4 November 2020
The Internet of Things is transforming how we live and work in ways we never could have imagined. At farms, wireless IoT sensors can transmit information about soil moisture and nutrients. IoT alarm systems, equipped with batteries that last for years, provide homeowners with long-term protection. Wearable fitness devices—for both people and pets—can monitor activity levels and provide feedback on heart rate and respiration.
Although these applications serve different purposes, they all share one characteristic: dependence on strong connectivity. What is the IoT market situation in Italy?
The Italian IoT market
The most recent Internet of Things Observatory of the School of Management at the Milan Politecnico University described the steady growth of Italy’s IoT industry.
In 2019, the Italian IoT market was worth €6.2 billion, showing YoY growth of €1.2 billion, +24%, in line with major Western nations (where the growth rate ranges from +20% to +25%) and driven by the most consolidated applications based on “traditional” cellular connectivity (€3.2 billion, +14%) and other communication technologies (€3 billion, +36%). The services enabled by IoT devices are another strong source of momentum, up 28% to €2.3 billion, an indication of the market’s growing maturity.
Smart Metering and Smart Asset Management for utilities make up the IoT market’s top segment, worth €1.7 billion (+19% on 2018) and accounting for 27% of total IoT market revenues. Regulation has been the biggest driver, leading to the installation of 3.2 million smart gas meters in 2019 (58% of all meters) and 5.7 million smart electric meters (37% of all electric meters). With 16.7 million connected vehicles and a market value of €1.2 billion, the Smart Car segment ranks second (19% of the market, +14%), followed by Smart Buildings, worth €670 million (+12%) and mainly consisting of video surveillance and energy management in buildings.
The fastest growing sectors are Smart Home (€530 million, +40%), driven in particular by the boom in voice assistants, Smart Factory (€350 million, +40%), which in the past three years has benefited from the incentives of the National Industry 4.0 Plan, and Smart City (€520 million, +32%), which has seen a number of projects launched by Italian municipalities, combined with new initiatives and public/private partnerships. Other segments show growth consistent with the market average: Smart Logistics (€525 million, +26%) consists of solutions to manage company car fleets and satellite anti-theft systems; Smart Asset Management (€330 million, +22%), mainly for the monitoring of gaming machines, lifts and automatic vending machines; and Smart Agriculture (€120 million, +20%), mostly to monitor farming machines and land. Smart Metering of water and heat, Smart Retail and Smart Health are still marginal today, but their future prospects are immense.
The future of the IoT market
This rapidly growing technology enables us to analyse new data that was once daunting to gather from different markets and areas From monitoring machines on the factory floor to tracking the progress of ships at sea, sensing changes in physical environments to keeping closer tabs on human vital signs, IoT systems can enable companies to get far more out of their physical assets, revolutionize how we run our cities and homes, improve health outcomes, and even save lives.
Experts estimate that by 2025, IoT will have a potential total economic impact of as much as $11.1 trillion per year. In fact, IoT will be the biggest source of value of all disruptive technologies, ahead of mobile Internet, knowledge-work automation, cloud computing and advanced robotics.