IoT signals

Read the 2020 IoT Signals report to explore the latest Internet of Things (IoT) industry trends and get insights for developing an IoT strategy for your organisation.

IoT is playing a critical – and expanding – role for businesses

IoT solutions are becoming an increasingly important part of many businesses’ day-to-day operations – and their plans for the future. To better understand IoT trends, Microsoft commissioned the 2020 IoT Signals report. For the report, 3,000 decision-makers from a range of industries and countries were interviewed about IoT usage at the enterprise organisations that they work for.

This year’s report reveals how IoT use is both rapidly diversifying and becoming more commonplace. IoT solutions continue to be implemented across a growing range of industry use cases, making them more integral to companies than ever. Ninety per cent of IoT decision makers said they believe IoT is critical to their company’s continued success, and 64 per cent said they plan to implement even more IoT solutions in the future.

This IoT study also provides a unique look at how the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated IoT adoption and investments. Thirty one per cent of organisations reported plans to increase investment in IoT due to COVID-19, while just 16 per cent reported plans to decrease their IoT investments.

Read the full report to explore all key IoT trends and in-depth insights into commercial and industrial IoT adoption and implementation drivers.

Get the 2020 IoT Signals report

IoT solutions thrive at the edge

Edge computing is playing a big role in the value and efficacy of IoT solutions. Organisations that used edge computing as part of their IoT solutions benefitted from more connectivity, improved operations and optimised automation and productivity.

Edge computing is also becoming well known across industries: Ninety five per cent of the decision-makers we surveyed said they are aware of it, with 73 per cent already using it in their IoT solution. Furthermore, 33 per cent of the decision-makers who were aware of edge computing said they view it as a core component of their IoT solution.

The proven value of IoT applications is making it easier for decision-makers to build buy-in across their organisations and implement even more IoT solutions. Companies who incorporated emerging technologies such as edge computing, AI and digital twins into their IoT solutions tended to find more benefits from IoT overall, which in turn lead to more investment and confidence in IoT solutions.

IoT security

IT security drives IoT adoption

One of the top reported drivers of IoT adoption was safety and security – 47 per cent of businesses cited it as a main use for the technology.

We asked decision-makers what their top IoT security considerations are


said Ensuring data privacy


said Ensuring network-level security


said Endpoint security for each IoT device

IoT is driving value, but barriers to iot adoption persist

The study shows that most adopters are seeing business value from their investments, but some are also facing implementation challenges due to:

Complexity and technical issues

More than 25 per cent of organisations find that IoT adoption takes too long to implement and are too technically complex to complete in house.

Limited resources

Twenty eight per cent of organisations don’t have the budget or human resources to implement and manage IoT projects.

IoT’s innovation backlog

Thirty three per cent of organisations are still in the process of implementing current solutions, moving from the learn phase through the proof-of-concept phase, and implementing full solution adoption.

A growing skills gap

With organisations looking to break through the current backlog of IoT projects while also addressing the broader challenges holding them back from accelerated adoption, system architects and cloud developers are in especially high demand.

Industrial IoT is optimising production and improving efficiency

Fifty four per cent of companies surveyed said that IoT has helped them increase operational efficiency, while 47 per cent cited IoT as a reason for enhanced employee productivity. In addition, common commercial IoT use cases are spreading across key industries.

Top IoT use cases reported by industry

  • Production flow monitoring
  • Industrial automation
  • Production planning and scheduling
  • Tracking inventory
  • Staff management
  • IT security
  • Supply chain optimisation
  • Surveillance and security
  • Inventory optimisation
  • Grid asset maintenance
  • Smart metering
  • Generation optimisation and load balancing
  • IT security
  • Asset and predictive maintenance
  • Emissions monitoring and reduction

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Download the 2020 IoT Signals report