10 Predictions for the Future of IoT

2015 will be remembered as the Year of the Internet of Things—the tipping point when IoT went from the back rooms of the technology world to become mainstream.

With the media making the connection between the smart home and the connected automobile, IoT has begun to become part of the popular parlance. In fact, a Google search for Internet of Things reveals 725 billion results.

Over the past 2 years, there have been big announcements from all of the major car manufacturers about their connected car initiatives, lots of M&A activity in the technology industry as they race to supply the revolution, and major global alliances of telecom providers being formed to provide the underlying connectivity and infrastructure. But, most of all, we are actually starting to see some of the promised transformational benefits of the Internet of Things becoming a reality.

I welcome the Internet of Things to 2016 and beyond. I can’t wait to see how this new technology revolution continues to transform our lives. But how will all this unfold?

The following are my 10 predictions of what the future of IoT holds:

  1. The platform is the key to success. The “things” will get increasingly inexpensive, applications will multiply, and connectivity will cost pennies. The real value will be created in the horizontal platform that ties it all together—the new OS.
  2. The industry will look completely different than it does today. IoT is a greenfield market. New players, with new business models, approaches, and solutions, can appear out of nowhere and overtake incumbents.
  3. Business is the key market. While there is talk about wearables and connected homes, the real value and immediate market for IoT is with businesses and enterprises. The adoption of IoT will be much more similar to the traditional IT diffusion model (businesses to consumers) than the consumer-led adoption of social media and personal mobility.
  4. It will be about much more than the “things.” The currency of IoT will be “data.” But, this new currency only has value if the masses of data can be translated into insights and information which can be converted into concrete actions that will transform businesses, change people’s lives, and effect social change.
  5. The “connected car” will be all about the car. There is currently a lot of hype about turning your car into a mobile entertainment center. However, the real value and transformation is in connecting the car operations and drastically improving safety. These services will most likely be paid for by the manufacturer or through new, alternative business models, rather than directly by the driver.
  6. IoT will force business transformation. Businesses which connected to the internet saw the real value when they redesigned their business models and processes for a connected world, and created new online products and services to offer. The same will be true of IoT. Businesses need to develop strategies and plans for how they can leverage IoT to transform all aspects of their businesses.
  7. Trading mobile dollars for IoT pennies. Mobile operators are salivating at the new revenues to be earned from connecting all of these things to the internet. While some of the traffic will flow over mobile networks, the majority of the connections will be made over wireline or unlicensed wireless networks, and much of it will be very low-bandwidth traffic. Mobile operators will need to do more than just sell mobile connectivity to inanimate objects in order to reap the full rewards of IoT.
  8. There will be a battle for IoT application mindshare. With billions of devices projected to be spewing out petabytes of data, application developers will have a field day launching thousands, or even millions, of new and cool apps. But, similar to the smartphone world, all of these apps will be fighting for mindshare, and only a few will rise to the top to be valued by businesses and consumers.
  9. All cities will be smart. With more than one-half of the world’s population living in cities, innovative new IoT solutions, such as smart parking, connected waste, and traffic management, hold great promise for combating the major challenges of rapid urbanization. We are unlikely to see many Jetson-like smart cities of the future appearing overnight. As with other technologies, such as electricity, sewers, and traffic lights, mayors will slowly implement IoT solutions to save money, shape the future, and make their cities better places to live.
  10. IoT will cease to exist. Terms like “ecommerce,” “the net” and “www” are all quaint reminders of how the internet has ceased to be an exciting and mysterious new thing, and, similar to electricity, is now just part of our daily lives. One day soon, it will be hard to imagine that all things weren’t always connected and that the extraordinary benefits of IoT hadn’t always been with us.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.



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