What a year!
It’s been a true digital transformation. From the rise of 5G to the growing impact of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), we’ve seen many trends heating up the competitive waters for industrial companies in 2019. Almost every industry has taken a giant leap on their digital transformation journey and this continues apace.
Now it’s time to refresh our minds and reflect on the major game-changing trends we were facing in the year 2019.
While a few of the 2019 trends build on the trends of 2018 we wrote about last year, there are still some groundbreaking additions we’ll review in this post.
So, let’s dive in!
IoT Much More
In 2019, the IoT phenomenon finally moved from a “hype” state to the “norm” state. According to Forrester research, around 85% of businesses are already using or planning to implement IoT. As the IoT grows, and the number of connected devices skyrockets, it makes perfect sense that businesses started looking for infrastructures that would be able to handle this huge amount of data. This is why edge computing went mainstream in 2019. Instead of using a big cloud and enterprise data centres to manage and analyse the data, through edge computing, it is generated, collected and analysed close to the data source, i.e. IoT sensors and devices. This means that analytics and data is not just processing - they are processing in real time. In other words, there’s much more IoT going on across industries. Plus, the rise of 5G has expanded the scope and availability of IoT by making it more efficient due to one key feature - ultra-low latency.
In business, two industries benefited the most from digitalisation in 2019:
- Manufacturing - businesses became aware of the value of connected machinery capable of reporting every detail of its operations.
- Energy Management - companies started embracing smart metering that allows them to magnify energy efficiency, minimise outages, and develop responsible usage habits.
It seems IoT is getting down to business and isn’t planning to stop here.
The Rise of 5G
There’s a good reason why 5G is at the top of advancements for the digitisation initiatives in 2019. It’s specifically designed for various vertical IoT use cases with demanding requirements, including millisecond latencies, gigabit data rates, ultra-high network reliability and massive connection density.
Without a doubt, this innovative technology will bring a revolution and emancipate the IoT by enabling a faster and smoother flow of data and providing solutions to industry players. As a matter of fact, one of the latest IoT Analytics studies revealed 44 different IoT use cases and estimates that they will account for 76M 5G connections by 2025. On the device side, we saw the first 5G-capable models land in the market.
Also, we witnessed some of the major companies making it possible to roll out 5G to both rural and urban locations. This paves the way for 5G providers to start offering newer, cooler, more innovative services for mobile users.
However, we’ve only scratched the surface as many brands are yet to launch 5G in their range. Still, it’s an exciting start for a 5G future.
The Power of Digital Twins
Based on Gartner’s Top 10 strategic technologies for 2019, a digital twin technology, also known as a hybrid twin or virtual prototyping, was a big thing in 2019. At its simplest, a digital twin is a virtual replica of a physical process, product or a system. It connects the digital and virtual world by collecting real-time data from the installed sensors. This data is then used to create a digital duplicate of the item, allowing it to be understood, analysed, optimised and evaluated. Finally, the integration of data into virtual and real representations helps in optimising the performance of real assets. This allows organisations to understand or even predict the physical counterpart. An interesting fact is that this trend started to gain attraction since the rapid rise of IIoT. Plus, it also integrates technologies like AI and ML enabling organisations to test new ideas, identify the problems before they occur and get new answers to old questions.
Digital Twin technology will surely continue to make waves in the years ahead of us. According to IDC, by 2020, 30 % of G2000 companies will be using data from advanced digital twins to drive greater success with product innovations. In fact, from mining, oil and gas to transport and retail, many industries are already using this technology to monitor assets and data flow.
For companies which have started their digital transformation journey, exploring the potential of digital twins is imperative.
The Growing Impact of IIoT
Here’s the thing: Industrial companies are implementing solutions to digitise their legacy architecture at record paces. IIoT platforms are providing must-have capabilities to manage these increasingly heterogeneous environments. What’s more, the cloud is taking these deployments a step forward with the scalable infrastructure to more efficiently manage IIoT connections, at a facility-to-facility and global level.
Also, If you’ve been following the tech community, you’ll have seen that industrial companies see sustainability as a strategic initiative and are embracing technologies that enable it. In its core, IoT-powered sensors identify the areas in which energy is being overused or under-used, thus enabling intelligent optimisation and reduction of costs.
IIoT is changing the industry and will continue to do so in every sense of the word. Currently, over 40% of IoT devices available today are being used in business and manufacturing and by 2025, the number of these devices is expected to exceed 75 billion.
In the year 2019, some of the IIoT use cases like condition-based monitoring, supply chain management, asset tracking, remote equipment management and factory automation caught more interest than others.
There’s no doubt that the next decade will see great changes and disruption in industrial organisations’ processes leading them to their digital reinvention. Being part of this journey is no longer desirable - it’s a necessity.
Cloud Computing: Connected Clouds in the Spotlight
It was a banner year for Cloud Computing. A mix of workloads running in public, private and hybrid environments was a huge topic in 2019. In a nutshell, companies began to realise that going all public cloud, private cloud or data centre isn’t always the best option, as cloud storage requires a lot of bandwidth while accessing data. So, they started opting for a mix of all or both. Thus, the term multi-cloud was the buzzword for the cloud conversation in 2019.
The annual RightScale State of the Cloud Report points out that the use of multiple clouds is by far the most common pattern among enterprises with the hybrid cloud model being adopted by nearly 60% of respondents. The biggest benefit of this shift is that it allows enterprises to utilise applications in a seamless, secure and streamlined way. Given the current state in the market, this trend will continue to be a hot topic in 2020.
Digital Partnerships: a Key to Effective IIoT Implementation
With the latest advances in the world of digital, throughout the year, we were seeing more and more vendors looking for strategic partnerships that would give them access to all the complementary technologies.
The fact is, no company can create a digital solution alone. On the other hand, a right partnership allows vendors to expand use cases out of incubation zones and into the real world. This is why an increasing number of industrial companies are turning to technology partners to achieve “digital momentum”, develop new business models and bring value to customers. Plus, it’s a win-win situation - it allows both the vendor and its technology partner to build “better together” solutions, capture value quickly and speed up time-to-market.
Do note that, to unlock the true potential of digital technologies, vendors should carefully choose partners that offer 80% of any digital solution, all the services and the most efficient support.
WolkAbout also recognises the power of building strong alliances with top market-proven digital players, which is why we are continuously expanding our partnership network.
Are You Taking Your Digital Transformation Journey?
There is no denying that 2019 has been a busy year - and as for 2020, only time will tell what’s next.
Hopefully, these top trends can serve as a sort of a compass for organisations looking to move their business and digital transformation forward.
So, are these trends impacting YOUR business? What’s your vision for digital transformation? What challenges are you facing?
To learn how to leverage the power of digital and drive innovation across your enterprise, reach out to us! Our experts are at your side!
In the meantime, learn all you need to know about how WolkAbout can help you simplify your digital reinvention by downloading our brochure.
Pasqua, E. (September, 2019). 5G Market Report 2019-2025. Retrieved Dec 29, 2019 from https://iot-analytics.com/product/5g-market-report-2019-2025/
Panetta, K. (October, 2018). Gartner Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2019. Retrieved Dec 29, 2019 from https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/gartner-top-10-strategic-technology-trends-for-2019/
Flexera, (February, 2019). 2019 State of the Cloud Report: See the Latest Cloud Trends. Retrieved Dec 30, 2019 from https://www.flexera.com/blog/cloud/2019/02/cloud-computing-trends-2019-state-of-the-cloud-survey/
Violino, B. (November, 2018). Digital Transformation in 2019: AI, Robotics and IoT to play starring roles. Retrieved Dec 29, 2019 from https://www.zdnet.com/article/digital-transformation-in-2019-ai-robotics-and-iot-to-play-starring-roles/