The concept of the Internet of Things moved beyond the hype futurology trends and became an autonomous technical and social phenomenon. According to Gartner Research, the number of connected things will have reach 20.4 billion by 2020, and by 2021, this number will have increased up to 25 billion.
Right at the moment, people can feel the effect of the IoT in their lives. Smartphones, smart bulbs, smart cars, smart household appliances and even smart security systems — all that smart stuff can operate without human interaction. The whole that IoT concept is based on the fact that it is “the things” that collect, store and analyze data, adapting their program and algorithms to human desire.
Moreover, according to the Gartner research, the cost of the IoT sensors will come down. Cost is one of the main factors that stimulate the development of that technology, making the devices more affordable and increasing manufacturers’ vehemence.
IoT has made a great step up toward changing the perception of things around us and the environment we live in. But that is only the beginning and the future looks promising. As we look onward past 2019, let’s get acquainted with the main IoT technology trends.
1. Security will be the main concern
In 2016, the botnet Mirai was used for full-scale DDoS-attacks and showed that IoT devices had to be protected the way we protect our computers. You might remember that the Mirai bot captured more than 5,000 devices, including thermostats, routers, DVR systems, IP cameras and more. The servers of such giant companies as Xbox Live and Spotify were damaged during the DDoS attack, as well as Github and BBC websites.
In 2019, it is not enough to know how to protect your online privacy: manufacturers also will have to take steps to ensure users’ data security if they want to stand their ground. Built-in privacy-by-design mechanisms at the edge, which include data encryption either at rest or in motion, could add a layer of protection to the IoT devices. As far as cloud storage is concerned, the developers would tighten the authentication and data exchange processes to ensure that all traffic between cloud resources and the devices is authenticated and encrypted.
2. 5G networks will broaden IoT use
One of the main factors that deter the growth of the Internet of Things is the lack of mobile data networks that are fast and stable enough to make smart, connected tech more operative and available. But the situation will change dramatically when 5G networks become widespread. This technology has just arrived and has already demonstrated fantastic results — it is 20 times faster than existing mobile networks.
The mobile networks that outclass the cable ones in speed, connection stability and availability open a great prospect to the growth of the IoT projects. Ideas such as “smart cities,” where all civic amenities are united into one chain and collecting, analyzing and transmitting data to each other in order to create a more efficient, clear, secure and convenient environment, become viable.
3. The rapid growth of the IIoT
Smart manufacturing is gaining traction, and IoT technology uses it for its benefit. It is predicted that the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) market will have reached $124B by 2021. The top drivers of that rapid growth are improved operational efficiency, productivity, optimization of asset utilization, new business start-ups and reduction in downtime. Smart technologies continue to spread roots in the industrial sphere.
In agriculture, IoT would minimize the risk of loss. The possibility of tracking parameters such as temperature and humidity (for example, in the poultry industry) allows manufacturers to control the conditions of breeding birds and the conditions of storage of raw materials in the workshops. If there is any deviance or anomaly, a signal is immediately sent to the dispatcher. It would allow manufacturers to prompt actions at the right time, improve product availability and minimize loses.
4. Collaboration with artificial intelligence and machine learning
In 2008, the number of connected things exceeded the number of people, and the majority of these smart devices are working off a single processor and a thimble of memory. Enabling AI capabilities and local data processing, the IoT sphere will become even more powerful.
The potential of artificial intelligence in collaboration with IoT (and sometimes with blockchain) is great. These technologies perfectly complement each other. The AI might help to facilitate and make sense of the myriad connected devices in the coming decade, analyzing an otherwise insurmountable amount of data and managing the IoT.
Self-driven vehicles are already a reality. These cars can bring passengers safely to their destination almost without a human-driver interaction, analyzing data about traffic jams, stoplights, and road signs and immediately acting if an unforeseen problem occurs. Talking about his hands-free vehicle, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said “The whole Tesla fleet operates as a network. When one car learns something, they all learn it.” Isn`t it the perfect example of collaboration between IoT and machine learning?
As the network complexity and the number of devices increase, they will be more and more dependent on new machine learning and artificial intelligence projects.
5. The development of digital twin technology
Gartner predicted that by 2022, over two-thirds of IoT companies will have deployed at least one digital twin in production. It is worth noting that the concept has been around for quite a while, but as IoT and Al have been developing, digital twins have grown into a real trend.
The digital twin is a virtual simulation prototype of something physical (people, places, devices, complex systems, processes or entire enterprises). Creating a digital twin allows manufacturers to simulate the work of a physical object when planning the project. Moreover, the prototype continuously generates data on the state of its real, physical analog online throughout the entire life cycle.
A good example of a digital twin at work is the space industry. The ability to perform real-time analysis on a spaceship allows engineers to identify and resolve potential problems before they occur.
Having taken into account that the prices of IoT sensors are decreasing, as well as the cost of cloud computing, it is not surprising that this technology is among the trends.
6. Edge Computing versus clouds
Some time ago, it seemed that nothing could be more convenient, fast and operative as a cloud. But nowadays, the shift from centralized storage to edge architectures is considered to be a new hot topic. The analyst Thomas Bittman has stated that “the edge will eat the cloud.” What did he mean?
Edge computing is the type of architecture where the data stores locally, in micro-centers for processing. In other words, instead of mindlessly sending data to the cloud storage, its primary processing will be carried out in the processors of the devices themselves.
A lot of data collected by IoT things and sent to the cloud turns out to be useless. Let’s take an outdoor home security camera as an example. It normally transfers terabytes of data to the server, while perhaps a few megabytes of these records that demonstrate suspicious activity may prove useful in the end. With edge computing, networks would be much less loaded with useless data, the traffic would be reduced and bandwidth costs would be minimized.
Edge computing will affect those industries where immediate actions are required (public security, manufacturing), as well as those spheres where cloud connectivity may be impossible and complex data analysis is needed (logistics, shipping and so on).
IoT has been one of the world trends for years, and it is supposed to be even buzzier in years to come. Vendors and manufacturers facilitate the growth of that technology, focusing on business solutions and outcomes.
- Gartner Says 8.4 Billion Connected “Things” Will Be in Use in 2017, Up 31 Percent From 2016, Gartner
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- What is a DDoS Attack?, Cloudflare
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- What Is 5G?, PC Magazine
- Secure, sustainable smart cities and the IoT, Gemalto
- Internet of Things Statistics 2019 [The Rise Of IoT], Techjury
- The Internet of Things: How the Next Evolution of the Internet Is Changing Everything, Cisco
- How Tesla is ushering in the age of the learning car, Fortune
- Gartner Survey Reveals Digital Twins Are Entering Mainstream Use, Gartner
- The Edge Will Eat The Cloud, Gartner Blog Network