Even though our connected sensors and devices are unable to peek into the future just yet, the momentum displayed by Internet of Things (IoT) in 2017 provides a fair idea of what to expect later. Last year saw several hints of the IoT trend hitting mainstream within the enterprise structure, with overall IoT projects nearly doubling. But still, there’s a lot of progress to be made, and 2018 holds plenty of promise for this trillion-dollar industry. Here are a few IoT predictions we believe will become reality.
1. IoT is going to combine with blockchain, AI, and fog computing
By itself, IoT cannot be considered transformational by any means. However, when mixed with major technologies like blockchain, fog computing, and AI, IoT can have a lasting impact on a business. This type of convergence is likely to occur in 2018.
With the combined power of these technologies, companies will be in a position to gain higher value from IoT investments. At the same time, they will overcome any hurdles to IoT adoption, such as data analytics, bandwidth, and security issues (just watch a season of “24” or the movie “Blackhat”).
For example, machine learning and AI will allow for extended analysis of real-time IoT datastreams. This, in turn, will lead to advanced decision-making.
The scalability of such systems will increase thanks to fog computing, which stretches the cloud capabilities to the network’s edge. Through analysis and processing of data flows from data sources, fog computing will resolve problems associated with bandwidth, address latency, cost, and reliability.
As far as blockchain is concerned, it will set up safe, audit-level tracking of the IoT data transactions. This will eradicate the need for a reliable, central intermediary between two or more communicating devices.
2. IoT security will gain traction within the enterprise
IoT isn’t just limited to connecting unconnected “things” within the enterprise structure. It will also result in the merger of operational technology and IT systems. No wonder hackers (China, Russia, North Korea, the threat is real) are focusing more on commandeering or sabotaging IoT systems and devices tasked with controlling critical infrastructure and equipment.
The frequency of cyberattacks on enterprise control systems rose 110 percent in 2017, and will surely increase further as more technology gets hooked to the IoT. Is this a reason not to own a device like Alexa?
This year should see businesses and technology providers increase their IoT security. Companies are also expected to invest more money in workforces, so they are better equipped to handle IoT security problems.
Moreover, businesses will take a more unified, policy-based architectural approach to the concept of cyberteams and security. This will come in handy when implementing a full-coverage strategy throughout the whole enterprise.
3. Solution development becomes more integrated
This year, big and small companies will co-innovate and co-develop IoT solutions. A fresh ecosystem is developing with partners having regional, horizontal, and vertical expertise and resources for IoT projects.
The outcomes built using best-in-class systems and based on open standards and architectures will be future-proofed, repeatable, and cost-efficient. As these organizations understand the need to form such partner ecosystems, the trend will move from single vendor solutions to accelerated IoT innovations.
Also, this new co-everything setup will make the customer a co-innovator. Throughout industries, clients will no longer be interested in simply being passive recipients of different products. Instead, their active involvement will contribute to the creation process.
As the customers slowly become a central figure in IoT development efforts, they will deliver solutions that better fulfill the business requirements.
4. Renewed focus on open standards and architecture
Tech solution providers will gradually move across traditional markets structure to collaborate on interoperability and open standards. Further convergence of standard bodies and consortia fueling the previously mentioned co-everything ecosystem will occur.
At the same time, more aggressive government regulations (though many regulations are being cut away in some aspects in the U.S.) and guidelines will come into play when it comes to not just IoT privacy, interoperability, and security, but even drones (just watch that excellent drone episode in “The Good Wife” in season 7), autonomous cars, and AI-based systems. This year, governments and agencies must work with one another to establish new and effective laws and actions.
5. Creation of new business models and new value propositions
Until the present day, most IoT projects in enterprise settings have focused primarily on automating the current business processes and making incremental improvements to efficiency. But as IoT joins with other synergistic processes, IoT will transform sectors by implementing new business models and driving value propositions.
6. Impact on data analytics
There is no doubt that IoT is going to revolutionize the data analytics industry. IoT will prompt a change from the batch analytics of static datasets to real-time or dynamic analytics, as well as datastreaming with the help of machine language and AI. Such real-time analytics capabilities will enable the enterprises to make quicker, more informed business decisions that provide higher ROI.
7. Improved standards
Developers will find wire protocols and Bluetooth Low Energy technology to be extremely beneficial as they chart the course towards hardware commoditization. This will provide companies seeking inexpensive hardware access to technology like edge sensors that help form IoT solutions.
Nowadays, SaaS players are quickly entering the market with prebuilt apps for various “killer apps” within the IoT sector, such as equipment fault prediction, facility monitoring, and asset tracking.
The truth is, cloud support is becoming increasingly advanced to help support IoT apps. Scalable platforms that permit ingestion of large data volumes, as well as high volume data storage, enable IoT app development.
The major technical issues to solve for any enterprise entering the IoT sector are data ingestion as well as advanced analytics on the accumulated data. But the biggest concern of them all involves developing a clear vision as far as the business goals are concerned along with the value of the solution before getting started.
8. Quantifiable results will become the norm
This year, organizations that implement IoT will speak out regarding their projects and demonstrable return on investment. These early adopters will talk about successful business decisions as well as process improvements. Until now, most of the gains have been theoretical in nature, depending on desired outcomes instead of a measurable success.
IoT predictions: Moving toward a tipping point
IoT is slowly moving toward a tipping point where companies will start experiencing its true potential, switching from incremental to monumental developments.
As IoT converges with fog computing, AI, and other technologies, IoT security will become stronger with improved interoperability. And this is going to affect not only IoT’s future but its capability to drive the process of business transformation in 2018 and beyond.
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