7 Ways the IoT Will Work Smarter, Not Harder, in 2017

By Special Guest
Arup Barat, Chief Commercial Officer at infiswift
February 13, 2017

Though the Internet of Things (IoT) has been in its infancy until recently, but we’ve already seen its potential to disrupt traditional industries, transform our homes and improve aspects of our daily lives. Now that it has a solid foundation, 2017 is set to be the year that the industry matures. Looking ahead, we can expect to see the benefits of more refined IoT solutions. In this article, we’ll look at some of the top trends that are sure to enhance the IoT industry in the coming year.

  1. Vast growth – for better and for worse: Not counting phones, tablets and computers, there’s an estimated 6.4-9 billion IoT devices in the world today. We expect there to be between 9-15 billion devices in 2017. It’s becoming clear across several industries that IoT solutions provide better insight into operations as businesses are pressed to generate more productivity from less. Competition amongst new startups and early adopters is causing more companies across industries to adopt IoT. One downside to this widespread adoption is solving IoT security issues, which are complex and costly to deal with.
  2. Security is still a massive concern on everyone’s radar: We finally began to take IoT security seriously in 2016 after what feels like too many high-profile breaches. The first DDoS attack that was widely and publicly attributed to the IoT made it clear that governments, manufacturers and consumers need to increase efforts around security. Manufacturers and developers need to be held responsible for their products’ security. To do this, governments will likely enforce policies that require security rating labeling on consumer products or develop a common security framework and approach to assess cybersecurity in IoT systems. While there have been steps taken to improve IoT security, countless vulnerabilities still exist. In 2017, we expect there to be more high-profile DDoS and privacy attacks despite a greater focus and innovative solutions for this high-profile problem.
  3. Open and interoperable solutions take the lead: With so many IoT products from different manufacturers available, everyone wants to be able to control all of their connected devices with one app rather than many. Both consumers and enterprises understand that the ultimate value of IoT solutions is primarily based on how it can work with any new or existing device in the future. The value of interoperability is estimated at $4 trillion according to McKinsey. Stakeholders will increasingly focus on open and interoperable solutions as a key value proposition and benefit to unlock the true value of IoT in 2017.
  4. Corporate battles over IoT increase: To date, most innovation in IoT has been fueled by startups, though we’re certain that the big tech players won’t stand to be left out any longer. Given the sheer number of connected users, IoT has become extremely valuable and worthy of intense competition in the eyes of the big tech players. Apple, Intel, Amazon, GE and other tech giants are fighting their way to the top with sizable acquisitions, investments, internal innovation groups and more. The market is anticipated to be larger than the mobile boom, so it’s obvious why we’re seeing so much interest and activity in the space. We can expect to see even more mergers, acquisitions and partnerships surface as the industry continues to consolidate.
  5. IoT certifications become a point of differentiation: In order to influence the market to evolve, industry organizations and leading vendors will offer certifications based on where they’d like the market to shift its focus. This may lead to some becoming industry standards and serving as a requirement. In order for the market to continue growing, devices and systems need to seamless work together, which requires overcoming interoperability obstacles. Currently, the lack of standards and interoperability has hindered the industry’s growth. UL and CE stamps are common on many devices and electronics now, and we foresee IoT certifications being as influential in the future.
  6. Vertical markets will create their own IoT standards: Each industry involved in IoT has a different purpose and will benefit from a different architecture for their IoT solutions. As industries mature and settle on necessary protocols, hardware and more, they’ll be able to better define their specific standard. In agriculture, for example, there’s value in long-distance connectivity and more edge operation, as opposed to a smart home, which works with shorter distances and can rely more on the cloud. Each industry is unique in its needs and will be able to define their specific standard in order to fast track innovation.
  7. Less consumer, more enterprise:  Though flashy smart home products have driven most of the buzz around IoT products, we’re expecting to see a greater focus on monetization of large-scale IoT solutions for businesses. This is where the real value lies. For example, implementing an IoT solution to automate a process that saves an enterprise even 1 percent can equate to billions of dollars. Currently, however, IoT solutions are one-offs, like a device that monitors a tractor. The true value for a large agri-business is linking that tracker with the rest of a farm supply chain. This type of integrated IoT solution is poised to deliver greatly improved technology advances to the enterprise market that result in a positive return on investment (ROI).

The IoT industry’s growing maturity is a natural progression that will eventually lead to its success on a larger scale. Though we may see certain trends come to fruition sooner than others, we’re confident in the immense value IoT can provide moving forward.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

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