The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a network of interconnected physical objects embedded with software and sensors in a way that allows them to exchange data over the internet. It encompasses a wide range of objects, including everything from home appliances to monitors implanted in human hearts to transponder chips on animals, and as it grows it allows businesses to automate processes, improve efficiencies, and enhance customer service.
As businesses discover new use cases and develop the infrastructure to support more IoT applications, the entire Internet of Things continues to evolve. Let’s look at some of the current trends in that evolution.
Table Of Contents
- Top 5 IoT Trends
- The Future Of IoT
- Bottom Line: IoT Trends
Top 5 IoT Trends
IoT devices can help companies use their data in many ways, including generating, sharing and collecting data throughout their infrastructure. While some companies are leaping into IoT technology, others are more cautious, observing from the sidelines to learn from the experiences of those pioneering IoT.
When looking through these five key trends, keep in mind how IoT devices affect and interact with company infrastructure to solve problems.
1. IoT Cybersecurity Concerns Grow
As new IoT solutions develop quickly, are users being protected from cyber threats and their connected devices? Gabriel Aguiar Noury, robotics product manager at Canonical, which publishes the Ubuntu operating system, believes that as more people gain access to IoT devices and the attack surface grows, IoT companies themselves will need to take responsibility for cybersecurity efforts upfront.
“The IoT market is in a defining stage,” Noury said. “People have adopted more and more IoT devices and connected them to the internet.” At the same time they’re downloading mobile apps to control them while providing passwords and sensitive data without a clear understanding of where they will be stored and how they will be protected—and, in many cases, without even reading the terms and conditions.
“And even more importantly, they’re using devices without checking if they are getting security updates…,” Noury said. “People are not thinking enough about security risks, so it is up to the IoT companies themselves to take control of the situation.”
Ben Goodman, SVP of global business and corporate development at ForgeRock, an access management and identity cloud provider, thinks it’s important that we start thinking of IoT devices as citizens and hold them accountable for the same security and authorization requirements as humans.
“The evolution of IoT security is an increasingly important area to watch,” Goodman said. “Security can no longer be an afterthought prioritized somewhere after connectivity and analytics in the Internet of Things. Organizations need to start treating the ‘things’ in the Internet of Things as first-class citizens.”
Goodman said such a measure would mean that non-human entities are required to register and authenticate and have access granted and revoked, just like humans, helping to ensure oversight and control.
“Doing this for a thing is a unique challenge, because it can’t enter a username or password, answer timely questions, or think for itself,” he said. “However, it represents an incredible opportunity to build a secure network of non-human entities working together securely.”
For more information on IoT and security: Internet of Things (IoT) Security Trends
2. IoT Advancements In Healthcare
The healthcare industry has benefited directly from IoT advancements. Whether it’s support for at-home patient care, medical transportation, or pharmaceutical access, IoT solutions are assisting healthcare professionals with more direct care in situations where they cannot provide affordable or safe hands-on care.
Leon Godwin, principal cloud evangelist for EMEA at Sungard AS, a digital transformation and recovery company, explained that IoT not only makes healthcare more affordable—it also makes care and treatment more accessible and patient-oriented.
“IoT in healthcare will become more prevalent as healthcare providers look to reduce costs and drive better customer experience and engagement,” Godwin said. “This might include advanced sensors that can use light to measure blood pressure, which could be incorporated in watches, smartphones, or standalone devices or apps that can measure caloric intake from smartphone cameras.”
Godwin said that AI is also being used to analyze patient data, genetic information, and blood samples to create new drugs, and after the first experiment using drones to deliver organ transplants across cities happened successfully, rollout is expected more widely.
Jahangir Mohammed, founder and CEO of Twin Health, a digital twin company, thinks that one of the most significant breakthroughs for healthcare and IoT is the ability to constantly monitor health metrics outside of appointments and traditional medical tests.
“Recent innovations in IoT technology are enabling revolutionary advancements in healthcare,” Mohammed said. “Until now, individual health data has been mostly captured at points in time, such as during occasional physician visits or blood labs. As an industry, we lacked the ability to track continuous health data at the individual level at scale.
“Advancements in IoT are shifting this paradigm. Innovations in sensors now make it possible for valuable health information to be continuously collected from individuals.
Mohammed said advancements in AI and Machine Learning, such as digital twin technology and recurrent neural networks, make it possible to conduct real-time analysis and see cause-and-effect relationships within incredibly complex systems.
Neal Shah, CEO of CareYaya, an elder care tech startup, cited a more specific use case for IoT as it relates to supporting elders living at home—a group that suffered from isolation and lack of support during the pandemic.
“I see a lot of trends emerging in IoT innovation for the elderly to live longer at home and avoid institutionalization into a nursing home or assisted living facility,” Shah said. Through research partnerships with university biomedical engineering programs, CareYaya is field testing IoT sensors and devices that help with everything from fall prevention to medication reminders, biometric monitoring of heart rate and blood pressure—even mental health and depression early warning systems through observing trends in wake-up times.
Shah said such IoT innovations will improve safety and monitoring and make it possible for more of the vulnerable elderly population to remain in their own homes instead of moving into assisted living.
For more information on health care in IoT: The Internet of Things (IoT) in Health Care
3. 5G Enables More IoT Opportunities
5G connectivity will make more widespread IoT access possible. Currently, cellular companies and other enterprises are working to make 5G technology available in more areas to support further IoT development.
Bjorn Andersson, senior director of global IoT marketing at Hitachi Vantara, a top-performing IoT and IT service management company, explained why the next wave of wider 5G access will make all the difference for new IoT use cases and efficiencies.
“With commercial 5G networks already live worldwide, the next wave of 5G expansion will allow organizations to digitize with more mobility, flexibility, reliability, and security,” Andersson said. “Manufacturing plants today must often hardwire all their machines, as Wi-Fi lacks the necessary reliability, bandwidth, or security.”
But 5G delivers the best of two worlds, he said—the flexibility of wireless with the reliability, performance, and security of wired networks. 5G provides enough bandwidth and low latency to have a more flexible impact than a wired network, enabling a whole new set of use cases.
Andersson said 5G will increase the feasibility of distributing massive numbers of small devices that in the aggregate provide enormous value with each bit of data.
“This capacity to rapidly support new apps is happening so early in the deployment cycle that new technologies and infrastructure deployment can happen almost immediately, rather than after decades of soaking it in,” he said. “With its widespread applicability, it will be feasible to deliver 5G even to rural areas and remote facilities far more quickly than with previous Gs.”
For more: Internet of Things (IoT) Software Trends
4. Demand For Specialized IoT Data Management
With its real-time collection of thousands of data points, the IoT solutions strategy focuses heavily on managing metadata about products and services. But the overwhelming amount of data involved means not all IoT developers and users have begun to fully optimize the data they can now access.
Sam Dillard, senior product manager of IoT and edge at InfluxData, a data platform provider for IoT and in-depth analytics use cases, believes that as connected IoT devices expand globally, tech companies will need to find smarter ways to store, manage and analyze the data produced by the Internet of Things.
“All IoT devices generate time-stamped (or time series) data,” Dillard said. “The explosion of this type of data, fueled by the need for more analytics, has accelerated the demand for specialized IoT platforms.”
By 2025, around 60 billion connected devices are projected to be deployed worldwide—the vast majority of which will be connected to IoT platforms, he said. Organizations will have to figure out ways to store the data and make it all sync together seamlessly as IoT deployments continue to scale at a rapid pace.
5. Bundled IoT For The Enterprise Buyer
While the average enterprise buyer might be interested in investing in IoT technology, the initial learning curve can be challenging as IoT developers work to perfect new use cases for users.
Andrew De La Torre, group VP of technology for Oracle Communications at cloud and data management company Oracle, believes that the next big wave of IoT adoption will be in bundled IoT or off-the-shelf IoT solutions that offer user-friendly operational functions and embedded analytics.
Results of a survey of 800 respondents revealed an evolution of priorities in IoT adoption across industries, De La Torre said—most notably, that enterprises are investing in off-the-shelf IoT solutions with a strong desire for connectivity and analytics capabilities built-in.
Because of specific capabilities, commercial off-the-shelf products can extend IoT into other industries thanks to its availability in public marketplaces. When off-the-shelf IoT aligns with industrial needs, it can replace certain components and systems used for general-use practices.
While off-the-shelf IoT is helpful to many companies, there are still risks as it develops—security risks include solution integration, remote accessibility and widespread deployments and usage. Companies using off-the-shelf products should improve security by ensuring that systems are properly integrated, running security assessments, and implementing policies and procedures for acquisitions.
The Future Of IoT
Customer demand changes constantly. IoT services need to develop at the same pace.
Here’s what experts expect the future of Iot development to look like:
Sustainability and IoT
Companies must embrace IoT and its insights so they can pivot to more sustainable practices, using resources responsibly and organizing processes to reduce waste.
There are multiple ways a company can contribute to sustainability in IoT:
- Smart energy management: Using granular IoT sensor data to allow equipment control can eliminate office HVAC system waste and benefit companies financially and with better sustainability practices.
- Extent use style: Using predictive maintenance with IoT can extend the lifespan of a company’s model of manufacturing. IoT will track what needs to be adjusted instead of creating a new model.
- Reusing company assets: Improved IoT information will help a company determine whether it needs a new product by looking at the condition of the assets and use history.
IoT and AI
The combination of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and IoT can cause industries, businesses and economies to function in different ways than either IoT or AI function on their own. The combination of AI and IoT creates machines that have smart behaviors and supports strong decision-making processes.
While IoT deals with devices interacting through the internet, AI works with Machine Learning (ML) to help devices learn from their data.
AI IoT succeeds in the following implementations:
- Managing, analyzing, and obtaining helpful insights from customer data
- Offering quick and accurate analysis
- Adding personalization with data privacy
- Providing assistance to use security against cyber attacks
More Use of IoT in Industries
Healthcare is cited as one of the top IoT industries, but many others are discovering how IoT can benefit their companies.
IoT can be used by farmers to help make informed decisions using agriculture drones to map, image, and survey their farms along with greenhouse automation, monitoring of climate conditions, and cattle monitoring.
IoT enables agriculture companies to have more control over their internal processes while lowering production risks and costs. This will reduce food waste and improve product distribution.
IoT in the energy sector can improve business performance and customer satisfaction. There are many IoT benefits for energy industry, especially in the following areas:
- Remote monitoring and managing
- Process optimization
- Workload forecasting
- Grid balancing
- Better decision-making
Banks and customers have become familiar with managing transactions through many connected devices. Because the amount of data transferred and collected is extensive, financial businesses now have the ability to measure risk accurately using IoT.
Banks will start using sensors and data analytics to collect information about customers and offer personalized services based on their activity patterns. Banks will then better understand how their customers handle their money.
Manufacturing organizations gather data at most stages of the manufacturing process, from product and process assistance through planning, assembly and maintenance.
The IoT applications in the manufacturing industry include:
- Production monitoring: With IoT services’ ability to monitor data patterns, IoT monitoring provides optimization, waste reduction and less mundane work in process inventory.
- Remote equipment management: Remote work has grown in popularity, and IoT services allow tracking and maintaining of equipment’s performance.
- Maintenance notifications: IoT services help optimize machine availability by receiving maintenance notifications when necessary.
- Supply chains: IoT solutions can help manufacturing companies track vehicles and assets, improving manufacturing and supply chain efficiency.
For more industries using IoT: IoT in Smart Cities
Bottom Line: IoT Trends
IoT technology reflects current trends and reaches many areas including AI, security, healthcare, and other industries to improve their processes.
Acknowledging IoT in a business can help a company improve a company structure, and IoT will benefit a company’s infrastructure and applications.
For IoT devices: 85 Top IoT Devices