Top IoT Trends: What's the Future of the Internet of Things?
May 4th, 2016
Internet of Things is a technology of the future that becomes a reality in the present. Let's try to answer the question about where things are moving - for users, businesses, as well as the developers and what IoT technology trends are out there in the world.
It is obvious that the Internet of Things will revolutionize the ordinary life of people, transform the global IT landscape, and affect the roadmap and development strategy for many types of businesses. Therefore, there’s a lot to be said about the IoT and it’s practically impossible to exhaust the topic considering its numerous aspects. I will try to focus on a few segments, understanding that my thoughts below are just a tip of an enormous iceberg.
IoT segments’ development is interconnected. Users’ and society in the general interest to one or another technology or product will, in turn, generate interest in developers and investors. For example, the “smart home” systems market trend will lead to the emergence of many developments of this type (but will require data protection technologies for proper work).
At the same time, new opportunities and tools create new needs among users and businesses. For example, the ability to transmit data to your home electronics while you’re still on your way home may lead to the desire to not simply turn the coffee pot on, but also to order food based on the data received from the fitness band activity. In turn, the developers should be ready to provide technological background for all these solutions, needs, and demands.
IoT Trends for Users / Society in General
IoT for users is the realization that many things are now getting connected and “intelligent.” On one hand, this means, they can carry out non-core functions, and on another - that they can store/transfer data about a person to be used by other devices or companies. In other words, more and more devices are getting online - from coffee machines and vacuum cleaners to cars and cameras. As a result, one of the things that people should learn and keep in mind - huge amounts of data about them, their habits, and daily activities can be used in very different ways.
Lamps and door locks, fridges and washing machines, security systems, and air conditioning, and many other devices will be connected to the Internet in the nearest future. “Smart” homes and “smart” kitchens will become commonplace. On a bigger, city scale, using Internet of Things will allow redirecting traffic to the optimal routes using traffic lights and other instruments.
For example, a car connected to the Internet is old news. In the last year alone, over 1/3 of new cars in the USA were connected. In 2016, this number will exceed 60%. In addition, we’ll need “smart” infrastructure to go with this - “smart” lights, “smart” parking lots, and other familiar objects on the road that will get their own “intelligence.”
Another example is a fitness band connected to a fridge and an app that counts calories. To take the matters even deeper, in future, there might be special sensors in your band of choice able to recognize and notify about an approaching cold or a heart attack. This kind of sensors will greatly aid taking care of the elderly and the doctors will be able to rely on the data recorded by your devices instead of asking you and making you try to remember how you felt.
At the same time, the society will have to get used to the fact that medical or car insurance cost might be calculated based on how many times you visit McDonald’s or what is your average speed, and those who have a love affair with fast food and fast driving will have to pay more.
IoT for Business and Investors
Besides the development of devices and apps that will use the data recorded by IoT-devices, various solutions for the data security and ensuring users’ privacy will be in high demand. Therefore, we get a new dimension for business - smart homes’ and smart cars’ security, protection from burglaries, as well as protection for the data transmitted by them. Home security, in general, will get a whole new layer of meaning in the era of IoT.
At the same time, data analysis will improve the technical support and services’ quality and optimize various other services as well - ordering products, customer service, etc.
Investors will be interested in solutions that are right at the intersection of IoT and energy conservation technologies. Internet of Things will enable to control power consumption better - both on a scale of a small apartment as well as on a scale of a whole factory.
IoT for Developers
New Level of Security
The sheer volume of data transmitted via the IoT-devices requires taking a fresh look at their protection. In the near future, already, housebreaking will no longer be much about the physical penetration by hacking the front door lock. To break into a smart home, one would have to get access to the electronic system that controls all the gadgets, analyze the traffic of data circulating within the system, and intercept control to send one’s own commands to the gadgets. These commands may be very different - from setting the air temperature to an uncomfortable one to commanding the front door to open (or not open).
IoT-devices protection will not be limited to data encryption or methods used today. This new technology will require a new level of security to defend the systems from new kinds of attacks, like “sleep mode rejection” which may result in fast battery consumption or rendering the gadgets inoperative completely.
That said, IoT-devices protection will be a real challenge for developers also due to the fact that IoT-devices will be mainly running simple processors and platforms that are not always available for implementation of modern protection methods.
IoT Device Management and Analysis
IoT-devices will produce massive amounts of data that will require new analysis methods. In the beginning, it’s possible to use the existing data analysis tools, but over time, the market will require new methods and instruments. The emergence of numerous IoT-gadgets will force to reevaluate the management issues as well - working capacity check, firmware updates, error analysis. The easiest and the most obvious way - sending a maintenance man to the site to fix the problem - will no longer work because it will be unreasonably expensive, especially if the gadgets will become cheaper and more affordable. Therefore, the market will need instruments for data analysis and remote IoT-device controls within minimum time and with minimum effort.
Processors, Operating Systems, and Standards
IoT-systems characteristics, including a large number of devices that need to communicate with each other, put forward new requirements for choosing processors and operating systems’ functionality that controls these devices. Platform for IoT should not be energy-consuming and demand a lot out of the system resources. The developers will also be challenged to ensure the exchange of data between devices that use different standards and different API.
This review doesn’t mention all the technologies that will impact the future of the trends in IoT. The emergence and development of the 5G data transfer technology will change the usual television and even streaming video. Virtual reality will force to look in a new way not only at games and entertainment but also at learning processes. Who knows, perhaps in those conditions, the very development approach will morph into something completely new and our usual methods and instruments will be filed as history.
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