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IoT Industry Predictions for 2019

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As 2018 wraps, everyone in the IoT is getting focused on the possibilities for the industry coming in 2019. A few folks have sent in their predictions and expectations for trends that will develop or mature in 2019 and we’d like to share them with you below.

Of course, all of you should register now for the upcoming IoT Evolution Expo, which will run January 29 to February 1 and will look at many developing IoT trends in depth.

Marcia E. Walker, Principal Industry Consultant for Manufacturing, SAS
The myth and reality of IoT. The hype surrounding IoT platforms has received a dose of reality as producers and users recognized the complexity of knitting together disparate systems and monetizing offerings. IoT platforms will still make a strong play in the market even though their growth and adoption has been more complicated than anticipated. Commercialization of those platforms is progressing at a slower rate than expected because vendors and customers are presently more focused on testing, security, and other important foundational aspects of IoT technology.

Increased literacy about big data and analytics. A disappointment in 2018 was that many companies claimed to offer artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning capabilities when, in fact, they offered only simple dashboards and entry-level statistics. As data continues to permeate daily life and digital literacy grows, an understanding of analytics will naturally grow, too. In coming years more non-tech personnel will be able to speak competently and evaluate solutions that include AI features like neural networks, deep learning, computer vision and natural language processing.

Gianfranco Lanci, President and COO, Lenovo
IoT connectivity, the proliferation of point-of-sale devices and the sophisticated analysis of customer data are enabling businesses to enhance consumers’ retail experiences through personalized interactions and reductions in sales friction. Take, for example, Nike’s new retail experiment in NYC: Consumers don’t even have to interact with a physical human anymore. These new retail experiences ultimately lead to increased customer satisfaction, brand loyalty and overall sales, among other benefits.

Dermot O’Shea, CEO, Taoglas
Vendors will begin to see their perseverance in IoT pay off. Vendors that have been around since the early days of IoT are finally beginning to make hay, and 2019 is when we’ll see the real growth in the market that has been forecasted for years. The reason? Many industries are beginning to finally see scale in their IoT applications, and new applications are popping up with scale that no one forecasted. While 10,000 units of an IoT antenna used to be a big order, 100,000-unit orders are now common.

Electric scooters will rise as a mode of last-mile transportation, which wasn’t even a thing three years ago, now number in the hundreds of thousands—soon to be millions—across the world. Street lighting, electricity meters, and other utility and smart city applications will also see exponential growth in 2019. The IoT tsunami that was predicted for the latter half of the 2010s never materialized, but instead, a series of small waves will increase IoT deployment numbers dramatically.

Everybody knows what IoT is. In every earnings call and research report, IoT is mentioned and businesses in all sectors realize the benefits it can bring. If they are not using it as a competitive advantage, they are scrambling to catch up with their competitors in order to implement it. Companies that work on construction sites, hospitals, oil wells and anywhere there are assets are realizing that they can save money and increase efficiency across their supply chain with IoT. It is easy and cheaper than ever before, and it appears on prime-time TV ads and newspaper articles on a daily basis.

China will continue to lead in sheer volume of new IoT deployments. China is where the United States was five to six years ago in terms of IoT, with the same use cases being deployed, such as telematics, connected medical devices and sports trackers. What’s different is the volume, which is five to 10 times what we saw for the same devices in the U.S. China will make up that five-year difference in marketplace adoption of IoT in just a year or two; by the end of 2019, they may surpass the U.S. in the number of IoT devices connected. New IoT companies are springing up in China every day, and several global IoT providers, including Taoglas, have opened or will open shop there as well.

Chris Penrose, president of IoT solutions, AT&T
The data sharing economy will continue to gain momentum.

Beyond the consumer sharing economy of things like houses, cars and scooters, more and more businesses will look to share valuable data. Companies will be in an environment that allows partners, vendors, manufacturers and other third parties to share data and insights from disparate information sources in a trusted and highly-secure manner. Data sharing and advanced analytics will be key to maximizing the value of IoT.

IoT and AI will converge to spawn digital twins of assets and processes.

Low-cost sensors, AI and 5G networks will allow customers to create virtual, software-based replicas of their physical devices and processes. That means that users, manufacturers, and designers can receive near real-time insights and take action without ever being near their assets. Digital twins of things like vehicles, cities and manufacturing facilities will drive a new wave of operational efficiencies and revenue streams. They will also help engineers validate the design of a product at several points during its lifecycle.

Jason Soroko, CTO of IoT, and Damon Kachur, VP of IoT, of Sectigo
It is important to consider the role of certificates in a world of connected devices. From an end user perspective, the slow uptake of security in IoT devices has prompted governments to regulate. Nations (and more U.S. states) will follow California’s lead and enact legislation requiring security for IoT networks. This is particularly important for healthcare, transportation, energy, and manufacturing sectors, which face the highest risk. The legislation stops short of prescribing strong forms of authentication — but thankfully, consortium groups such as the Open Connectivity Foundation and AeroMACS have championed the use of strong certificate-based authentication in their best practice standards for IoT.

The attack vectors and threat actors to the IoT are constantly evolving, warranting best-practice device provisioning and the ability to quickly and proactively manage current cryptographic algorithms with those that will supersede them in the future. This will be vital within the lifespan of the devices being deployed to customers.

The pace of IoT innovation will continue to accelerate, and the pressure on vendors to get their products to market will only increase. Unfortunately, some developers and manufacturers of new connected devices underestimate the necessity of properly securing these devices. We have seen governments use legislative tools to regulate and guide IoT security, but the vendors must take measures to properly mitigate the risk. We can only hope that there is an uptake in the adoption of strong IoT security technologies and that it won’t require a major catastrophe to precipitate action.

There is a commonality in IoT security weakness, and that is the lack of strong authentication. The Mirai botnet works because of how easy it is for attackers to guess a static username/password or steal a token credential. You may see the word ‘security’ on the tin of an IoT product, but check again. Is that device using weak authentication? There are much stronger forms of security offered by cryptographic based digital identities. IoT consortiums such as Open Connectivity Foundation and AeroMACS are forward thinking and are writing the need for strong authentication into their standards. Although PKI technology has in the past had a reputation for being expensive and slow to implement, some of today’s PKI vendors have come a long way. IoT device vendors and standards bodies see PKI in a new light as they realize that the technology is capable of addressing many of the most pressing security issues faced by IoT developers today.

5G mobile networks are on the horizon and this is exciting, but it’s important to keep in mind that these new networks will bring with them a host of new security concerns. 5G will spur further growth of internet-connected devices—Ericsson already estimates that there could be 3.5 billion IoT-enabled devices by 2023—providing would-be intruders with new endpoints to attack. Security for 5G is still evolving with the standard, and it is complex enough that security will require several layers. 5G networks can be split into uniquely purposed slices, each virtual network slice could demand unique security capabilities. Developers will need to consult IoT security professionals to help identify new ways to shore up the network.

Mike Monteith, CEO, Franco Castaldini, Chief Commercial Officer, ThoughtWire
Being able to analyze data and translate it into meaningful insights remains a challenge for all levels of government and organizations. While data can now be better managed through analytical tools and technologies, ensuring the quality of data is accurate is another issue. In addition, the lack of data sharing agreements and inadequate data governance structures prevent meaningful use and organization of these insights. Despite data privacy and security concerns, data and analytics provides important opportunities for quality improvement, understanding population health, research, health system planning and management.

2019 will be a year of experimentation for smart spaces.

Work has been evolving in recent years. The focus of smart spaces will be to accommodate a new way of working, with more remote work, digitally enabled work and flexible work. Workers need spaces that can adapt to their ever changing priorities and needs. 2019 will continue to be a phase of experimentation as the tech giants of silicon valley lead the charge and discover what “smart” applications works and what may fall flat. Owners and operators will learn from these technology companies and adapt what works to a variety of tenants, not all of which are tech savvy, exploring the “smart” applications which drive adoption and ease of use with employees and give operators greater visibility in to operations.

Additionally, property owners will leverage use cases for preventing equipment failures and costly system replacements, responding to emergency events and automating routine workflows to mitigate initial technology investment costs.

With IoT Platforms squarely in the trough of disillusionment the next five years will need to show solid, easy to understand case studies that demonstrate the value of IoT. Over the next five years organizations are going to focus on data and outcomes enabled by IoT platforms and that focus will drive real results. Commercial real estate will reach large scale implementation of IoT applications that automate some tasks first, ahead of healthcare due its highly regulated nature. Harbor Research has noted four critical needs for IoT platforms as they evolve in 2019 and beyond, including:

  • Enablement of real-time temporal, spatial and state-based contextual processing
  • Providing tools for development of real-time, stateful applications
  • Simultaneous and asynchronous action on any type of information from any device, storage or streaming source
  • Configurable software platform architecture enabling both peer-to-peer and client-server distribution of services

The IoT Evolution Expo, and collocated events, IoT Evolution Health, LPWAN Expo, The Smart City Event, and IIoT Conference, will take place Jan. 29 to Feb 1 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Visit IoTEvolutionExpo.com to register now.

Editorial Director

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