Several cities all over the world (for instance, San Diego, Boston and Dubai) have already started to plan for their new “smart city” reality, but it hasn’t been ready for implementation. Moreover, through smart cities, everything from street lights to parking meters can be connected to the internet. Amsterdam has been a test case for what experts call the Internet of Everything. Major industry leaders such as Cisco and Philips have worked with city leaders and local government to develop energy and money-saving smart technology plans for the city.
With much of global conversation focused on energy consumption, Smart Energy IoT projects will help both commercial buildings and households to better monitor their energy use. Moreover, smart streetlights powered by cost-effective and energy-efficient LED lights will help cities lower their environmental impact. Besides, Smart Meters will help households and commercial buildings to monitor their overall energy consumption. Many feel that this will lead to a larger reliance on solar power. This, in turn, will lower the overall pollution levels of a city, while also helping to detect power outages sooner than ever before.
As IoT becomes more commonplace in 2018, the biggest industry trend is on improved security. Besides, smart objects are becoming more commonplace and many people are still dubious about the data privacy of connecting more devices to the internet. Even among IT professionals, this is a major issue. The internet has proven to be susceptible to DDoS attacks, and sadly, IoT is not immune from this. Moreover, on October 21 last year, a major DDoS attack hit servers of major companies such as The New York Times, Netflix, Twitter and Paypal. The same technology that made these servers vulnerable to hackers lives within IoT. Attacks on IoT devices could have a devastating effect, depleting consumer confidence and companies will do everything in their power to avoid being attacked.
Over the years we’ve slowly seen IoT and blockchain technology merge. At this point, it’s well established that blockchain has deeper applications beyond just the Fintech industry. It can enhance the security of devices and making for more seamless transactions. As IoT developers embrace blockchain technology, it gives servers a trusted party through stored data. On top of that, experts believe that blockchain can be a huge boost to IoT, dramatically reducing costs for industry manufacturers by cutting out the intermediary from the process. Through blockchain, transactions and device data will be completed on a peer-to-peer basis, relieving much of the contractual or legal costs. Blockchain for IoT could fundamentally change the way businesses interact globally as well, providing a qualified ecosystem that can automate and encrypt transactions.
The real value of IoT is, of course, in the data produced. According to McKinsey, IoT has a total potential economic impact of $3.9 trillion to $11.1 trillion a year by 2025 — if analyzed and used correctly. With billions of consumer and industrial devices being connected to IoT and transmitting data, the amount of data than needs to be processed and analyzed will grow exponentially. The idea is not just to gather data but to extract actionable insights from this data and that will need some serious big data techniques and artificial engineering to process all that data. A convergence of AI, IoT and Big Data will give rise to a wave of next-gen applications and advancements. In fact, it may be difficult to look at either of these in isolation anymore. Over the forthcoming months we’ll start to see further integration of IoT data streams with AI and machine learning engines in order to do so. We’ll also see a shift towards enabling processing and analytics to the IoT network edge, minimizing the need to transport large amounts of data back to the network core before triggering an action or alert.
It goes without saying that one of the most important applications of IoT is definitely in the field of healthcare, and the coming year will see healthcare truly embrace the prowess of IoT. According to data from Frost and Sullivan, the internet of medical things could be expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 26.2% and reach $72 billion by 2021. Devices like sensors, wearable devices, medical equipment, health monitors and a gamut of other medical devices is set to be connected with IoT. Moreover, from healthcare providers to the general population, everyone is more tech-savvy than before and this is set to increase IoT adoption in the medical world for good. Mobile health applications and virtual assistants to monitor patient health at home, smart wearables and implants that communicate patient parameters, smart cars that monitor patient vitals in transit and a host of other smart connected devices are set to reshape the medical world dramatically.
New technologies will emerge making IoT more intuitive and user friendly, but largely, manufacturers will have to work harder at securing their connected devices as the risk to data will also increase. Amid all of these trends and predictions, the future ahead is definitely a promising one and certainly worth looking forward to positively.