23 Dec IoT Trends for 2016. Everything connected everywhere
More than 500 million devices will be added to the expanding IoT during 2016, an outstanding 39% growth regarding 2015.
To understand how the Internet of Things will absorb such an acute increase it is important to distinguish five separate tech hubs where the Internet of Things takes place: Cities, Vehicles, Homes, Retail Spaces and Personal Technology. Each setting adopts a different strategy to undertake new connected devices.
1. Open Ecosystems, boosting the development of Smart Cities
Smart Cities are the powerhouse of the IoT, within which all the other technology settings usually take place. All successful Smart Cities tend to have three aspects in common: non-partisan long-term objectives, combined Public and Private effort, and open data based on open standards.
Successful open ecosystems rely on cost-effective cloud-based open infrastructures that are becoming the chosen solutions in many regions that are already either working or experimenting with these platforms.
To ensure Smart City development to be deployed in an ordered manner, local government are attracting major technological partners through funding to put in place best-in-class Smart City services and achieve that long-term success that is key in this setting.
2. Vehicles. Shifting driver behaviour
With 70 million more connected vehicles (between aftermarket and OEM solutions) hitting the road in 2016, and a 10% year-on-year increase expected over the following three years, companies are seeking to find interoperable standards that allow the industry to grow robustly and at the steady pace expected. The emergence of self-driving cars is delivering proof-of-concept units at a steady rhythm and it is no surprise that countries are scrambling to legislate accordingly for a market that is expected to change the way we use vehicles. Meanwhile in the established present, technological innovation is already impacting our behaviour as drivers and modifying transport both individually (connected cars) and collectively (fleet management) creating a new paradigm of what information we produce and is available when we drive.
3. Homes. Smart Meters connect homes to the Smart Grids
One of the biggest transformations in the IoT is the massive deployment of Smart Meters which normally takes place in the endpoint (houses and businesses). The dividing line between traditional industries becomes blurrier than ever. Utilities and CSPs have recently found natural synergies connecting the Smart City to the Smart Grid through Smart Meters. These symbiotic partnerships are sure to grow and benefit throughout the whole value chain.
4. Retail Spaces. Connected Retail is here
Daily activities like shopping will also be transformed by IoT driven retail endpoints that unveil new markets for advertising, creating the best shopping experience possible through digital signage to offer customers exactly what they need. We will be seeing real world examples in 2016 that are aimed at revolutionising consumer behaviour.
5. Personal Technology. The Health Revolution is in all of us
Personal Technology has traditionally been related to communication through Smartphones and Consumer Electronics (wearables). Expect the scope of application to go beyond simple personal tracking of wellness. As mobile healthcare goes global, Big Data, next-generation wearables and in many cases even smartphones, are IoT vitamins for the connected health industry. The eHealth revolution is not only taking place at medical centres as might be expected, but also at homes thanks to the wearables and new biomedical devices.
Smart Homes offer new possibilities for health, using a wide range of new mobile devices to provide eHealth services in various forms (remote monitoring for chronic patients, telecare for elderly, virtual consultation with doctors, medication compliance, etc.) in order to turn our homes into primary connected health care points shifting the usual place to receive health assistance.
Besides these mentioned sites, there are also certain technologies, either spawned by the Internet of Things or greatly reinforced by it that affect these settings in several ways. We want to highlight four of these major game-changers: New Connectivity Technologies (LPWA), Big Data, Security technology and Innovation-Startups in order to analyse how their fields of application tend to jump from setting to setting wherever there is a possible new use.
6. New connectivity technologies (LPWA). Connecting the IoT
The expansive Internet of Things requires efficient communication systems to connect the increasing number of devices. Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWA) technology, among others, are expected to become that revolutionary connectivity boost we point out in our recent Whitepaper The Response of CSPs to the IoT Burst, as it is specifically designed for the Internet of Things, and ready to handle the growing surge of connected things. Its purpose is not to substitute existing cellular connections but to complement current technology, closing a gap in the short term.
The need for more affordable connection costs, with optimized energy consumption will be the two factors that will have a domino effect on ensuring wide availability of LPWA networks soon. These networks are already taking centre stage and are expected to become dominant – at least in number of connected units – by 2023. By then, LPWA very likely will be part of the future 5G. Expect a growth in deployment rates with all major MNOs striking regional alliances to remain or become dominant in the IoT connectivity arena through partnerships with IoT disruptive companies, mainly startups.
7. Big Data. Tapping into the full potential of the IoT
For the Internet of Things to fully develop its potential, processes have to make a better use of Big Data. Closing this gap is especially important in settings where information is as crucial as devices. In the Connected Workplace, automation of most productive processes can be streamlined putting data warehouses to good use. Business Intelligence is not only crucial in companies and factories but in all the settings we previously described. Connected Cars, Smart Cities, Smart Homes or people also produce growing amounts of information that requires adequate allocation and processing.
The number of connected devices in 2020 is estimated to reach the 50 billion milestone. All those devices will generate data. The only way to take full advantage of the benefits the IoT brings is to consider this Big Data a fundamental part of the Internet of Things.
8. Security. A pressing need for everyone, everywhere
Security is a global challenge for everyone at every scale. 2016 must be a year of stepping up to the growing threats in every aspect of the IoT. One of the biggest pitfalls in designing technology is considering security an add-on layer to complement devices and ‘make’ them secure. A holistic solution to protect every layer involved in our IoT infrastructure – for example, m2m connectivity – is required.
IoT designs (for every setting), need to reconsider security as the crucial process it is from the very start to overcome many of the current vulnerabilities. The only way of building trust for all players, including of course end users and interdependent systems, is to continue developing strategies to fight cybercrime which is getting more sophisticated and innovative than ever.
9. Innovation Startups. Better connectivity at a lower cost
Finally, we highlight innovation as the spark that many times makes change possible. The Internet of Things is pushed forward by Startups that work as a catalysing agent in the interaction between Internet of Things technologies we mentioned before and untapped areas of life or businesses that we previously categorized in five settings. These lightweight organizations have the key that unlock the full potential and allow the aforementioned IoT technology-IoT setting interactions to take place.
The main hurdle for these toddler companies is to overcome the cost/benefit factor. Great technological ideas are only the first step. Successful startups need to transform those ideas into cost effective digitization that adds value to the business chain.