Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:

  • 67% percent of IT leaders said IoT technology was currently being developed or used by their organization. — SADA Systems, 2018
  • IoT and AI were repeatedly cited as technology that is or will be useful to a number of different industries within the next two years. – SADA Systems, 2018

The Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) duked it out in SADA Systems survey on trends expected to take over the tech industry this year. SADA, a global tech and business consulting firm, found that 67% of respondents said IoT technology was currently being developed or used by their company or institution.

Of the 500 IT specialists and 100 executives that SADA spoke with for the survey, 60% said AI was also taking a prominent role in their operations and was something they were looking to invest in more. AI just barely beat out IoT as the technology companies were investing the most amount of money in over the next two years, with blockchain coming in at a distant second.

AI dominated much of the survey, with respondents saying the technology would have an outsized impact on business entities as well as society as a whole.

SEE: IT leader’s guide to the future of artificial intelligence (Tech Pro Research)

The survey focused primarily on six key areas within the tech world: AI/machine learning, augmented reality (AR), blockchain, edge computing, IoT, and virtual reality (VR). Everyone featured in the survey worked for a company with at least 500 employees and 75% worked in companies with more than 1,000 people.

Nearly half worked for tech companies while the others were employed by a variety of companies spanning the retail, healthcare, financial services, media, legal, and manufacturing sectors. SADA said these IT professionals were key to the tech industry because they served on the front lines of where these new technologies were being tested out and used.

“IT professionals are the gatekeepers to the next generation of technologies and technology techniques,” Tony Safoian, CEO and President of SADA, said in a press release. “Much of their time is spent researching and evaluating vendors and solutions, and trying to decipher whether things like artificial intelligence and the internet of things will stand the test of time, or if they will disappear into the IT dustbin.

Despite their belief in AI technology breaking into everyday use sooner rather than later, 44% of respondents said they had the most difficulty finding IT professionals with AI-related skills. That was far beyond the 16% and 12% of people who said blockchain and IoT skills were hard to find in potential applicants.

For 70% of those surveyed, the main reason behind the push for all of these technologies was the desire to increase productivity and efficiency. More than 60% of IT professionals in the survey added that they needed the new technology to separate themselves from their competition.

While the survey focused on new technologies, how they are being used, and why, it also took asked respondents what their greatest fears were about these new technologies. Overwhelmingly, IT experts said data privacy and identity theft were the main problems plaguing any advancements with IoT, AI, and others.

Their fears are not unfounded–just two years ago, IoT devices were used in the Mirai botnet attack that shut down a number of websites, and just last week, thousands of Google employees sounded the alarm over AI tech being handed over to the Department of Defense for worrying uses.

In the survey, 6% of respondents said their biggest concern with new technologies was its potential ability to cause or contribute to loss of life.