Top 6 IoT Technologies to Watch Out For


The Internet of Things (IoT) is the future. Everyday objects have been imbued with the power to connect to the Internet. Household items, from coffeemakers to washing machines, have the ability to become interconnected with other devices and networks, sending and receiving data over WiFi. Watches can connect to smartphones, track the distances we walk and our average heart rates, and can transmit that data to a lightweight app, allowing us to monitor our daily exercise habits. Personal wellbeing is just the beginning of IoT’s innumerable applications. Ubiquitous interconnectedness could feasibly assist in optimizing supply chains for large enterprises and alleviate stress on municipal governments.

The possibilities of IoT are truly endless. We can collect data from the most trivial of things to get the most monumental of results. IDC predicts that by the year 2020, IoT will generate 10% of the world’s data. We are past the era when objects were uncomplex.

Soon, everything in your home will require firmware updates and software tune-ups. The Internet of Things will soon become the way of things. As we charge forward toward a more connected future, a few specific IoT technologies emerge as critical to its development.

Here are the top 6 IoT technologies to keep an eye on.

1. Security
As everyday items become interconnected, the risk of being hacked rises. Most “smart” items have very simple hardware and software attached to them, which makes it especially difficult to layer these items with sophisticated security. Naturally, hackers will want access to the massive amount of data being produced by IoT, so the data and the device itself must be protected, which means a multi-layer approach to security must be used. Security for IoT systems is therefore one of the biggest technologies in IoT at the moment and will likely experience exponential growth in the future.

2. Analytics
The data produced by IoT is already quite large. With the right analytics software, businesses could surmise what consumers need and want with greater accuracy and efficiency. Deep offline analysis provides us with ways to optimize existing technologies, as well as improve development cycles and business decisions. Unfortunately, most of this valuable data is not properly utilized and therefore sits unrealized. Efficacious IoT analytics software is therefore in high demand.

3. Operating Systems
Operating systems we use on our computers, such as a Mac or Windows OS are far too large for smart objects. Even the lighter operating systems utilized by smartphones and tablets would prove too heavy for a smart door lock or lightswitch. Due to the varied needs of these smart machines, a plethora of minimal IoT operating systems, with the ability to load complex security software without requiring expensive hardware, must continue to be developed and refined.

4. Processors
Processors dictate computing power. If you are using a laptop or desktop computer to view this article, it is more than likely that your computer has multiple high-powered processors. Unfortunately, it simply isn’t cost effective to equip quad-core processors to household smart objects. Processors specifically designed for IoT are varied and their design depends on a multitude of factors, such as the desired security capabilities and power consumption. Architects and engineers are working tirelessly to create innovative solutions for processors designed for IoT.

5. Platforms
For IoT devices to communicate properly, platforms that can handle differing operating systems and architectures must be used. IoT platforms can bundle diverse components into one package. They have to handle billions of messages as they connect devices and collate their data. When made properly, IoT platforms can act as a holistic solution to enterprise IT.

6. Cognitive IoT (CIoT)
Forward-thinking companies are working on making our smart devices even smarter. Cognitive computing, whereby machines use data mining and pattern recognition to self-learn and self-improve, is currently being applied to IoT. Cognitive computing can create thinking, reasoning devices through the power of machine learning. As IBM states on their webpage explaining CIoT, “Cognitive IoT is the next leap in improving the accuracy and efficiency of complex, sensor-driven systems through learning and infusing more human awareness into the devices and environments we interact with. This leap can make our things understand and interact with us in our language(s) instead of the other way around.”

The Internet of Things is already revolutionizing how we interact with our homes. Soon, it may affect how we interact with our cities, how business interact with their consumers and how enterprises interact with each other. As our objects become interconnected, our need for greater security and analytics deepens. As powerful processors become commoditized, we’ll need more complex IoT operating systems, which will require robust platforms to allow these varied systems to communicate. Managing such a gigantic pool of devices and data will most certainly require self-repairing, self-learning machinery, which will lead to a surge in the interest for Cognitive IoT. These technologies are hurtling IoT into the future. Inventive engineers will most certainly take the Internet of Things into its next step, connecting people to their devices, and the past to the future.

About the Author: Lisa Froelings is a productivity consultant with over 4 years of experience in human resources working for a major retailer in the US before she decided to build her own small business. Her interests include technology, user experience as well as time management. You may connect with her on Twitter.

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