In Europe, the Internet of Things (IoT) market in Italy was reported to be worth €1.55bn in 2014, according to research conducted by the Polytechnic University of Milan.
The forecast was based on a model that the University had built to evaluate the economic impact of IoT in Italy based on data generated from numerous sources including surveys of leading companies in the IoT field.
Interviews, case studies and questionnaires were sent to software firms, system integrators and installers and focused on specific areas such as smart homes and smart cities to consumers, local government organisations, and other stakeholders.
The estimated market value (€1.55bn) is based on revenue from projects initiated in 2014, carried throughout the year and also includes earnings from maintenance work on existing projects.
Giovanni Miragliotta, head of research at the Polytechnic of Milan's Internet of Things Observatory said: “We estimate that in 2014 there were more than eight million 'smart objects' connected to mobile networks in Italy, which is an increase of 33 percent over the previous year, accounting for €1.15bn of market value.
"To this, we added another €400m coming from machines that use other protocols to connect: like Wireless M-Bus, Bluetooth Low Energy, or wi-fi [sic].”
Smart home products to drive growth
Miragliotta added that apart from smart cars and smart metering, which Italy has pioneered since 2001, the smart home is said to become the main interface for connecting individuals to the industrial IoT applications.
A university survey conducted with 1,000 homeowners found that nearly 50% of respondents are willing to purchase smart products and services for their homes.
The Polytechnic’s Internet of Things Observatory added: “One in four respondents already has an 'intelligent' object in their home, the most valued applications being those related to monitoring and security and to managing heating and lighting consumption.”
IoT driving smart city development
According to ZDNet, another area that is showing potential with the aid of IoT, is smart city development. Several cities in Italy have begun to launch projects to connect and remotely manage parts of public infrastructure.
Miragliotta continued: “Out of the 200 municipalities that we have analysed, around half of them have implemented some kind of pilot in the last three years, and 75 percent of them say they are going to start at least one trial in 2015.
Despite this Miragliotta adds that smart city applications make up a smaller percentage (4%) of the overall IoT market with public funding as the primary set-back hindering wider adoption.
“Generally speaking, in small [population] centers, the focus is restricted to making existing services more efficient, while larger cities are taking a more holistic approach.”