If 2016 was the year that the world got to know the internet of things for good and bad, 2017 will be the year that we begin to see benefits of more refined IoT solutions. While there’s a lot going on behind the scenes, we at infiswift see the goal of IoT as using connectivity to make things more efficient. In this article I’ll look at some of the trends that we expect to boost and hamper IoT actually making things work better.
1. Security will continue to be a high profile issue: This has to be one of the hottest topics of this past year and it’ll surely continue to be in the spotlight. Given the recent DDoS attacks, governments, manufacturers and consumers around the world will start to step up efforts to improve security. This includes light regulation from governments and best practices from industry groups with the goal to hold manufacturers and developers responsible for their products’ impact on the internet. Despite improvements in this area, there’s just too much vulnerability out there and we should all expect a few more complex high-profile attacks in 2017, whether they be more DDoS or privacy attacks.
2. Processing will truly move to the edge opening up new opportunities: Edge devices and processing will continue to ride the tsunami of momentum getting much more power efficient and cost effective. Moore’s Law will continue as hardware and software work in greater unison, opening up more IoT applications for more industries at cost-effective price points. Better edge devices will enable a hybrid cloud/local infrastructure in 2017 for remote applications like agriculture and energy. As IoT solutions continue to evolve, certain industries will move to full edge operation in about five years.
3. Growth, big growth: Not counting phones, tablets and computers as IoT devices, there’s somewhere between Gartner’s 6.4 and IDC’s nine billion devices in the world today. We think that will grow to nine to 15 billion in 2017 (and we’ve all heard the 50 billion estimate from Cisco that seems to have been pared back to around 20 to 30 billion but still equates to huge growth). With this growth, however, the complexity and cost to address and resolve security issues identified in point one only increases.
4. Corporate battles over IoT will increase in size and scope: There will be even more mergers, acquisitions and partnerships as the industry begins to consolidate. Metcalfe’s Law tells us that value is proportional to the square of the number of connected users, making IoT networks very This is why we’ll see so much interest and activity from a lot of different players from network operators to tech giants to vertical industry players. Innovation may come from anywhere but one thing is certain — the big guys won’t be left out.
5. IoT platforms will become commonplace in business software landscapes: As more industry verticals look to IoT-based solutions, there will be increasing demand for IoT platforms that can be readily adapted to industry-specific problems. Companies have industry-specific expertise, but are rarely equipped to navigate IoT connectivity, security and hardware considerations. A competent IoT platform partner can significantly reduce cost and risk. Research firm IoT Analytics expects IoT platforms to grow at a 33% CAGR through 2021 as indicated in its recent platform report.
6. Open and interoperable solutions will start to edge out closed ones: Consumers and enterprises are starting to understand that the flexibility and ultimate value of the solutions they develop is largely based on how it can in work with anything in the future. McKinsey pegs the value of interoperability at $4 trillion! There’s a pretty even split right now between open and closed ecosystems, but that is moving toward more openness. Most IoT value will be delivered by many systems interoperating to meet the needs of diverse stakeholders, as opposed to one killer app or platform.
7. Each market vertical will move closer toward its own standard for IoT technology: Each industry has different needs and will benefit from a different architecture based on what it’s looking to do with IoT. For example, agriculture may value long-distance connectivity and more edge operation while a smart home works with shorter distances and can rely on the cloud more. Each industry will start to mature and settle on protocols, hardware and more to define its specific standard.
All of these trends are part of the natural process of IoT maturing, which is critical for its success on a larger scale. Regardless of how quickly certain trends progress, we are highly confident in the value of IoT and the acceleration of its implementation moving forward. 2017 will be a defining year along the journey and we’re excited to see what new surprises pop up and long-term trends continue.
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