Over the last five years, Internet of Things (IoT) has been rapidly moving beyond the hype. It is entering a much more pragmatic and operational phase. According to Gartner, there will more than 20.4 billion connected devices all over the world by 2020.
IoT will enable new revenue streams, business models, new experiences and relationships over the next decade. To make the best out of it, CIOs and other IoT leaders will have to prioritize all potential IoT opportunities within the organization through the lens of business return, in terms of both absolute value and time to value.
“The IoT will continue to deliver new opportunities for digital business innovation for the next decade, many of which will be enabled by new or improved technologies,” said Nick Jones, research vice president at Gartner. “CIOs who master innovative IoT trends have the opportunity to lead digital innovation in their business.”
By 2023, the average CIO will be responsible for more than three times as many endpoints as this year. Therefore, they must make sure that they possess the important skills and partners to support top emerging IoT trends and technologies.
Below are the top 10 strategic IoT Technologies and Trends that will drive business innovation from 2018 through 2023.
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
There will be 14.2 billion connected devices in use by 2019, further the count reaching 25 billion by 2021. These devices will generate massive volume of data. Nick Jones said that data is the fuel that will power the IoT and the ability of organization to derive meaning from it.
Organizations will implement AI to a broad range of IoT information, such as video, still images, speech, network traffic activity and sensor data.
Several IT vendors are investing significantly in AI, its variants, and new AI-based tools and services. AI landscape is complex and is expected to remain so till 2023. Despite the complexity, organizations will be able to derive good results with AI in several IoT situations.
Therefore, CIOs should build an organization with the tools and skills to exploit AI in their IoT strategy.
2. Social, Legal and Ethical IoT
The importance of a broad range of social, legal and ethical issues will grow, as IoT technology matures and spreads more widely. The issues can include ownership of data and the deductions from it, algorithmic bias, privacy, and compliance with regulations like GDPR.
“Successful deployment of an IoT solution demands that it’s not just technically effective but also socially acceptable,” said Mr. Jones.
“CIOs must, therefore, educate themselves and their staff in this area, and consider forming groups, such as ethics councils, to review corporate strategy. CIOs should also consider having key algorithms and AI systems reviewed by external consultancies to identify potential bias.”
3. Infonomics and Data Broking
Gartner finds that the buying and selling of IoT data will become a key part of the IoT systems by 2023. In 2017, 35% of organizations were selling or planning to sell data collected by their products and services. More and more organizations are seeing this theory as a strategic business asset to be recorded in company accounts.
CIOs will need to educate their organizations on the risks and opportunities related to data broking. It will help them set the IT policies in this area and to advise other parts of the organization.
4. Shift from Intelligent Edge to Intelligent Mesh
Organizations are moving from centralized and cloud to edge architectures in the IoT arena. However, the layers related with edge architecture will transform to a more unstructured architecture that will include broad range of things connected in a dynamic mesh.
The mesh architectures will enable more flexible, intelligent and responsive IoT systems. Gartner suggested that CIOs must prepare for the impact of mesh architectures on IT infrastructure, skills, and sourcing.
5. IoT Governance
As IoT covers more ground, the importance of a governance framework will increase. The IoT governance will ensure the right behavior in creation, storage, use and deletion of information related to IoT projects.
CIOs will need to educate their organizations on governance issues and invest in staff and technologies to handle governance.
6. Sensor innovation
As the sensor market evolves in coming years, the price of current sensors will decline, or they will be packaged in new ways to support new applications. There will be new sensors in the market to enable a broad range of situations and events to be detected.
CIOs will need to ensure that their teams are monitoring sensor innovations to identify the ones that can assist business innovation.
7. Novel IoT user experiences
A lot of technologies and designs come under IoT user experience. Gartner said that new sensors, new algorithms, new experience architectures and context, and social aware experiences will drive the IoT user experience.
There are several IoT devices that don’t have keyboards and screens. This will require UX designers in organizations to use new technologies and adopt new perspectives. This will allow them to create high-quality UX that can reduce friction, lock in users, and drive usage and retention.
8. Silicon chip innovation
New special-purpose silicon chips will optimize power consumption for DNN. It will enable new edge architectures and embedded DNN functions in low-power IoT endpoints.
Such chips will support new capabilities like data analytics integrated with sensors, and speech recognition in low cost battery-powered devices.
CIOs will have to take note of this trend as silicon chips enabling functions will in turn allow organizations create highly innovative products and services.
“Currently, most IoT endpoint devices use conventional processor chips, with low-power ARM architectures being particularly popular. However, traditional instruction sets, and memory architectures aren’t well-suited to all the tasks that endpoints need to perform,” said Mr. Jones.
“For example, the performance of deep neural networks (DNNs) is often limited by memory bandwidth, rather than processing power.”
9. Trusted hardware and operating system
The organizations that deploy IoT systems consider security as the most important area of technical concern. It is because they often can’t control the source and nature of the software and hardware used in IoT systems.
“However, by 2023, we expect to see the deployment of hardware and software combinations that together create more trustworthy and secure IoT systems,” said Mr. Jones.
“We advise CIOs to collaborate with chief information security officers to ensure the right staff are involved in reviewing any decisions that involve purchasing IoT devices and embedded operating systems.”
10. New wireless networking technologies for IoT
IoT networking includes balancing a set of competing requirements, like endpoint cost, power consumption, bandwidth, latency, connection density, quality of service, etc.
A single networking technology can’t optimize all these requirements. CIOs will need to consider new IoT networking technologies for additional choice and flexibility.
Suggested reading: 10 hottest trends that will impact the future of digital commerce
Full “Top Strategic IoT Trends and Technologies Through 2023” report is available here for Gartner clients.