Yes, it’s getting to that time of the year. As 2017 draws to a close and we look ahead to the next 12 months, what are our predictions for the notoriously fast-moving and ever-changing IoT landscape?
Head in the clouds
For organisations deploying their own IoT infrastructures, the cloud will become an increasingly attractive choice for hosting and managing them. The same old advantages apply as with any corporate cloud migrations: rapid deployments, elastic scalability and low costs. Sure, some enterprises will continue to run their IoT implementations out of their own on-premise datacentres, but they will be in a minority. The platforms that organisations use to analyse and make sense of their IoT data will increasingly be cloud-based.
As with so many other technological innovations before it, as the IoT moves from experimental innovation to maturity, so too will IoT developers and manufacturers shift from broad strategies to more industry-specific ones. The signs are already there – we’ve seen the emergence of the Industrial Internet of Things, focused on developing smart factories and intelligent manufacturing, for example. Transport and utilities are wo other sectors in which we expect to see an increasingly specialist IoT offering develop.
Business to business
IoT headlines tend to focus on the consumer side of the IoT – smart fridges and thermostats seem to be among the most commonly-referenced devices. But it’s the B2B world where we expect to see the greatest proliferation of IoT offerings in 2018, particularly as enterprises switch on the huge power of the data that can be collected by the IoT.
With the EU GDPR due to come into force in May 2018, the notion of ‘privacy by design’ is on everyone’s lips. Of course, all savvy and forward-thinking IoT businesses have been considering the impact of this regulation – and the question of cybersecurity more generally – for some time now, but as the date rolls nearer, no business will be able to ignore it.
Forrester Research has suggested that money-oriented IoT attacks are likely to increase in 2018. Rich pickings can be available for cybercriminals who successfully infect IoT ecosystems with ransomware, after all. Unfortunately, we think that this prediction will likely to be borne out. 2018 seems likely to be a year of more and more cyberattacks on both connected devices and the IoT platforms they run on – making it more important than ever for businesses developing or deploying connected products to implement good security practices from the very beginnings of their lifecycles.
On a happier note, we think that product designers, as well as marketing and even sales personnel, are poised to take much greater advantage of the wealth of data that can be generated by IoT devices. The IoT can, for example, enable designers to access real, live information on how products are being used ‘in the field’, or to assess different manufacturing processes against each other. And with this information at their fingertips, it is possible to make lightning-fast and well-informed design alterations, test them and push them live more quickly than ever before.
This ‘feedback loop’ structure is a key part of how IoT businesses can effectively evolve the user experience of their products – and that, in turn, is a key part of business success. We expect to see far more of it in 2018.