Brian Buntz, content director at Penton’s IoT Institute, interviewed several industry leaders to get an idea of where IoT is headed in 2017. Here are his top eight predictions
1. IoT Gets Smarter
Although the Industrial Iot (IIoT) is more advanced than the consumer side of IoT, applications for both tend to use unimpressive, relatively “dumb” computing power. That will change in the upcoming year as companies start using high-power computing in their applications, like the quad-core microprocessors in Videojet’s industrial printers. There will also be a move to more connectivity with either a low-power, long-range wireless protocol (LoRa) at the low end or 60-GHz wireless communications at the high end.
2. Data Collection Moves to the Cloud
Data collection will move to the cloud, and it probably won’t be based on SQL. There could be purpose-built collection services with the major goals being the use of AI to recognize individuals’ speech and improve machine operations.
3. Recruiting IoT Employees Will Remain a Challenge
Companies launching IoT projects, including those involving smart cities and industrial facilities, face a tough time in recruiting talent. It remains a challenge to find enough workers to secure the Internet of Things, and 45% of IoT companies struggle to find security professionals. And 30% report having difficulty finding digital marketers.
4. Companies Will Develop Common-Sense IoT Products
Companies are learning that just because something can be hooked into the internet doesn’t mean someone will buy it. In 2017, companies will turn out products that use connectivity to solve real problems, and some could be extremely successful. But they will have to learn how to be more adept in explaining to consumers how their connected products can improve their lives.
5. The IoT Market Will Expand, Despite Security Risks
Some IoT companies will be reckless when it comes to security, particularly with consumer products. More companies, however, will understand that security needs to be built into products. Still, there will be more IoT security threats and actions, but the IoT will plow on, especially on the industrial side.
6. Winning IoT Products Will Include Services
One IoT product that stands out is Amazon Echo, and that’s because it ties into Amazon to offer services such as voice recognition, streaming music, and the ability to summon an Uber.
This model is also gaining traction in the industrial realm. The German air pump manufacturer Kaeser Kompressore, for example, plans to sell “air as a service” rather than just selling and renting compressors.
In the past, most machine builders simply sold products. With the IIot, they will sell machines-as-a-service.
7. Startups Will Gain Ground
Startups are better positioned than large conglomerates to better understand what the IoT can do for consumers. And the bigger the company, the slower it is to move into new areas and new technologies. Startups will leverage this agility and insight to grab a large share of the IoT market.
8. Standards Remain Up in the Air
The lack of IoT standards is similar to challenges that have stymied the healthcare industry for years. A recent survey revealed that only 6% of hospitals had a high level of interoperability, according to research from KLAS. In the IoT, no one is responsible for the cost savings consumers and businesses would get with standards, and companies are more concerned with protecting market share than pushing for a universal set of standards.