The Internet of Things (IoT) market has come a long way and matured considerably over the past year. It’s a great achievement because businesses were just starting to learn about this technology and speculating about its benefits just two years ago.
In 2016, enterprises really started to understand the benefits of IoT and this year IoT scaled without the knowledge of most of the workforce. According to Forester Research, this technology will essentially provide the foundation to build future customer value.
As a result, in 2018, we will probably see IoT move to the edge and grow more prominent along with specialized IoT platforms. While security will continue to be a major concern across industries, it’s not expected to impact IoT adoption.
To get a sense of what’s really in store for the IoT market in 2018, let’s take a look at the top five trends and predictions for the new year.
1. New European Guidelines Will Drive the Commercialization of IoT Data
According to Forester, about 45% of US-based enterprises that make decisions based on data and analytics are already commercializing their data. But across the pond, the numbers are much lower with only 38% of German companies and 35% of French enterprises currently doing the same.
This lag between the two continents hasn’t gone unnoticed. In 2018, the European Commission is expected to issue new guidelines to encourage the use of advanced technology to boost the data economy.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) slowed things down in this space in 2017, but the European data economy directive is now expected to promote the exchange of data and insights.
2. The Deployment of Edge Solutions Will Be Accelerated by Key Use Cases
Business processes supported by IoT mostly occur in the cloud or in on-premises data centers. But that’s about to change as businesses demand the deployment of business processes requiring local data analysis close to the source that enables these processes.
These smart devices on the edge can act locally based on the data that they generate and only leverage the cloud for the following:
For the most part, the impact of IoT on businesses will depend on the insights that can be derived from analytics and the business outcomes that can be achieved. These outcomes can be divided into three categories with each one having their own set of use cases:
- Consumer use cases to leverage third-party connected data to supplement enterprise offerings
- Design use cases to develop better-connected offerings to enhance customer engagement
- Operation use cases to create new efficiencies, improved business processes, and enhanced customer experiences
3. 2018 Won’t Be the Year of Blockchain-Based IoT
The new year will see mobile phones surpassed in number by IoT devices. At the end of last year, there were approximately 400 million IoT devices with cellular connections, by 2022 that number is expected to rise to 18 billion.
Blockchain-based IoT adoption is predicted to rise to 5%, but it’s far from ready for large-scale deployments. This is because we still haven’t come up with the right formula that can ensure seamless integration (with the existing technology), reliability, and stability.
4. Healthcare IoT Will Be a Huge Target for Attacks in 2018
According to Kaspersky Lab, the healthcare industry will be significantly vulnerable to attacks in the new year. As the industry strives to get better connected by incorporating more smart devices into their infrastructure, they will also need to find innovative ways to keep it protected.
These attacks are expected to target medical equipment for extortion and malicious disruption. There will also be more attacks focused on stealing patient data.
The WannaCry ransomware attack showed us how easy it was to bring the industry down to its knees, so it’s quite disconcerting to expect more of the same in 2018.
5. The End of 3G-Driven IoT Deployments
At present, cellular connectivity is a popular option for agricultural and industrial IoT deployments. But next year, these smart devices will stop relying on 3G connectivity and transition to technologies like Cat-M1 and 5G.
According to the Ericsson Mobility Report, LTE will be a dominant force in all IoT deployments, reaching 5.5 billion subscriptions by the end of 2023. So it’s safe to conclude that IoT implementations in the new year will be increasingly LTE-based and 2018 will be the year that Cat-M1 gets to scale.