IoT: Five forecasts for the next year

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing quickly. Very quickly. In the future, we can look forward to vast numbers of connected smart devices. However, a new study is trying to figure out what we can expect next year with regard to the quality of the ‘network of networks’.

These days, almost no technology dominates the discourse as much as the Internet of Things (IoT). Furthermore, progress in microelectronics and increased networking are helping it to grow at a rapid pace. A recent Frost & Sullivan study on “Growth Opportunities for Service Providers on the Internet of Things (IoT)” expects the number of networked IoT devices to increase from approximately 12.44 billion in 2016 to more than 45.31 billion by 2023 with an annual average growth rate of 20.3 percent. Other studies cite similar figures. According to the IDC’s forecasts, the number of smart devices will more than double by 2020 from currently 14.9 billion. At the beginning of the year, Gartner was somewhat more cautious with 8.4 billion for 2017 and 20.4 billion by 2020. To be considered an IoT device, a device must have its own IP address and be capable of being called up and controlled remotely via the Internet.

Consumers and, to a lesser extent, the industry are primarily responsible for these enormous growth rates. Amazon, Google, Apple and Co. are in a fierce race to get their foot in the door of households on the market for smart building technology, IoT for private customers and artificial intelligence. In the meantime, however, IoT applications are showing strong growth in machine manufacturing, production and the energy sector.

Still, according to the Frost study, to be successful in this extremely fragmented climate, consolidation is inevitable. Vendors and service providers would then join forces to form large IoT platforms. These would then provide the modules that are needed for the applications of smaller suppliers. Customers would profit from lower costs and added utility.

Accepted IoT platforms

The following five forecasts from Frost & Sullivan show where the IoT landscape is headed in the next 12 to 18 months:

  1. Networked devices are increasingly using cognitive (processes that make computers capable of human-like behavior) and predictive computing (possible future events are predicted on the basis of data models) and are evolving into so-called sentient tools, i.e. intelligent devices that “understand” the environment as well as the user.
  2. Artificial intelligence is being used more and more in smart devices, which means they will be able to react to changes in their surroundings without human intervention in the future.
  3. Acceptance of IoT platforms in the business world and our private lives continues to increase.
  4. The use of drones to deliver merchandize and for monitoring things like wildfires, cell towers and power lines will experience a boom.
  5. Devices with a high security risk and malware are causing an increase in cyber attacks and could make IoT a national security risk.

In closing, according to the study, there is a great need for standardization with regard to the way that data is collected, stored and communicated over various branches of industry and applications—even if it is not possible to create standards for all branches of the Internet of Things.



IoT platforms (Image: pixabay/Gerd Altmann).

Networked devices are increasingly using cognitive and predictive computing. (Image: pixabay/Gerd Altmann).