As with any technology whose use is expanding at such speed, it can be tough to track exactly what\u2019s going on in the IoT world \u2013 everything from basic usage numbers to customer attitudes to more in-depth slices of the market is constantly changing. Fortunately, the month of May brought several new pieces of research to light, which should help provide at least a partial outline of what\u2019s really happening in IoT.\nInternet of things polls\nNot all of the news is good. An IPSOS Mori poll performed on behalf of the Internet Society and Consumers International (respectively, an umbrella organization for open development and Internet use and a broad-based consumer advocacy group) found that, despite the skyrocketing numbers of smart devices in circulation around the world, more than half of users in large parts of the western world don\u2019t trust those devices to safeguard their privacy.\n\nWhile almost 70 percent of respondents owned connected devices, 55 percent said they didn\u2019t feel their personal information was adequately protected by manufacturers. A further 28 percent said they had avoided using connected devices \u2013 smart home, fitness tracking and similar consumer gadgetry \u2013 primarily because they were concerned over privacy issues, and a whopping 85 percent of Americans agreed with the argument that manufacturers had a responsibility to produce devices that protected personal information.\nThose concerns are understandable, according to data from the Ponemon Institute, a tech-research organization. Its survey of corporate risk and security personnel, released in early May, found that there have been few concerted efforts to limit exposure to IoT-based security threats, and that those threats are sharply on the rise when compared to past years, with the percentage of organizations that had experienced a data breach related to unsecured IoT devices rising from 15 percent in fiscal 2017 to 26 percent in fiscal 2019.\nBeyond a lack of organizational wherewithal to address those threats, part of the problem in some verticals is technical. Security vendor Forescout said earlier this month that its research showed 40 percent of all healthcare IT environments had more than 20 different operating systems, and more than 30 percent had more than 100 \u2013 hardly an ideal situation for smooth patching and updating.\nThat\u2019s a problem when IoT devices make up 39 percent of the endpoints running on those networks. Finally, a report from cloud-security company Zscaler said that 41 percent of all IoT devices weren\u2019t using encrypted communications, which is also less than ideal.\nVerizon gets NB-IoT rolling\n\n\n\n\n\nNarrow-band IoT, a technology designed to let IoT devices communicate easily on carrier networks, is now available in areas covering 92 percent of the U.S. population, according to an announcement this month from Verizon.\nNB-IoT is aimed mostly at applications that don\u2019t require a huge amount of bandwidth and those that are highly tolerant of latency. It\u2019s not a use-anywhere option for things like keeping driverless cars on the road, but it could easily be used to manage parking meters remotely or testing the batteries in smart smoke alarms. Utilities, asset tracking and things like waste management are also potential use cases for organizations that don\u2019t want to deal with implementing a specialized connectivity layer for such applications.\nMicrosoft broadens IoT support\nSeveral announcements from Microsoft this month underline the company\u2019s aggressive stance on the IoT market \u2013 a partnership with semiconductor manufacturer NXP to bring AI\/ML capabilities to Azure IoT users is probably the headliner, but Microsoft also announced several new initiatives at its Build conference in Seattle to help developers integrate existing applications into modern IoT frameworks.\nThe NXP announcement will combine Azure IoT with NXP\u2019s new \u201csystem-on-module\u201d RT106C Crossover processors, a sensor suite and machine learning algorithms to create an off-the-shelf anomaly detection product for IIoT and other applications. Much of the computational work can be done on the device itself, which integrates easily back into Azure IoT for reporting and further analysis.\nMicrosoft also announced that existing Windows CE IoT applications would soon be able to function on Windows 10 IoT, making it easier to move those workloads to more modern software. The company moved Azure IoT\u2019s Device Agent V2 software to general availability and announced that the Windows IoT infrastructure would henceforth support the Robot Operating System, an open-source OS for robots being used as edge devices.\nGiven the emphasis in the IoT world on interoperability with a huge array of different hardware and software, these moves could considerably broaden Microsoft\u2019s appeal as a back-end for all sorts of IoT implementations.