This article is something you will rarely see — an author’s frank look back at annual predictions to see how they did. Last year at this time, IoT was anticipated to be a storm in 2018. Well, the trend in IoT continues, but rather than a rapid, intense storm, it turns out to be a continuous trend. Certainly, IoT remains a major driver in the marketplace. However, while new products and services continue to roll out under the banner of IoT, it is more of a steady drum beat than an all-out assault.
Here are a few of the trends anticipated last year and the current state.
The prediction: Blockchain would lead in major breakthroughs in enhanced security in a broad way.
Reality: Certainly, blockchain is starting to appear in new products and services. Many of these applications are addressing specific niches. In reality, it has not been a major wave as companies are trying to sort out the hype versus reality and to determine ways to implement radically enhanced and differentiated security.
Prognosis: For the year ahead, this remains very much a hot button, especially in certain key markets including those involving financial and healthcare data. Expect to see an evolutionary rollout of blockchain-based security in 2019. Ubiquitous deployments likely remain a few years away as the technology and general know-how expands.
The prediction: Dramatic growth was anticipated, aided by cloud-based technologies which, in turn, would help minimize time and expense for development of complex systems involving data aggregation, analytics and the driving of action-based responses.
Reality: While the growth is not exactly dramatic, it is continuous and relentless. If not already implemented, virtually all industrial processes either have early stage IoT deployments or such deployments are moving from the planning stage to the real world.
Prognosis: Industry is still in the early stages of IoT deployment. While many systems in place are early stage and somewhat simplistic relative to what can ultimately be achieved, industrial IoT will continue to expand and the value of these technologies will continue to be enhanced through increased data acquisition, analytics and control.
The prediction: It was anticipated that the major cellular carriers would have numerous, readily available plans rolled out to reduce the cost of high reliability/low cost for low data rate IoT applications.
Reality: At this point, virtually all the major carriers have developed plans to address the low cost/low data rate problem for widespread device deployment. Some carriers have institutionalized plans and development platforms to help enable such applications. However, the plans are evolving rapidly and the carriers are struggling with the offering of coherent plans in balancing cost, data and numbers of units deployed. The good news from 2018 is that the carriers are more than listening and generally open to customizing plans.
Prognosis: As more deployments roll out, in 2019 expect carriers to be offering more rational and well-developed plans for IoT deployment. They are gaining more experience in understanding what customers want and what the market will bear. This is leading to rationalized, “right sized” offerings.
The prediction: New products will continue to evolve with improved, more jewelry-like aesthetics.
Reality: Indeed, the latest round of products is increasingly delivering more watch-like user experiences with a higher level of attention paid to the appearance and ergonomics. Technology is still evolving, but nothing groundbreaking.
Prognosis: The category will continue to evolve, but there are no earth-shattering breakthroughs on the horizon. Expect to see increased focus on the fringe demographics, particularly as it relates to wellness monitoring and monitoring of the health and well-being of the elderly or those with impairments impacting daily living. Expect the definition of “wearable” to start moving from worn on the wrist to other places on the body, especially for monitoring of health.
We will continue to see the rollout of IoT into consumer, commercial, health and industrial markets. This trend is going to be more evolutionary than revolutionary in 2019 and beyond. The need and desire for IoT-related products and services will continue to grow, but it is no longer front-page news. It is a fact of life.
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