, grew by 2% and is mainly linked to video surveillance and the management of energy consumption.
Leaving our specific technological interests for a moment, it is interesting to note the development of smart agriculture – 140 million euros and + 17% – and of the 4.0 factory, with 385 million euros and + 10%. The notorious smart city “bills” of 560 million euros (+ 8%) thanks to the projects launched by the municipal administrations and the first examples of public-private partnerships.
The benefits of the Internet of Things
Ultimately, why do people and companies adopt connected solutions? The consumer can manage the functionality of the products remotely and access new services, such as real-time monitoring of their health, the reduction of energy consumption in their home or the possibility of taking out insurance policies for the home that vary according to at its level of smartness.
On the other hand, companies that use smart devices are able to optimise processes. In manufacturing, for example, data from connected machinery (Smart Factory) allow better management of maintenance activities, anticipating malfunctions and reducing operating times and costs. Finally, cities can improve the management of public assets and provide new services to citizens through the use of IoT solutions on their territory.
In short, the title chosen for the conference to present the research seems particularly appropriate: “The Internet of Things to test the facts: the value is there, and it shows!” And, we add, we will see more and more.
This post is also available in: Italian