Internet of Things (IoT) sensor trends reflect a rapidly expanding IoT market.
Emergen Research reports that the global sensors in the IoT devices market will reach a market size of $205 billion in 2028, a compound annual growth rate of 30.8%. The firm attributes much of this growth to increased adoption of technologies like wearable medical devices and the evolution of smart factories and manufacturing automation.
IoT sensors are used to monitor a wide range of qualities related to a virtually endless list of potential applications, from heart rate monitoring to livestock health in the agricultural sector. Among other qualities, IoT sensors can monitor:
- Pressure changes in gases and liquids
- Proximity (for example, monitoring and reporting on the number of open rest area spaces for semi-trucks)
- Levels of fluids and other materials
- Chemical presences
- Infrared health sensors that monitor blood pressure and other health markers
- Optical sensors in smartphones, autonomous vehicles, and more
This article will take a look at five IoT sensor trends helping to drive this sector’s growth:
IoT Sensor Trends
1. Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT)
Artificial intelligence (AI) of things (AIoT) combines the technologies of AI and IoT by embedding AI into IoT components. Connected sensors and actuators that include AI help reduce network latency, improve privacy, and deliver real-time AI-driven insights to the cloud and edge computing servers.
AI-enhanced IoT goes beyond providing data; this kind of IoT can actually trigger actions as sensors deliver data. Examples include robots used in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles, real-time retail analytics, and smart thermostats.
As reported by Deloitte, IDC predicts that soon, AI will support all “effective” IoT initiatives and that without AI enhancements, data from IoT deployments will hold only limited value.
See more: The Artificial Intelligence Market
2. Smart factories
IDC reports that the manufacturing segment has invested nearly $200 billion in IoT spending — a figure twice as high as the second-largest IoT vertical market, consumer IoT. Smart factories play a significant role in these investments.
IoT-enabled “smart” manufacturing (sometimes referred to as Industry 4.0) gives operators and producers much more visibility into their assets, processes, and resources. Data from sensors and machines are communicated to the cloud by IoT sensors and devices and then analyzed by IoT software platforms. Ultimately, these insights can help companies improve overall revenue.
3. Wearable Medical IoT
Known collectively as “healthtech,” wearable medical devices deliver sensor-gathered data insights about patients to their medical providers. This technology gained more traction with patients and medical professionals alike during the widespread COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns in 2020 and 2021.
Insider Intelligence reports that more than 80% of consumers are willing to wear fitness or medical technology.
Among the many dozens of medical wearable IoT devices, blood pressure monitors have emerged as especially effective. Omron Healthcare, for example, launched its HeartGuide wearable in 2018.
Modeled after smartwatch designs, the device measures blood pressure and activities like steps taken and calories burned. The information is stored in memory and later transferred to a corresponding medical app, where the data can be shared with medical providers.
IoT wearable healthtech devices are changing how we receive health care and how medical professionals, health insurance companies, and service providers make decisions.
4. Emergence of Next-generation IoT Sensor Chips
Advances in microprocessor technology allow IoT sensor manufacturers to create smaller, cheaper, and faster chips for use in connected devices. One prominent example is Qualcomm’s investment in this technology sector.
The company has released seven new next-generation IoT sensor chips to meet the needs of a broad range of IoT processes. Qualcomm’s highest-end chips can support ultra-high-resolution cameras and handle advanced actions like camera panning, tilting, and zooming.
Other potential uses for next-generation chips produced by Qualcomm and other companies include the retail sector. The chips can power multi-payment solutions like touchless, smart carts, self-checkout, and mobile payments. In the manufacturing field, newer chips can support advanced functions related to operator safety and minute changes that can potentially impact productivity.
Some high-end IoT sensor chips can even run robots that pull items in warehouse environments.
5. Edge Computing Advances
The newest IoT sensors are helping companies manage the massive volumes of data required to perform business intelligence (BI) and big data analytics by communicating with edge computing servers. This is an improvement over cloud-based IoT, where servers are often located far from sensors, resulting in higher levels of latency and much slower data processing.
IoT sensors can deliver analytics algorithms to edge servers, enabling data processing to occur locally or to aggregate data before sending it on to a centralized site for deeper analysis or storage.
Sensors working within edge computing environments are vital for use cases requiring autonomous decision-making in real time (like health monitoring devices and self-driving cars). Thus, latency can introduce potentially dangerous real-world consequences.
IoT sensors connected to edge servers can also keep systems up and running, even when a network connection is lost because of the distributed nature of edge computing, where no single server is integral to continuous connectivity.