We are knee-deep in the digital transformation and all the wonders that are coming with it.
The Internet of Things has made a groundbreaking impact on the way we live and work so far. The year 2018 has been especially fascinating, with the number of connected devices increasing at record rates, and new use cases frequently emerging. Almost every major industry is investing its resources into IoT with the ultimate aim to engage in the digital transformation as soon and as smoothly as possible. The industries who fail to build competitive advantage in the IoT market risk commoditisation and loss of business.
This proves that being a part of IoT is no longer desirable, but rather a strategic necessity.
Accordingly, IoT has been making big waves in 2018 with numerous trends emerging across industries worldwide. In this article, we will reflect on the year behind us and single out the trends that have had the biggest impact on business and consumers.
Check out top stories in the world of IoT in 2018:
1. IoT as a Norm in the World of Digital
Throughout 2018, IoT adoption has increased. Customers have a better understanding of the necessary investments and more realistic expectations about the returns they can expect today than they had two years ago. According to Statista, almost 90% of senior executives in technology, media and telecommunications industries say IoT is critical to some or all lines of their business.
Still, the biggest obstacle to IoT adoption is understanding the technology. In 2018, IoT got easier! This is highly beneficial for most businesses which need to focus on their business goals and are desperately seeking simplified and secure IoT solutions.
The year 2018 has also seen the expansion of various innovative IoT use-cases including:
- Fleet Management and Asset Tracking - with LPWA and other IoT technologies enabling different remote monitoring use cases, these two are among the fastest growing IoT applications.
- Industrial IoT - Businesses are increasingly exploring the IoT for industrial use cases, including industrial automation and predictive maintenance.
- Smart Retail and Hospitality - new IoT solutions are allowing retailers and hoteliers to accelerate their digital transformation which ultimately leads to reducing their costs and providing consumers and guests with a better experience.
It’s exhilarating to see all the building blocks of a business ecosystem coming together and making an ideal grounds for developing the world full of IoT opportunities.
2. Massive Adoption of IoT Platforms
It is now clear that IoT is becoming an essential ingredient of every successful business as more and more decision-makers already use or are planning to use IoT-enabled applications over the next two years. However, with new technologies arising at a fast pace, decision-makers need to deal with a variety of protocols, software, applications, fragmented sets of hardware as well as analytics solutions.
Although all these issues are slowing down IoT adoption, strong IoT application enablement platforms are addressing them and helping businesses build, secure, connect and manage IoT enabled technology on a grand scale. They are also making it easier to try out new use cases and scale up quickly. The year 2018 has seen a significant breakthrough in the adoption of IoT platforms.
3. IoT & Blockchain Convergence as a “New Hope” for Security
Security remains one of the top barriers of IoT adoption. With the new technological inventions, devices are easily targeted by cyber-criminals causing consumers to worry about the security of the data. And we all know the data is the lifeblood of every enterprise. In the light of these events, people started to recognise Blockchain as a “new hope” for IoT security.
This resulted in a growing interest in Blockchain technology throughout 2018. This explains why, recently, IoT came into focus of the Blockchain community with various partnerships that blockchain development companies have established with some of the most prominent players from multiple industries.
One example is the supply chain track-and-trace capability. One of the challenges in the supply chain industry is the lack of visibility - the difficulty of knowing where the product is at the given moment. However, visibility offers only a partial solution. Device data stored in a central database that is neither accessible to other stakeholders nor trusted by them has limited capacity to ease supply chain pain points and drive economic efficiencies. That’s where blockchain comes in and why it will prove so valuable to a wide variety of businesses. Blockchain helps unlock the potential of IoT by introducing a shared, distributed ledger into the equation ensuring the security, trustworthiness and privacy of data.
These technologies could help companies reduce their dependence on intermediaries, minimise delays, and enable more efficient batching and routing. All of this could deliver substantial returns and, at the same time, allow companies to focus on their business value.
This encouraged many manufacturers and vendors to start competing for labels like “Blockchain Certified”.
4. Healthcare IoT Is on the Rise
Over the years, we’ve seen vast improvements in the healthcare industry due to a large number of connected devices which were implemented. Last year, the partnership between healthcare and IoT was the most impactful than ever. From remotely tracking and responding to patient’s health conditions to predicting equipment failures before they happen, IoT started to make a significant impact on the healthcare industry.
A wide range of smart healthcare use cases are currently being developed:
- Remote tracking of patient’s health statistics
- Chronic disease management
- Medical equipment monitoring and maintenance
- Remote tracking and management of the hospital inventory
- Cold chain monitoring (ensuring the quality of vaccines)
- Emergency transport management via connected ambulances
- Assisted living and disability support
Digitally transformed hospitals can significantly improve the health service as well as the patients’ well-being on a global level.
5. The Arrival of GDPR
Definitely, one of the biggest topics of 2018 is the introduction of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).
To satisfy the GDPR, companies must understand:
- Where the enterprise stores personal data objects
- What applications and services leverage that data
- Which users access that data
In the light of the events, cloud environments, applications, learning platforms, analytics platforms, databases and file systems are all subject to GDPR standards.
As the GDPR is about data privacy and the protection of personal data, it’s clear why many businesses had to look at it especially if they had an Internet of Things project where personal data is involved.
That’s why, in 2018, many vendors of IoT Platforms have focused their efforts into leveraging partners and internal development teams to create adaptive solutions that meet the business needs and achieve GDPR compliance.
WolkAbout IoT Platform has followed the same path. Its robust information security is highly customisable to meet business needs. On top of that, it provides end-to-end data protection ensuring that the personal data is not accessible to unauthorised viewers. In other words, it is GDPR compliant.
These robust platform features enable companies to identify risk areas managed by GDPR and therefore streamline processes and cut down on the time they need to become GDPR compliant.
These basic guidelines should help you understand the complexity of GDPR and make sure your information is handled responsibly.
6. Better IoT Expertise Is On-Demand
The fast growth of IoT on large-scale projects has created a growing demand in IoT expertise. Educational institutions are already offering degrees with a focus on IoT technology, and a majority of tech educated people are already looking for ways how to upgrade their IoT knowledge.
Organisations looking for a vendor that will help them build their IoT solution are looking to hire more experienced individuals and pay higher salaries. As the analysis becomes more complex, more and more organisations recognise the need to discuss data and data management at the very top. In the light of the events, it is predicted that 2019 will see the rapid growth of Chief Data Officer roles.
7. LoRa as a Current Market Leader
Out of all LPWAN technologies, LoRa is emerging as the fastest growing one. It is a current market leader and a key growth driver in 2018 in terms of end-user, adoption and ecosystem support.
What caused a bigger deployment of LoRaWAN networks?
At the beginning of 2017, network operators such as Telstra and AT&T announced the termination of 2G and GPRS. This led to a need for a protocol that catered to low power, long range and bi-directional communication devices which consequently brought LoRa to the spotlight.
Although LoRa is a current market leader, IoT Analytics reports that NB-IoT is growing faster and is even expected to surpass LoRa at the beginning of 2019, after which it will continue to be a leader for many years to come. Also, according to the report, both NB-IoT and LoRa are currently making about 70% of the market and are expected to grow their share to almost 85% within the next five years.
On the other hand, the newest IoT Analytics report points out that 5G is the most important connectivity initiative and one of the most discussed trends of 2018 as it promises a step a change in speed and latency. In June last year, the 5G standard was completed (although some functional revisions are still expected to happen until March 2019 at the earliest), and in October 2018, the first 5G network was switched on.
The Future of IoT Looks Bright!
As 2018 is drawing to a close, we can’t help but wonder what new IoT trends await us in the upcoming 2019. One thing is certain - companies which decide to embrace IoT now and take the full advantage of IoT opportunities stand the most.
From hardware provisioning to data visualisation, WolkAbout provides a future-proof IoT platform together with the needed support, so you can focus on moving your business forward. Are you ready to get started with WolkAbout IoT Platform and reap the many rewards of digital transformation?
Join WolkAbout community and create something amazing!
Bosche, A. (2018, August 7). Unlocking Opportunities in the Internet of Things [Web log post]. Retrieved Jan 3, 2019, from https://www.bain.com/insights/unlocking-opportunities-in-the-internet-of-things/
Digiteum (2018, October 8). Key IoT Trends Observed in 2018 [Web log post]. Retrieved Jan 3, 2019, from https://www.iotforall.com/key-iot-trends-2018/
Lueth, K. L. (2019, January 2). IoT 2018 in Review: The 10 Most Relevant IoT Developments of the Year [Web log post]. Retrieved Jan 3, 2019, from https://iot-analytics.com/iot-2018-in-review/
Pasqua, E. (2018, September 27). LPWAN emerging as fastest growing IoT communication technology – 1.1 billion IoT connections expected by 2023, LoRa and NB-IoT the current market leaders [Web log post]. Retrieved Jan 3, 2019, from https://iot-analytics.com/lpwan-market-report-2018-2023-new-report
Statista (2018). Importance of, confidence in, and investment plan for Internet-of-Things (IoT) in organizations worldwide as of 2018, by industry. Retrieved Jan 3, 2019, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/945058/worldwide-iot-importance-digital-trust-industry/