Top 12 IoT App Trends to Expect in 2021
These 12 IoT App Trends look set to dominate in 2021. The total installed base of IoT connected devices is projected to reach 21.5 billion units worldwide by 2025.
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Internet of Things, or IoT, connects all technology-based devices using embedded chips to form a miniature internet-like network of connected gadgets.
Understanding IoT as a Concept
The Internet in itself is a global network of protocol-based (Internet protocol suite: TC/IP) connected devices. IoT redefines these protocols to form a closer network of devices that can easily collect and share data, even without human to human, or human to computer, formal interactions. For instance: When your smartwatch reads your heart rate all the time on its own and provides a detailed analysis of the same on your smartphone to record for medical purposes, it is a well-functioning IoT system.
Similar, technology-enabled smart devices are all around us; they are making deeper roadways amongst our lives and their livability. With a continuous lowering of ‘sensor’ costs and its easy availability for manufacturers coupled with advances in ‘internet connectivity’ and data analysis applications, the graph of this technology has been witnessing a continuous surge both in demand as well as innovation.
Trends That Are Set to Drive IoT in 2021
IoT has effectively reshaped our homes with smart televisions, watches, music, lights, clothes, curtains, and whatnot. With industrial IoT gaining momentum, the development of smart cities is also on the cards, which shall reshape how we look at the world around us.
We herein analyze development trends that we think will shape the outlook of this technology in the coming year:
1. The Onset of 5G
IoT requires easy and seamless connectivity amongst devices, and the onset of ‘5G’ will enable it at a faster pace. As per global reports, the technology will be 100 times faster than its able predecessor (4G) with the prowess of enabling the common data connections at least a 10 times greater speed. All this is going to enhance innovations and deployment of complex data collection and analysis systems within proximities of the daily IoT system users.
With average internet connection speeds running into gigabytes (15-20 Gbps) and a large bandwidth available for varied usage across devices, the technology is set to remove all of the current limitations on bandwidth (at least until usage scales up to keep up with it).
2. Accelerating Industrial IoT (IIoT)
Automation requirements are everywhere, including industries, and IoT is well catering to all of them. IoT in industries has been mainly collecting and analyzing data and work routines for requirements of various devices and systems, and automating their working. Initially, the role of this technology was limited to increasing overall industry work efficiency and operation management with rationalization, automation, and applicable system maintenance in the manufacturing sectors, mainly within a smart factory environment.
Coming forward, IoT is touted to cross $123 billion in terms of its industrial vertical only. The technology is set to help industries within the scope of optimization in their work procedures, intelligent manufacturing and smart industry, asset performance management, industrial control, moving towards an on-demand service model, amongst others, even for cross-industry scenarios in the coming times. It is also set to revamp the ways of providing services to customers and creating newer revenue models. It has been actively promoting and helping in enhancing aspects of industrial digital transformation.
3. Security Is Going to Be a Rising Concern
With a plethora of smart devices across homes, offices, and industries collecting eons of user data, they shall more so be on the target of hackers and other unscrupulous entities.
IoT is connecting everything, but the issue herein is that all these devices are yet not ready or mature enough to tackle functionalities as well as security risks posed by cyber-attacks. For instance, a hacker might tap into the vulnerability of a smartwatch software design or Bluetooth connectivity credentials. This vulnerability can give them access to the connected smartphone, which again, would be connected to other smart devices, bank apps, etc., exposing them all as probable targets. These risk concerns are greater for industries and enterprises, enabling widespread use of this technology. This has been mainly due to:
- Lack of set protocols for manufacturing of IoT enabling devices like cameras, refrigerators, etc.
- Lack of knowledge about these security threats amidst the users (as this is comparatively a new technology)
- Update management of devices
- Invading the privacy of the IoT owners and users, etc.
Tackling these ominous security issues with the use of safeguarding protocols, attack sensors, and other security-related practices and developments are going to be high up on the list of IoT designers and developers.
4. IoT in Healthcare
Covid-19 has changed a lot in today’s world, especially how we look at and value healthcare. With human contact becoming a viable source of infections and virus spread; Governments, healthcare departments, industries as well as patients have been looking more and more towards technology to aid them to stay connected to healthcare provisions and developments.
IoT enables doctors to monitor patients easily and prescribe medicines to them with no waiting and travel time, leading to better efficiency and an easy work approach. It is now the safest way to gain medical help, with zero-contact in the post-Covid era. IoT is also making medical services affordable, accessible, and approachable for all. It allows medical centers to function more competently and patients to obtain better treatment without any extra cost. Its direct benefits include:
- Real-time reporting and monitoring of patient conditions allow prompt actions during emergencies.
- Automates patient care workflow.
- Better patient-doctor connect.
- Better and easier data analysis.
- IoT makes healthcare comparatively affordable, as the costs of traveling, infrastructure maintenance, and extra taxes get reduced.
- Continuous tracking of patient’s physical parameters and timely alerts.
- Remote medical assistance, as and when required.
- IoT data can be used for medical research, as well.
IoT connected devices like smartwatches, heartbeat and oxygen level monitors, blood pressure and sugar level machines, amongst others, are helping provide doctors with real-time data of their patient conditions, enabling easy monitoring and doctor-patient connection. With hospitals too using this technology to track patients, staff, and equipment on a regular basis, the trend is further touted to gain momentum in the coming year.
5. The Time of ‘Edge Computing’ is Here
‘Data is king’ these days, and thus, it needs to be well-protected and well utilized by companies for a better future and market-based evolution. Businesses are understanding this and inclining towards edge computing amongst IoT networks, rather than direct cloud computing.
Edge Computing is basically the inclusion of a node within an IoT network’s topology to ensure data is first stored and completely analyzed for a business requirement before it reaches the cloud. This node is generally located closer to the source or destination of output data to ensure greater efficiency and utility.
As the number of devices amongst networks explodes, this trend shall take prominence to ensure seamless and fast-paced workability of each IoT connected device.
6. Innovations in Smart Home Utilities
There was a time when smart lights and smart fans were discarded in value as ‘favorites of a lazy man.’
They are now the intended luxuries, which are touted to become necessities in the coming times.
As per world reports, ‘The global smart home market size is projected to reach USD 622.59 billion by 2026, exhibiting a CAGR of 29.3%.’ With people willing to spend on technology initiated work efficiency in their living spaces, newer innovations in this technology front will be hitting markets every few days.
Smart televisions, smart devices like Alexa and Google Home, smart cars, smart mops, smart heaters, smart A.C’s, etc., are set to rule the home innovation roost. For instance: Sooner than later, smart refrigerators shall be smart enough to gauge declining ‘milk levels’ and order the same to your local groceries through Google Home or Alexa. Everything will be taken care of by technology, from data collection, analysis to communication, and then payments.
7. Artificial Intelligence for a ‘Smarter’ Experience
IoT is all about the automation of devices for greater work efficiency. Artificial Intelligence is the technology that helps these devices to analyze the available data and make the ‘smart decisions’ for automation. It is basically the ‘smartness of smart devices.’
So, if we want our homes, offices, and industries to get smarter, it asks for greater inclusion of Artificial Intelligence.
The technology has already enabled the creation and deployment of AI-backed robots and other devices in the fabrics of businesses, homes, and industries worldwide; the trend is touted to experience greater outreach in the year to come. Amazon already employs robots to sort through its consumables within its distribution networks, and so do restaurants in Dubai. This is the beginning of a new journey.
8. Autonomous Cars Are Also Coming
As per latest technology reports, ‘California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has awarded Nuro the state’s first commercial permit for self-driving cars. This permit allows the company to operate its autonomous vehicles commercially on the roads of two counties near the company’s Bay Area headquarters.’
This is the future of the global automobile market and its times to come. The technology requires the development and deployment of a regulatory framework that shall enable these gadgets to function on regular roads freely. In fact, HORIBA MIRA has even developed ASSURED CAV, a complete facility that aims to offer a holistic environment for autonomous vehicles from concept to on-road testing. The technology development trend is sure to transform the automobile industry of the world and is here to stay with much aplomb.
9. Smart Cities Will Continue to Flourish
Smart Cities are basically urban spaces that are developed to provide general Government services through technology. They also collect and analyze data pertaining to each of its citizens to ensure easy access of the same for the Government; as and when required. Examples of smart city technologies and programs have already been implemented in Singapore, India, Dubai, Milton Amsterdam, Barcelona, Madrid, Stockholm, Copenhagen, China, and New York, to name a few.
China, in fact, is using AI technologies to monitor the brain of its developing kids and young minds and analyze their levels of intelligence and thoughts to effectively measure learning efficiency and provide effective data to researchers enabling the development of smarter algorithms for its analysis of human behavior and development. They have, in fact, also been working on a crime monitoring system that analyzes user behavioral data and predicts minds that can commit a crime before even it is actually done; a system that is both mind-blowing in its functionality and highly obtrusive for the monitored individuals. Good or bad, the trend is touted to witness further innovation in the coming times.
10. IoT Enabled ‘Smart Farms’
As farmers are getting smarter with inclusion and adaptation of technology, so are their farms. Technology is being used within the agriculture sector to monitor climatic conditions on a real-time basis and analyze all other crop-growing factors like soil health, moisture, irrigation, plant health, etc. IoT enables monitoring and functioning of these aspects through a handheld device that can be controlled from anywhere, anytime, transforming these labor-intensive projects to technology-empowered environments. With drones, even empowered to collect water droplets and form artificial clouds and rains, this is how the food would be grown in the coming times.
11. IoT Shall Help Save Resources
As the saying goes, 'energy saved is energy generated,' IoT will increasingly be used in general homes and offices to not only increase work efficiency; but also monitor resource wastage and in developing means to stop it. For instance: App-based electronics shall soon monitor human-movement within spaces and automate the usage of electricity and other resources within it. This monitoring and management shall help the development of more energy-efficient spaces in the coming times.
12. SaaS Integrations With IoT
Technology has entered every aspect of human lives, including personal works and businesses. Technologies like AI and Machine Learning are making these technologies smarter. But, they come at a development and deployment cost, which might not end up being viable for most small and medium-sized businesses to purchase and employ, nor would they require the scales that they are developed at. ‘SaaS’ or software as a service is a cloud-based service concept that enables usage of these technologies as services within clouds that store IoT network data, wherein they are paid for as per usage. This business-fit model makes them affordable for wider outreach. With businesses looking for ways to understand their clients better and evolving markets being a reality, this is where the future of businesses is touted to grow.
IoT, as a technology trend, has crossed its nascent stages of user adaptation and acceptance. The umbrella concept is evolving by the day, with several small entrepreneurs and startups also taking leads in finding ways to develop smarter user gadgets and environments. The above-stated trends are going to transform the way the world works, touching billions of lives in one way or the other. Look out for them!
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