Last year, we wrote an article on Internet of Things (IoT) technology and how inanimate objects are being transformed into intelligent devices. As the technology evolves, we’re getting used to turning our kids’ toys into talking creatures. Our smart offices and climate controlled spaces are getting pretty commonplace too.
So, it’s more than likely that 2017 will see steady IoT growth as the internet continues to evolve. Many “things” are already gaining momentum, including home thermostats, smart fridges and, of course, smartphones. You can turn your handheld into a timer, Chatbot, or even an appliance to listen to your baby’s heartbeat in the womb. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Check out these five top trends for IoT technology in 2017.
1. Smart fridges keep gaining traction
The adoption of IoT technology has been slower than might be expected. But the products that have gained particular traction are the ones that consumers can see fitting into their everyday lives. Just think about thermostats, smart toasters and coffeemakers. So, it makes sense that this tendency will keep increasing this year. There will be improved climate control in our houses. Security systems managed remotely, smart TVs, and maybe even smart cars.
Because, until IoT starts to convince backers and consumers of its potential, the focus will remain on where it is seeing adoption. People need solutions that make their lives easier. Just imagine your fridge connecting with a supermarket and automatically ordering products for you when you’re getting low. You just need a robotic housekeeper standing by to unpack the produce for you and you’ll never have to look at the contents of your fridge again!
2. IoT marketplaces will appear
IoT won’t just be directed at consumers, but can be extremely useful behind the scenes for B2B companies as well. Acting like gateways that provide companies the ability to interact with a wide range of vendors. They no longer need to use a new platform or change their existing one to connect with multiple suppliers.
What does this mean for industrial businesses? IoT can greatly help them to modernize their tools and automate their processes, such as inventory checks. IoT technology can notify suppliers when new products are needed. This will cut down on manual work and time when equipment needs repairing. Inanimate shovels and diggers now have the capability of reporting when they need repairing, servicing or replacing.
IoT can also help companies find utility for their products, rather like Uber and Airbnb do for consumers. When a company’s industrial equipment is lying idle, it can be rented out to another company through the IoT marketplace. This maximizes use and reduces downtime of costly equipment.
3. Big Data and IoT – A match made in heaven
Artificial intelligence is already on the top of everyone’s agenda, especially when it comes to Big Data. Smart companies are already harnessing the power of predictive analytics to gain deeper insights on their customers. They can break down tons of useful information and offer laser-sharp targeting. Now just picture this efficiency of information coupling with IoT.
One of IoT’s biggest strengths lies in its vast cloud platforms. These cloud platforms enable companies to house huge amounts of information. Just think about the stock of every person’s refrigerator in the Unites States, if you need an idea on how much! When it comes to Big Data, IoT’s analytic algorithms are key to providing businesses with key information on their target audiences.
This kind of partnership is starting to give bricks and mortar retailers an equal footing when it comes to online sellers. AI technology combined with cloud storage allows them to target offers to their customers easily. They can use facial recognition technology to recall every transaction a customer has made in-store and target offers to them. They can track your movements as you move through the aisles. If you spend a longer than average time looking at a certain product, the retailer can target you with an offer on your favorite browser or social media platform.
4. Powering machine learning forward
Machine learning is where computers are taught to replicate the activity and functions of the human brain. And IoT can help to accelerate machine learning through its ability to connect multiple devices together. Large amounts of data can be shared simultaneously to speed up machine learning and make computers more intelligent.
Why is this so important? Because by connecting various devices, IoT capability allows for even more patterns to be thrown up. This means that programs and AI applications can get smarter and eliminate the scope for human error when it comes to carrying out many everyday tasks. If you’re worried about being replaced by a robot, the chances are that AI and IoT combined will mean an adjustment in skill sets is needed as we move into the future.
5. Improved security measures all round
One of the biggest barriers to the expansion of IoT is concerns over security breaches. We all remember the hacked security cameras disaster of 2016. This year, we’re likely to see a much greater focus on ensuring that the intelligent devices around us are not threatening our cyber security. Having everything connected on the web and all our personal information stored in the cloud means we need to know our data is secure. This also means that security startups will be in their heyday this year preventing the threat from hackers.
One example of an IoT security solution is Blockchain. This technology speeds up transactions and heightens security. Many IoT apps are adopting Blockchain to offer the security their consumers need in terms of data protection and financial transactions. And this year many copycat firms will start appearing to compete with Blockchain and improve on its security measures.
You might not be aware of it yet and maybe IoT hasn’t made any particular noticeable inroads where you live. But, there’s an awful lot of work going on behind the scenes. This will improve customer service, B2B transactions, and generally make our lives easier and more secure. As more and more businesses and consumers begin to see IoT as a useful and essential part of their everyday lives, this year IoT can only keep rising. So, watch this space!