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Broadband’s leap and IoT’s revised roadmap among 2021 predictions

I don’t know about you, but 2020 turned out a lot different than I expected. COVID-19 changed some predictions in the IoT market, forcing many of us to modify our plans completely — both on a personal and corporate level. For me, it was the rate of change in our industry switching from evolutionary to revolutionary. Many trends accelerated in the digital world, and I believe the new normal is here to stay.

In terms of IoT and broadband, the pandemic has allowed us to take a fresh look at both industries. I believe this will make for an exciting year to come, and here are some of my predictions for 2021.

Select industries will embrace the use of IoT to battle COVID-19

While 2020 didn’t quite bring the IoT revolution some expected, there is no denying COVID-19 dramatically accelerated its adoption in several industries. While constrained budgets may cause a continued delay in IoT implementation in areas such as hospitality and brick-and-mortar stores,  healthcare and manufacturing will digitize their physical environments due to necessity. Examples include employing 5G-enabled robots to greet guests in hospitals or to safely check product lines in factories.

I believe AI will play a critical role in this digital shift in 2021, transforming information gathered via IoT sensor signals in physical environments into insights. This will help us inch closer to a connectivity revolution, and the data will give us better predictions of what may happen in the future and optimize experiences depending on proposed outcomes. This is where I expect IoT will begin changing our society.

This physical-to-digital transformation rests on the shoulders of the communication service provider (CSP). Unlike pure digital plays or data centers where servers are deployed physically or remotely in one location, IoT requires the actual physical implementation of sensors across vast and often challenging areas. CSPs can play a critical role in deploying sensors and taking these solutions to market with enterprises that are ready to make the shift.

A required change to the broadband and IoT experiences

In my professional opinion, COVID-19 has propelled our in-home expectations forward by five years. With that, 2021 will advance how broadband and IoT devices in the home are managed in this new environment. We’ll see broadband demands rise even further as heavy usage of high-bandwidth activities all battle for the home network’s attention as our personal and work lives continue to blend.

Amdocs research found that 37% of consumers experienced remote work early on in the pandemic, 18% tried online gaming and 25% used eLearning solutions. I expect these numbers have further skyrocketed with schools offering hybrid schedules, cloud gaming becoming a console staple and many offices worldwide remaining closed.

Beyond this, I believe we’ll also see enterprises investigate new areas, such as connected devices that guarantee the bandwidth, security and functionality employees need to work effectively. As consumers use more connected devices for longer periods, IoT developers and connectivity providers will seize these opportunities.

Broadband connectivity will evolve to manage connected hardware and related mobile software applications more efficiently. This will be accompanied by better intelligent monitoring, leading to an improved understanding of the quality of experience. IoT developers have a role to play here, ensuring service providers can integrate their software within this experience.

COVID-19 may have thrown off a year that could have been IoT’s big breakthrough. While some industries have slowed their implementation of IoT, other sectors and the in-home connectivity explosion will provide clear opportunities over the coming 12 months. It’ll be interesting to see whether CSPs and IoT developers get a jump on the competition by realizing this sooner rather than later.

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

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