5 IoT Trends to Watch in 2017
While some might argue that 2016 has been the year of the IoT, it’s possible that the same argument will be able to apply to 2017. If this year was the infancy of the IoT, expect the technology to make a great leap to becoming a teenager or young adult next year. Not convinced? Consider these five trends that will most likely dominate the IoT landscape in 2017.
Increased Acceptance of IoT
Perhaps the greatest trend that will define the IoT in 2017 is the growing acceptance —and in fact, the expectation — of virtually everything being connected. Research shows that the home automation market is likely to reach $78 billion by 2022, which represents about a third of the predicted $300 billion IoT market. What was once seen as something from science fiction, or only for the wealthy, has now become a part of the average home thanks to products like Amazon’s Echo and Google Home.
Consumers are investing in smart devices that they can control from their smartphones — and companies are rushing to develop products that provide a useful and meaningful IoT experience, using new and better microcontrollers with an advanced PIC map included, and more. One danger of this explosive growth is the potential for manufacturers to connect devices simply because they can or because it’s trendy, without considering the larger implications or needs of their IoT devices. Still, now that the IoT is a fact of life, expect to see more, and better, connected products.
Consumer IoT isn’t the only segment that will see exponential growth in 2017. The industrial IoT market is also poised for expansion, with a potential for $151 billion in value by 2020. Not only are technologies like 3-D printing, robotics, and condition monitoring becoming commonplace, but companies are also looking to IoT solutions to solve other problems. For example, many companies are making IoT building asset management a significant part of their business operations. Much like in the consumer lifestyle market, IoT in business is no longer limited to early adopters, but has become a common and expected technology.
As with any connected technology, security is a concern with the IoT on both the industrial and consumer levels. The simple fact that virtually everything is now connected to the internet creates risk. Hackers don’t care if the machine they’ve accessed is a toaster or a child’s toy — all they are concerned with is having access to a machine that can send out spam or DDoS packets. Given that many IoT devices store and transfer sensitive data in addition to allowing access to networks, the need to secure them has become a greater priority. Expect to see new protocols and products to provide software and endpoint security for IoT devices, as well as more education and tools for securing consumer devices, to take shape in 2017.
While much of the discussion surrounding the IoT has been on how individuals can use the technology, it actually has the potential to transform life on a larger scale as well. One example is the idea of a smart city, in which technologies like sensor and data-driven traffic management and smart lighting are improving the daily lives of residents. By implementing smart lights, for example, cities can not only save money but make neighborhoods safer.
Data-driven traffic management can help reduce commute times and pollution as traffic managers can use sensor data to calibrate traffic lights. Several European cities have already embraced the technology, and expect to see IoT-driven initiatives to pop up in more cities around the world. Of course, it’s not as simple as just installing sensors and collecting data. Cities must balance the value of the data against the costs, as well as maintaining security and the privacy of residents. That being said, the potential of a smart city far outweighs those challenges, and the future will see more smart cities.
IoT and Artificial Intelligence
Finally, no discussion of the IoT is complete without at least addressing artificial intelligence. The IoT is producing immense amounts of data that can be used for everything from real-time insights into a heart patient’s current condition to monitoring electricity usage on weekends to telling engineers what is wrong with an industrial machine. In order for the IoT to really deliver on its promise of a better, more efficient world, there needs to be a way to quickly and accurately analyze all of this data, and that’s where AI comes in. Expect for AI to continue to advance in 2017, with better, faster algorithms designed to make our devices work better, faster, and more accurately.
No one knows for sure what 2017 will bring, but when it comes to the IoT, it will certainly be exciting — and will set the stage for even more advancements in the years to come.
About the Author
Amy Barton works for SeekVisibility and has studied Sociology and Human development in Arizona. With her vast knowledge in these areas, she has been able to create a number of informational pieces focusing on technology and education. When she is not writing Amy enjoys reading, singing and spending time with family.
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