Engineering the Internet of Things

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The New Value Chain: IoT Innovation

Change is opportunity; ignoring it is perilous. In the IoT value chain, partnership is imperative to success. Companies that accept and work to surmount the challenges emerging from the Internet of Things (IoT) can traverse the value chain, forge business-expanding partnerships, and build customer relationships of greater value. Companies which ignore IoT-driven change may not go out of business, but may find it challenging to be the best wooden stagecoach wheel maker in a world of rubber tires. At TE Connectivity, we partner with engineering innovators and technology entrepreneurs to integrated connectivity solutions that can increase value across the value chain.

IoT Market Survey

TE Connectivity (TE) designed a survey for engineers on a variety of topics related to IoT design. We got responses from 180 engineers ... primarily senior engineers with a stated interest in consumer, industrial, and automotive IoT. Our survey explored IoT applications and design methods and then identified common challenges that exist across this space.

First, 5G will continue to expand the proliferation of IoT. 

5G networked devices can be just about anything. With the ability to connect to thousands of devices at once at exceptionally fast speeds and low end-to-end latency, engineers anticipate 5G will have a significant impact on IOT applications. Nearly 60 percent of respondents believe the advent of 5G will mean getting data faster and that, in turn, will result in new applications of all kinds for IoT.

Second, engineers see several areas that they expect to dramatically shape IoT.

Here’s what we learned.

    • 29% said the ability to capture different kinds of data was critical.
    • 26% said gathering more data faster from applications was significant.
    • 25% cited lower current consumption in IOT devices that would enable networks to reduce power consumption overall and therefore also diminish strain on data transmission.
    • 19% mentioned the importance of smaller, miniaturized components.


Third, engineers think IoT requirements are not being fully met in a number of areas, and ranked these areas as most important:

    • Hardware endurance: 57%
    • Measurement accuracy tied with measurement stability: 52%
    • Sensor intelligence: 46%
    • Processing speed: 31%
    • Cloud analytics: 16%


These last two areas – processing speed and cloud —were considered less vital.

Fourth, we found that miniaturization is universally seen as key to IoT development.

  • 85% of survey participants overwhelmingly agreed, and 47% thought this was very true.
  • Another 38% felt it was somewhat significant to the continued proliferation of the IoT.
  • At the same time, 15% believe sensor miniaturization has already gone as far as is needed.


Fifth, we talked about how IoT is expected to evolve into what experts predict will be a pervasive network that connects virtually every aspect of our lives.

Survey participants see three common major challenges when designing for IoT.

The first two challenges were finding the right hardware and connectivity. Nearly half of respondents — some 49% mentioned these two challenges. We don’t think that is surprising given that today there are multiple wired and wireless options to connect IoT devices. All of these connectivity standards and technologies serve valuable purposes yet taking on all of those standards from Wi-Fi to Bluetooth to Ethernet is a significant undertaking.

The third challenge was security — 44% mentioned this. Others mentioned developing the right software at 43% and cloud computing issues, trailing at 14%.

Sixth, when we asked how many engineers have really started their IoT solution design — we discovered that most seem to start at the same point.

The vast majority of engineers are beginning with hardware choices — 78% —  while only 22% started by specifying software.

At TE Connectivity, we think all of these findings are exceedingly relevant today. We believe we are in the midst of what we call the fourth industrial revolution — the convergence of physical things with the Internet of Things. It’s why we think this data and our analysis is so important.

From the data, it is clear that IoT is here to stay, it’s growing, and will impact design engineers moving forward.  TE Connectivity has extensive experience with engineers worldwide. We expect the growth of connected things within the next five to ten years to be very significant — and we plan to play a key role with our products.  Let’s work together on the IoT opportunity.

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