Internet of Things

Work Team


The Internet of Things Observatory was established in 2011 to address the growing interest expressed by the public and private sector in the potential of the new model known as the Internet of Things (IoT). In an environment where there is much uncertainty about the current state-of-the-art of IoT applications, the enabling benefits and the expected developments in the market, the Observatory will investigate the true opportunities of IoT from a combined technological and management perspective.


The Observatory's planned actions for 2019-2020 are:

  • Field research to analyse the main advancements made in the market, and the legal aspects and technologies relating to the Internet of Things, with particular focus on the areas of application for the Smart Home, Smart City, Smart Mobility and Industrial IoT.
  • A kick-off workshop aimed at agreeing to goals and addressing new Research activities;
  • Five thematic and in-depth workshops with Partners and Sponsors on the following topics: Smart Home, Industrial IoT, Smart Mobility, technologies and startups focused on sharing intermediate results;
  • A public convention to present the main findings of our research into the smart home area, with round table sessions and talks given by leading figures in the sector.
  • A public convention to present the main findings of our research, with round table sessions and talks given by leading figures from the world of Internet of Things.


Within the scope of our 2019-2020 research, the Observatory will:

  • Analyse the progress of the application framework in Italy, identifying the most interesting projects and preparing a comparison with the international landscape.
  • Estimate the diffusion and the market value of the Internet of Things in Italy, comparing with foreign Countries.
  • Monitor the frontiers of innovation, analysing the most interesting start-ups in Italy and abroad.
  • Study the main changes to legislation that can affect the process of spreading the IoT, with specific attention to smart metering for gas, water and electricity.
  • Analyse the various strategies for using data gathered from connected devices to their full potential, with a thorough investigation into topics relating to privacy and data protection.
  • Update the framework of applications for IoT solutions in the consumer world with particular emphasis on the smart home, through an ad hoc survey on the end consumer (one focused on Italy and one on a foreign Country).
  • Gain an insight into how value chains, both in the traditional supply chain and along the alternative channels, are evolving in the smart home field (looking, for instance at retailers, insurance firms and the online channel), analysing the emerging business models and the value of services associated to smart products.
  • Determine the role played by the IoT in creating a smart city and analyse the application landscape in Italy through a survey involving town and city councils in Italy and by making a comparison with other countries; furthermore, investigate the evolution of governance and business models enabled by the new IoT networks (for example, Sigfox, LoRa and NB-IoT).
  • Analyse the Industrial IoT application scenario (focusing on Smart Factory and Smart Logistics) by developing a survey targeted to companies (large enterprises as well as SMBs), looking into the most significant success stories in main business sectors.
  • Examine the main IoT trends in greater depth, with a detailed analysis of sensor evolution and IoT software platforms, the role of voice assistants as well as a study on short- and long-range protocols and the way they have evolved.
  • Bring together the matters of interest in the Italian IoT system, helping to form relationships with the Institutional world and give substance and power to a nation-wide IoT strategy.


Research for 2019-2020 is structured along five threads:

  • Market and Applications: a cross-analysis of the main topics linked to the Internet of Things (fields of application, diffusion, market value, etc.), monitoring the frontiers of innovation (start-ups), determine the value of data made available through connected devices and the implications linked to privacy and cyber security matters.
  • Technologies, Platforms and Standards: analysis of the technological solutions and relative standards, updating our analysis of the application dynamics within the technological framework outlined in the research conducted in previous years, focusing on sensors, voice assistants, IoT platforms and the business models that are thus enabled.
  • Internet of Things & B2C: analysis of the application framework for new B2C solutions relating to the smart home (structure of the value chain, business models, successful cases, etc.); monitoring of the diffusion of smart home solutions in Italy; and understanding how end-users feel about these solutionsanalyse the evolution of Assisted Living & Wellness applications enabled by IoT technologies and estimate the benefits at Country System level.
  • Internet of Things & B2Citizen: close examination of the application landscape for a smart city in Italy and internationally; analysis of legislative drivers (such as smart metering for gas, water and electricity) and the relative implications; analysis of the evolution in governance models and a study of the most suitable financial tools for “unblocking” the potential of smart city projects in specific fields of application.
  • Internet of Things & B2B: analysis of the technological framework for the most significant IoT solutions and projects in the B2B arena implemented in Italy and abroad; and examine in detail successful cases involving winning business models.


Research carried out by the Internet of Things Observatory is based on:

  • An empirical analysis of over 500 projects involving the use of IoT technology, in Italy and globally.
  • A model to estimate the diffusion of IoT and the relative market, informed by the data gathered during study cases, surveys and personal interviews with offer-side players (module integrators, software houses, system integrators, telecoms).
  • Two surveys on the end-user (one in Italy and one abroad), to be organised in partnership with a specialised institute.
  • A survey to be addressed to companies (large enterprises as well as SMBs) to collect information on the level of adoption – current and in perspective – of Industrial IoT solutions (Smart Factory, Smart Logistics and Smart Lifecycle).
  • Over 100 interviews and case studies of the most innovative IoT project


Sponsorship opportunities

Every year more than 300 companies join the Digital Innovation Observatories activities, getting in touch with the corporate, institutional and academic decision makers

More Details

Partners and Sponsors

For further information, collaboration and support requests for the other researches of the Internet of Things Observatory, please contact Giulio Salvadori (email: giulio.salvadori@polimi.it).