The global business world continued to introduce, improve and build upon technologies, applications and platforms in 2017. We saw many innovations that possess the ability to connect to the internet of things enter the market. And others that already carried IoT functionality switched on for the first time. Over the next year, I see the technology world continuing to build next-generation systems with IoT capabilities and functionality. I do, however, think predictions about the global scaling of IoT and its real-world usage will continue to be overblown.
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Here are my three key megatrends to watch for over the next year of IoT.
IoT will contribute to workplace productivity
Global enterprises will increasingly turn to data generated from IoT to look internally and improve their respective performances at the technology, output and staff levels. Specifically, executives and human resources teams will use collected data from campus sensors and employee badges to monitor, assess and change staff operations in 2018. Using IoT-connected technologies to gauge employee efficiency will extend to industries that fly under the IoT radar, such as accounting or wealth management. It will lead to companies using outcomes from the collected IoT data to adjust workplace operations in the name of productivity.
IoT will connect to other emerging technologies in the name of data
Data is at the core of global innovation today. The Economist classified it as the world’s most valuable resource, replacing oil. Companies want to build technologies that deliver accurate data to leadership, staff, partners, vendors and customers. Most enterprises also want to collect accurate data about customers in order to better market offerings and build lasting relationships. Once they have that data, they want to use business intelligence platforms, analytics software and other technologies to better optimize it. The public sector, for its part, wants accurate data to provide industry governance, citizen services and improve internal operations.
In 2018, enterprises and agencies that invest more in technologies like AI, blockchain, virtual and augmented reality, cloud and mobile will improve the collection, analysis and delivery of data. IoT will provide an additional enterprise outlet for data optimization. Indeed, interoperability and connectivity between IoT and these next-generation technologies will provide competitive advantages and customer experiences throughout 2018.
IoT will be tested on a global scale
The private sector will pursue data analytics, cloud infrastructure platforms and standalone technologies to make the most of IoT over the next year. In practice for both sectors, this will materialize as a network of sensors on vehicles, proprietary field assets and remote locations funneling actionable information back to a physical office where people can review outcomes. Federal and local governments, for their part, will join technology giants in pursuit of potential real-world applications of IoT in 2018. For the global public sector, IoT will still be a moonshot pursuit, but its utility will become clearer — especially for infrastructure, citizen data and emergency response.
By the end of the year, I believe enterprises and governments pursuing IoT R&D initiatives will have a clearer idea of what works and what doesn’t with IoT.
IoT in 2018 (and beyond)
Over the next year, I see IoT playing a supporting or complementary role to increased workplace connectivity based mostly on enterprise budget, ambitions and sector relevance. Organizations across sectors will tap into IoT to conduct regular business, manage talent and boost productivity. I believe even the public sector will begin to explore IoT research and development in 2018. While we must be realistic about the short-term needs of businesses, without question, IoT will emerge as a viable resource for collecting and mobilizing data across industries and geographies this year.
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