The Internet of Things (IoT) continues to see massive growth. Research by IHS technology estimates that there will be over 30 billion connected devices by 2020 and will more than double to over 75 billion connected devices by 2025.¹
With the number of connected devices increasing at record rates, new trends and use cases are quick to arise. As IoT practitioners, business users, and providers, it is crucial to stay abreast of these recent IoT trends in your industry and how they can impact the sectors you are involved in.
2018 IoT Trends
Here are the biggest and most important IoT trends that have emerged over the course of 2018.
Edge Computing is Becoming More Common
In 2018, edge computing became a common way to deal with the bandwidth issues that come up when a large volume of IoT devices all transmit data to a central location. And as bandwidth and network challenges continue to increase, we’re going to see much more of it. So much so that the IDC predicts 18 percent of all IoT budget will be spent on edge infrastructure.²
Edge computing is currently used in cameras governed by video analytics software and will likely be incorporated into more devices through the end of the year; as well as becoming more standard in IoT applications in 2019 and beyond.
Increases in Machine Learning
Machine learning is quickly becoming one of the most used forms of AI, especially in business applications. With machine learning, the large volumes of data collected by IoT devices can be processed quickly, without humans having to input detailed rules on how that data should be reviewed. It can also help enable predictive maintenance, which can reduce typical maintenance costs by up to 50 percent.³
Machine learning is already showing up in asset management data analytics, as well as in smart cities. One of the most popular – and effective – analytics applications in smart cities is for outage management systems in smart grids.
Machine learning powered predictive maintenance has the power to completely transform many industries, including for enterprises, CSPs, and cities, so you’ll likely see this trend continue and evolve as AI becomes more sophisticated.
Healthcare IoT is Becoming More Prominent
IoT has been disrupting the healthcare industry for years, but 2018 has brought more breakthroughs. More and more healthcare institutions are implementing IoT technology into their system to dramatically improve and personalize the care that they provide. Specifically, this includes patients wearing IoT-enabled devices which allow health providers to track their vitals and hospitals using sensors in beds to decrease wait times.
Healthcare IoT shows no signs of slowing. Research by Frost and Sullivan suggests that the Internet of Medical Things industry will grow to $72 billion by 2021.⁴
Security Concerns are Rising
Cybersecurity concerns are rising for businesses and individuals around the world. But the threat to IoT devices has increased significantly this year. Because of surging demand for IoT devices, security is often a second thought, and this has led a 600 percent increase in criminal IoT compromises since 2017, according to IBM.⁵
Having more connected devices will only increase these concerns. Both IoT devices and M2M protocols will need consistent updates to stay current with IoT security needs. This is particularly important for businesses with mission-critical IoT assets or sensitive information.
Blockchain is Gaining Traction in IoT
Blockchain is driven largely by those rising security concerns, and is emerging as a key tool in making IoT devices more secure. Distributed Ledger Technology will change the way that devices interact with each other by keeping a ledger of which devices interacted with each other and how they interacted.
Currently, most blockchain IoT applications are not market-ready, but the technology is advancing and is starting to be included in proof of concept applications. We’ll likely hear more about this in 2019.
Industrial IoT (IIoT) is Monetizing Business IoT
IoT applications in businesses such as utilities, logistics, and transportation companies are solving specialty problems and helping provide concrete results in terms of cost savings and efficiency. One way this is happening is by using IoT analytics application to enable predictive maintenance, which some projections show could reduce major asset failures to reduce lost revenue and maintenance costs.
IIoT is a growing field for businesses across industries. Currently, most applications are geared toward medium and large enterprises, but as we see more case studies on how IIoT applications are providing measurable business results and providers develop affordable, scalable solutions, we’ll see a wider range of companies adopting them.
What’s Coming in 2019?
The IoT is big business. Demand for IoT technology doesn’t look like it will slow for some time, and $6 trillion is predicted to be spent in the industry between 2016 and 2021. Much of this spending will be in smart city IoT applications and businesses, but we’ll also see major growth in the consumer market. Smart speakers, thermostats, automobiles, and other technology are becoming more popular, despite recent safety concerns.
Keep an eye on all these trends as well as the development of new technology and applications into 2019. We’ll see the above technologies and industries grow, as well as new use cases we haven’t seen yet.