Thursday, December 2, 2021

Internet of Things (IoT) Cloud Trends

Exploring Internet of Things (IoT) cloud trends provides valuable insight into the extent to which organizations and consumers have embraced both of these technologies. 

IoT today

As Mordor Intelligence reports, the IoT market was valued at $1.1 trillion in 2020 and is expected to grow to $6 trillion by 2026, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 32% between 2021 and 2026. These numbers come as no surprise when we consider that recent Microsoft research revealed that around 94% of companies would use some variety of IoT by the end of 2021. 

Cloud today

Cloud adoption, in general, has been on the rise as well. Gartner forecasts end-user spending on cloud services to reach nearly $400 billion by the end of 2021 and $482 billion by the end of 2022. Further, the research firm predicts, public cloud spending will grow to more than 45% of all enterprise IT spending — up from less than 17% in 2021. 

While there are many factors at play affecting the adoption of both cloud and IoT technology, the link between the two is apparent. In order to derive value from the data being collected from IoT devices, increased access to fast, reliable connection speeds is a must. The cloud offers expanded reach, reduced latency over direct remote network connections, and increasingly, IoT-based services provided by third parties. 

This article will take a look at some of the key trends shaping the IoT cloud landscape:

5 IoT cloud trends

1. Cloud-delivered IoT insights “as-a-service”

According to a Markets & Markets study, the global “as-a-service” market (XaaS) was forecasted to grow at nearly 40% each year between 2016 and 2020. IoT as a service is a relatively new idea that builds on the framework of other as-a-service models. 

IoT employs wireless microcontroller (MCU) devices to extract operational data, which is transported to the cloud, where any number of services can be managed. In other words, the rise in cloud computing makes it possible for IoT insights to be derived in real-time, from anywhere. 

Companies like Samsara rely on the cloud to provide their clients with real-time visibility into production facility operations, GPS fleet tracking, equipment monitoring, and more by monitoring and reporting on IoT-derived data.

2. IoT cloud security focus

As organizations add IoT devices to their networks, bad actors are waiting to pounce on the vulnerabilities these new endpoints can expose. An emerging trend is for security teams to focus on encryption of data in the cloud — ensuring that data is encoded when it is at rest and in transit is vital. 

Several vendors offer features in this space: 

  • Azure Security Center (Microsoft) offers an IoT specific product, Azure IoT, which can encrypt data in hybrid cloud work environments
  • AWS Security Hub (Amazon) includes IoT security services aimed at providing a comprehensive view of organizations’ security postures, including encrypted data originating from IoT devices accessed through the cloud
  • Cloud Security Command Center (Google) can identify security misconfigurations and centralize encryption efforts 

3. IoT cloud usage and 5G adoption

Tech research firm Omdia reports that 124 million 5G connections were added globally between Q1 and Q2 2021, a 41% increase, according to 5G Americas. By the end of 2021, the firm predicts, there will be 692 million global 5G connections. Increased IoT usage is one factor driving this growth. As organizations adopt IoT services accessible through the cloud, fast connection speeds are a must. 5G is also helping to bridge the connectivity gap in remote locations, allowing new industries to enhance their operations with IoT. 

4. IoT and edge computing

Similar to the trend we see with 5G adoption, organizations are increasingly turning to edge computing to handle IoT data due to the promise of increased connection speed and reliability — especially those related to big data analytics. IoT devices retrieve massive volumes of data, but without big data processing capabilities, organizations miss out on the many benefits of data analytics. 

Edge computing provides a distributed network model that can work alongside cloud data depositories to reduce latency in data processing speeds. Industry watchers expect edge computing to continue expanding as organizations and consumers alike increasingly adopt IoT technologies. 

5. IoT and AI in cloud computing

Cloud computing has been a boon to the field of artificial intelligence (AI), providing public access to powerful machine learning (ML) platforms that require huge processing power and data bandwidth. For example, machine learning is being used to “learn” from IoT-gathered data to automate operational processes and streamline supply chains. These use cases are the tip of the IoT cloud iceberg — as cloud resources have evolved, virtually any AI application can be accessed and used through the cloud, greatly enhancing the usability of IoT-generated data, often in real-time. 

See more: Best IoT Platforms & Software

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