Your IoT Predictions for 2018 (Part 1)
What's around the corner for IoT? Let's see what's going to change in the realms of smart cities, home automation, AR, autonomous vehicles, and more.
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This year, we've seen IoT technology contribute to the evolution of biotech, manufacturing, how we inhabit our homes, and the development of city landscapes. We've seen the convergence of IoT, AI, and more recently, blockchain technologies. But we know that the IoT landscape is a crowded and contested one where over 60% of products fail to reach prototype stage, and platforms and hardware compete for the industrial and consumer market.
As a journalist, I am privileged to meet some of the most interesting companies, analysts, and experts across the different verticals in IoT. This year, I asked them their predictions for 2018. Here's what they said:
Place Your Bets – Which Industry Will Be the Major Adopter First?
Industrial asset management, fleet management in transportation, inventory management, and government security will be the hottest areas for IoT growth in 2018. With increasing connectivity between people, data and things, the public sector will begin embracing smart cities, where sensors and automation enhance the reliability of services, especially in the areas of safety and environment.
IoT sensor data enables use cases including improved air quality, optimized traffic patterns, reduced safety incidents, traffic fire incident prediction, and improved citizen identity. I also expect transportation — airlines and airports in particular — will push boundaries in adopting IoT data. This industry will innovate using real-time airport, aircraft, weather-sensor and passenger information to improve operations and deliver better customer experiences.
— Erick Dean, Product Director, IoT on IoT, Splunk
A Shake-Out Will Simplify the Smart Home Market
Among standards organizations and product manufacturers, we expect some consolidation and strategy shifts to simplify the wireless market for everyone involved. This ‘shake-out’ will clean up many of the interoperability obstacles we’ve all been saddled with for years now as the IoT renaissance continues to evolve. This clean-up is necessary to push forward on this frontier and really break through to a new level of smart home satisfaction and savviness. Through various alliances and organizations, we’re working collectively to solve connectivity.
— Tobin Richardson, President and CEO, Zigbee Alliance
An Interoperable Smart Home Ecosystem Will Emerge, Building Consumer Trust
When the big smart home players entered the space, they all had their own Trojan horse that catapulted them to success — Amazon with Alexa, Ring with its doorbell, and Nest with its thermostat. From there, the big four (Amazon, Apple, Google, Samsung) each focused on building an ecosystem of products to expand reach and access into the home, all competing for the largest market share.
But these are all selectively open ecosystems, often leaving consumers frustrated when they need to use three different apps to get products to communicate, or stop communicating. Consumers want convenience, not walled-garden products. We’ll see ecosystems built around best-in-class products, and the companies that make them work well together will be the ones to succeed. This will come from seamless technology integration, interoperability between hardware devices, and automation that adjusts energy consuming devices. Making energy the constant in the smart home ecosystem will add new value in a way that is tangible to consumers.
— Patrick Maloney, CEO Inspire
Incremental Progress in Autonomous Vehicles and a Shift Towards Collaboration
In the world of autonomous vehicles, we predict we are going to see much more incremental progress and a slow and steady shift toward collaboration. Right now, it seems many are quick to imagine that a utopia of fully autonomous vehicles is just around the corner; however, the reality is that right now our algorithms just understand how humans drive with humans. Given this, our algorithms will need to evolve to better understand the nuances of how humans drive with semi- and fully autonomous vehicles; how various models from different manufacturers interact with each other on the road; and in diverse environments, infrastructure, and weather conditions.
We expect to see businesses across the auto and mobility ecosystem forming consortiums to drive innovation and collaboration in this evolving landscape. This means we should see these big transportation players cooperating closely with their fiercest competitors to create more innovative offerings that will create a smarter and more useful system for everyone.
— Gary Hallgren, president of Arity
Augmented Reality Creates a new Digital Experience
Expect augmented reality (AR) to dominate a new ‘digital experience’ movement. 2018’s smartphone models are all equipped to leverage AR, and consumers will be showered with applications that exploit this change. AR’s influence will speedily mature from current visual overlays used in gaming or entertainment to support digital “conversations” with virtual entities that will not only be vocal and audible, but also incorporate body language, facial gestures, and hand movements.
— Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist, Greenwave Systems
The software industry was at the forefront of SaaS transformation. Software companies went from selling packaged solutions to delivering online services. Instead of hunting elephant-size deals and fasting between “kills,” we switched to subscription-based business models that deliver consistent and predictable revenue.
Now other industries want in. Manufacturers want to switch from selling equipment outright to offering this equipment as a service. The buyer will lease the equipment along in tandem with maintenance that is required to fulfill the service level agreement included with the contract. Both sides benefit. The buyer will get equipment that is guaranteed to work. The seller will have an opportunity to build a relationship with the buyer.
In order to make this change, manufacturers need to start thinking of themselves as service providers. To deliver services vs. products, they need to deploy and constantly update sophisticated IT systems. As a result, many of these businesses will be transformed into software companies, as exemplified by Ford, GE, GM, and others. The phenomenon is spreading to other industries, such as healthcare, biotech, financial services, and telecommunications.
— Dmitri Tcherevik, CTO, Progress
Progress on Standards, but no Rosetta Stone for IoT yet
We expect to continue to see progress around interoperability and reference architectures in 2018, but the “alphabet soup” of consortia and standards organizations will continue to create confusion. The valuable work advanced by IEEE, IPSO, the Open Interconnect Consortium, the Thread Group, the Industrial Internet Consortium and the AllSeen Alliance is enhanced by the OpenFog Consortium, EdgeX Foundry, and the Trusted IoT Alliance. Looming in 2018 are the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) standards, set to come into effect in May. GDPR will harmonize data protection regulations across the European Union, and create new imperatives for the treatment of critical and private data.
— Ed Maguire, Insight Partners, Momenta Partners
Enjoy more IoT predictions for 2018 in Part 2...
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