If we distance ourselves from all the hype surrounding the internet of things, we will have a well-established sphere that successfully works for businesses and consumers around the world.
Over the last couple of years, I had increasingly active experience of software development for the internet of things — from consumer products for the smart home to integrated enterprise systems for IoT. What’s most important for me as a developer, I love projects related to IoT. I love being a part of it, and so do my teammates.
I believe that the next two years will be defining for the mainstream adoption of the internet of things, and many more products and technologies will be created to facilitate businesses from a variety of spheres.
Trend #1: Growth of industry-driven IoT
The latest tech and business conferences that I attended show that IoT is seen as a part of strategies that helps businesses — or will help — face competition effectively. IoT dominated the recent CES 2018, with focus on the smart home and industrial internet of things. The expo fostered the idea that innovation, which brings changes to the sphere of industry and manufacturing, will help early adopters secure a share on the market. On the contrary, companies that overlook these changes might end up far behind competition. Big players use innovation to find new, drastically more effective ways of running facilities, caring for performance growth and human safety. What’s more, companies focus on business-driven technologies as opposed to general ideas promoted by the overall hype. They have a need to manage data in a way that’s less complex operationally.
Let’s take an example: a steelworks company that is a major player on the U.S. market. For a large factory that belongs to this company, one hour of downtime costs about $150 million and potential equipment issues may bear risks for human health. Any innovation must fully correspond with the existing processes and must not be incompatible with the overall environment. The business owner looks for ways to improve its performance, and here comes the idea: Engineers should use hands-free devices to monitor operations and gather data in real time. But how should it be done? This is where we come into play, consulting, suggesting tech stacks, implementing and delivering the system on an ongoing basis.
Trend #2: Growth of consumer IoT
According to a Gartner prediction, there will be 20.9 billion connected things by 2020. This impressive number owes much to smart home products developed and delivered to consumers. A good example of this is Cujo, a smart and stylish firewall device announced as one of the best IoT products at CES 2018.
Hardware manufacturers and their business partners shape this market. They provide consumers with highly usable, reliable, easily configurable products. Although the current market can be called rather scattered, the third trend marks a step towards unification.
Trend #3: Ever-increasing interoperability
In the near future, interoperability will revolve around key protocols and unifying standards, such as Bluetooth Low Energy, applied in a line of IoT products for the automotive industry. Creators of these standards and owners of product companies have the chance to shape the market in 2018. Meanwhile, software developers are ready to embrace new technologies and make product architecture and code flexible and easily supported. The team must be able to rapidly create or customize APIs to integrate products on the software level.
Trend #4: Evolving technologies to security issues
Business Insider says that businesses and governments will be top adopters of IoT over the next five years, and predict they will spend about $6 trillion on them. All of them will face the same issue: the vulnerabilities of connected devices.
Data security requires an integrated approach from the development company — healthcare is an obvious example of a business domain where privacy is protected legally, namely by HIPAA. Any software developer will say that security does not exist as some vague notion, and a block of project documentation must be dedicated to main identified security threats, as well as security standards and requirements that will be applied to the product.
Trend #5: Software and data remain the heart of IoT
Data can be seen, data can be retrieved. This is easy. But it is way harder to apply data for business impact, as well as to preserve its accuracy and integrity, and this is where we approach data science — yet another buzzword in the tech world. Data scientists are essential to software development companies, creating models used for predictions and facilitation of sales. At the same time, businesses receive sources of information that accelerate business decisions and corresponding actions, with all the agility and flexibility required by modern business.
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