The IoT (Internet of Things) technology movement is based on the premise that increased connectivity between machines and people can greatly improve productivity across many different areas of life and work. Although the past few years have brought on significant advances to IoT, until recently the tech was in a largely experimental phase rather than one that exploits it to the fullest to deliver the intended value.
More IoT devices than ever before
According to Business Insider, there will be 34 billion devices online within the next two years, an increase of 24 billion since 2015. IoT devices will comprise nearly two thirds of all online devices, with traditional computing devices (smartphones, tablets, smart watches) making up the rest. In economic terms, IoT development will generate upwards of several trillion dollars of transactions (yes, you read that right!). If you were thinking of getting into IoT and developing your own solution, the time is ripe.
At this time, we are used to having the majority of our personal devices and household appliances connected: lighting systems, temperature, air control and security systems, fitness, health and medical emergency trackers, kitchen tech, store iBeacons and more. In the next year other types of devices will also enter the marketplace, driven by improved platforms, supercharged data initiatives and new tech. Smart remote controls, smart home speakers, smart phoneless messaging systems, smart firewalls, smart ships and vessels, smart Boeing 787 aircrafts,… the list of devices capable of continuous data transmission is virtually endless.
IoT foresight into 2018
In a new research report on IoT, Forrester reports that the perfect storm is now a reality for IoT and predicts that this is the year when the tech will shift from its previously experimental stage to fully scaled business applications. Let’s review the top forecasts made by Forrester and other experts for 2018.
IoT platforms are getting more useful
Up to now solution providers offered a highly fragmented plethora of different platforms and technologies that clients had to pick from, depending on their needs. Often, it was the clients who had to match their needs to the technology available. Finally, IoT platform providers are now starting to offer tailored commercial solutions to match their client’s projects, not the other way around.
IoT data gets commercialised
Data is the fuel that powers IoT – data generated by devices on top of historical data, which through machine-learning algorithms gets predictive, and thus useful. Despite having enacted several policies that hindered the advances in data proliferation due to privacy concerns, recent EU guidelines aim to foster the exchange of data and insights. Pushing the digital agenda further should help Europe get up to par with North America on commercialising data for the benefit of both the private and public sectors.
IoT security issues persist
The security vulnerability inherent to IoT solutions is not an issue we will see fully solved in 2018. It’s not that IoT is more risky than other cloud solutions; rather there is a different type of risk that needs to be mitigated. The race to build viable business applications often pushes security concerns to the back burner, only to be addressed when time and budget allow it. This year we can expect more attacks on IoT applications, which is why the importance of awareness and the implementation of defences cannot be overstated.
Shifts brought on by connected manufacturing
Saar Yoskovitz of Augury – a predictive maintenance company – sees a large potential in the so-called edge or fog computing, as data overload throttles conventional cloud storage and processing systems. Yoskovitz also says facility managers will have the intel to make smarter decisions as they process more data from connected machines. Better intelligence is no longer reserved for the big dogs, either. Smaller companies who are now shifting to predictive maintenance, are able to realise savings with the addition of inexpensive sensors attached to virtually any production equipment.
Joining the revolution through partnerships
Often dubbed the fourth industrial revolution, IoT technology is making a foray into business, enterprise and manufacturing applications. Among the business pioneers betting big on IoT, rank names like Rolce-Royce, Virgin Atlantic, Ericsson Maritime ICT, Dell, Daimler, GE Digital, DHL and other data-driven organisations aiming to improve real-time feedback, connectivity, and ultimately – decision-making at all levels.
Developing the right type of software, communication and security protocols, maintaining/updating equipment and sensors, and running data cloud operations can be an ambitious undertaking. The good news is that you don’t have to go it alone – rather, business execs should focus on knowing what data they need and acting on the intelligence it can supply. The rest of the nitty-gritty tech stuff is best outsourced to app developers and platform providers with solid strategies for moving from cloud into edge computing.
Copywriter: Ina Danova