IoT for Business: Five Key Trends for 2018
(Summary of Wendy Schuchart’s Channel Partners Report)
Recent estimates put the number of IoT connected devices at between 8 and 15 billion – more than human beings on the planet. We’re talking everything from sensors, voting machines and pacemakers to voice-activated cars, personal assistants in the home (like Alexa) and personal health trackers (like FitBit and Leaf), along with toys, security devices, and even toothbrushes and pillows. The good news for you, they’re mostly mobile, and they all need to be connected. But how do you sell customers on the idea that IoT is past trend stage?
We decided to get you the “customer-eye IoT view” with an emphasis on mobility and connectivity. We spoke with industry leaders and changemakers about the biggest sea changes on the horizon that IT exec customers must be on top of.
1. Interconnectivity Is Your Best Friend
Kevin Cooke, product director at Stratusphere Solutions for Liquidware says the most underrated IoT application is automation. Not a specific IoT device, but the interaction of multiple IoT devices in concert with other outside information. Interconnection is the way data is exchanged – machine to machine communication really can’t be kept in silos. It’s not just a data latency issue – it literally needs to flow between devices in real time. Reliable bidirectional signals are the bloodstream for the system – going back and forth between devices to collect data and talk to each other.
Interconnectivity needs to be part of the implementation strategy, not something fixed after deployment. Figure out how much interconnectivity you think your IoT applications will need and then build an architecture that can handle about 10 times that amount out of the gate with the ability to scale to 100 times that amount.
2. Got IoT? Get Security
Cybersecurity will also undermine a lot of connected devices in the near-term future, with hackable devices and data leakage becoming very real concerns. People are upset about the Equifax leak (and rightfully so!), but IoT devices have the potential to leak information that’s just as sensitive and valuable. just because an IoT device is secure doesn’t mean IoT data is secure and vice versa. Case in point, the Mirai attack allowed hackers to get to connected “things” and then from there, they went into a DDoS attack which sent so much data to websites like Twitter, Spotify and Netflix, that everything froze up. The physical weakness translated to a data weakness.
Security ain’t sexy, but it’s job one. Build in context awareness for anything you wouldn’t want the world to have access to and make sure it’s shipshape against things that go bump in the night.
3. Voice Applications for Rich Integration
In 2018, voice-controlled devices like Alexa are going to be a driving force, all powered through the magic of IoT. The most underrated IoT application in business is seamless voice control of IoT devices. Adam Fingerman, chief experience officer and co-founder of ArcTouch, says he’s “bullish” on voice applications, particularly those built for voice platforms like Alexa, Google Home, Siri and Cortana.
Voice control and natural language processing could be a way to innovate internal processes which can lead to employee satisfaction — and if you have external customers, they’re going to expect this from your service or look to your competitor to answer back.
4. IoT Data Analytics Is a Game Changer
When it comes to IoT, the linchpin is all in how you deal with the millions of new data points. With this data, teams can now see how their products are being used. “They can use this information to create the next version of product with better quality, better user interfaces, and better features all targeted to specific markets,” Chalgren says. “The dataflow (i.e., the telemetrics) coming from these devices will enable the product, quality and engineering teams of IoT companies to quickly correctly evolve their products much faster.”
Put some serious energy into your IoT data feed and analysis capability and make sure you’re arming the engineering team with that data and a data wrangler who can explain it to them.
5. Moving Fast in the IoT Landscape
The biggest trend in IoT for 2018 and beyond, however, is speed. Regulatory hurdles and adoption rates can vary widely across industries and the one challenge that impacts every IoT company is the critical need to move fast. “To ensure first mover advantage in a highly competitive industry, more and more IoT consumer electronics companies rely on a cloud-based product life cycle management (PLM) solution to innovate while accelerating time to market,” says Chalgren.“
Don’t allow analysis paralysis to set in – expect this space to heat up in the next several years and move even faster than it already has. The pump is primed – we’re going to see a huge tidal change in the next three to five years and the organizations who are positioned to take advantage of this shift will be the dominant force in the coming decade.
SOLUS is focused on IoT and fiber security, if you’d like to learn more please give us a call.