IoT is no longer the new kid on the block. It’s been having a transformative effect on nearly every industry for the past few years, particularly automotive and manufacturing, and the momentum will continue. Connecting everything – and maximising the value of the data those things generate – can drive positive business results, so the potential for IoT is truly massive. But instead of looking too far into the future, let’s focus on what we think the next twelve months will bring.
Our first prediction is that we will start to see more robust security through a combination of IoT, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. During the first few years of IoT, the focus was very much on gathering data. But we are now at a stage where we can gather and analyse that data in real time, and the automate decisions accordingly. This will be significant in the area of security – both from an attack prevention point-of-view and from an operational technology stand-point. So in 2018, rather than reacting to incidents, the combination of IoT data with AI and machine learning technologies will help industries predict and proactively prevent IT attacks and operational disasters from happening in the first place.
Integration between devices made by different manufacturers is starting to happen, enabling them to work together to make interoperability mainstream.
We also predict that 2018 will see the start of interoperability between different device manufacturers and the wider IoT industry and ecosystem. Integration between devices made by different manufacturers is starting to happen, enabling them to work together to make interoperability mainstream. This will really take off in 2018 because of the development and adoption of standards such as OMA Lightweight. This is being adopted across the board – at the chip, software and hardware levels – enabling devices to speak to each other in a common language, and to send and receive data. In turn, this drives a need for all these devices to be managed by an IoT data platform that has the capability to apply policies and automate actions based on the data that is being shared.
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Our third prediction is that there will be a battle over IoT data ownership, resulting in a significant paradigm shift. Data made big headlines in 2017, as highly publicised breaches made us all more security conscious. To that end, more IoT data was generated this year alone than at any other time in history. With the intersection of IoT and Big Data, we have started to see the collection and analysis of that data become more important as enterprises try to make sense of it to drive tangible business benefits. This is vital when you consider that only 1 percent of IoT data is currently being used. The next step, which we predict will take place in 2018, is to work out who needs to have access to the data, how it is best used and also who owns it. With those questions answered, it will be possible to extract the full value of your data and produce positive business results.
The automotive industry has been transformed by the introduction of IoT and we predict this will go further afield in 2018, to transform the fleet management industry. Transportation as a service (TaaS) will go mainstream – in other words, on-demand trucking and logistics is just around the corner. This means that fleet operators won’t have to directly manage their drivers or logistics. Instead, they will be able to consume fleet management as a service so that when lorries need to be in a certain location, the operator can ensure their prompt arrival. This also means the trucks will be loaded correctly and will follow an optimal route. This will be made possible by real-time IoT data, pulled from areas beyond GPS such as weather and weight. This type of data will enable the optimisation of what and how much to load onto a truck, the route it should take and ultimately greatly improve transportation and fleet management. It may not be the right business model for all enterprises, but manufacturing companies that are already up and running with IoT could quite quickly use TaaS to reduce their transport management costs.
To continue on IoT predictions that pertain to the automotive industry, we predict that by the end of the year the leading automotive companies will start to invest in existing ride-sharing services or even introduce their own branded offerings. Most will commit a percentage of their fleets to be leveraged as a ride-sharing service. In addition to this, we’re likely to see a global explosion of bike sharing services to accommodate the increase in people opting for multi-modal transportation. An example of this is when a commuter travels by train to a city, but then uses a bike-share to travel to a specific location in the city that may not be walkable from the train stop.
Our final prediction is for low power wide area networks (LPWANs) which, as they become more mainstream, will make IoT device connectivity more accessible and affordable, leading to increased adoption. But some barriers still remain before mass adoption of LPWANs becomes a reality. For example, the data usage of most low power devices might be only 10 percent compared to most IoT devices currently connected to 3G/4G networks. With such low data usage, generating revenue by charging for kilobytes of data per device per month does not make sense. A new business model is needed in order to make LPWANs profitable, one that reflects the value of the business outcomes that LPWAN provides – not just the data used. For example, smart city bin collection could be charged each time an action is triggered, such as a request to send out more rubbish trucks.
As IoT adoption grows, naturally there are challenges to be faced, but it’s exciting to see the creation of new industry sectors like TaaS. So long as viable revenue models develop hand-in-hand with business innovation, the opportunities presented by IoT will continue to impress us, year on year.