The year 2020 changed everyone’s life in more ways than one, but the common thread that binds us all is that we are unsure about the future. We saw that the pandemic pushed back most of our plans and the global economy. However, one thing that saw growth during this period and is expected to maintain the growth momentum is the digital transformation of the enterprises. This was made possible with support from advanced technologies like the cloud, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data and more. With the innovative ways that enterprises are now adopting to succeed in ‘The New Normal’, we predict that the importance of IoT will further increase this year.
Based on the most recent IoT trends, here are the top 8 IoT predictions in 2021:
Top IoT predictions
1. There will be more connected healthcare solutions in 2021
As per the predictions by Allied Market Research, the worldwide Internet of Things (IoT) market in healthcare is estimated to be worth $136.8 billion by 2021. The COVID-19 outrage has significantly aided its market expansion in the healthcare industry. However, there are some market challenges ahead, such as security.
Due to coronavirus, it is important that a large number of people stay at home (for isolation or quarantine). This has given rise to the need for advanced and connected healthcare solutions that professionals can use to manage illness and monitor the health of their patients, who are at remote locations.
There are already existing IoT applications that find usage within the health professionals such as wearable devices, sensors etc. for remote monitoring of patients and smart beds. These will become more advanced and will tell professionals all the details about their patients in real-time. This information collected in the cloud and made available to the health practitioner will help in accurate diagnosis and treatment.
2. Security will be the prime focus in IoT
As mentioned above, security is a big threat as there is an exponential growth in the number of IoT devices. They are vulnerable due to outdated software, weak passwords, and open APIs.
IoT devices normally handle huge amounts of data, which include sensitive information of the users. An insecure IoT device can make this data vulnerable to theft. The situation can be grimmer as an insecure medical IoT device like a pacemaker, heart monitor etc. can pose threat to the life of the patient.
With the IoT devices becoming advanced, threats have also evolved and become sophisticated. They are also vulnerable to cyberattacks like spamming, phishing and DDoS attacks.
In 2021 and beyond, it will be important for IoT vendors and device manufacturers to build solutions with high-security features to gain customer and business trust.
3. IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) will find increased acceptance
Last year, we saw that businesses that had already implemented IIoT technology witnessed streamlined factory operations and thus, benefits. Of all, manufacturing, logistics and supply chain management were the major beneficiaries. It helped organizations with the following:
- Track inventories in real-time.
- Allow yields to be tracked.
- Allow server downtime monitoring.
- Check machinery and anticipate problems before they develop.
- Connect managers to the factory floor for improved visibility.
Such benefits have helped accelerate the growth in IIoT, with overall spending in this sector expected to grow to $123.9 billion in 2021.
IIoT has paved way for advanced applications in smart factories. We are seeing innovations around it every day, and we do not expect it to stop anytime soon.
[Also on Wire19: Augmented reality trends for 2021]
4. IoT will see huge investment in retail sector
According to a report by MarketsandMarkets, “The global Internet of Things (IoT) in retail market size is expected to grow from USD 14.5 billion in 2020 to USD 35.5 billion by 2025, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 19.6% during the forecast period. Key factors driving the growth of the market include rapidly declining cost of IoT sensors and hardware, customer demand for a seamless shopping experience, and increasing adoption of smart payment solutions.”
Retail companies are entrusting IoT to get greater visibility in their supply chain operations, real-time management of inventories, and optimizing product selections to provide a higher level of customer service.
In 2021, we can expect to see retail models like automated supermarkets with contactless payment options. Other developments in the retail sector are: introduction of new AI cameras, POS systems, cloud integration, for example, recently H&M introduced fashionable bracelets for their employees connected to Azure cloud to enable employees to receive customer requests on real-time basis.
5. There will be connected transportation solutions
IoT in the transportation space is already a huge success. WBOC reported that the global IoT market in the transportation sector was USD 172.96 billion in 2020 and is estimated to reach USD 270.95 billion by 2026.
In the transportation sector, IoT devices are deployed in several areas:
- Traffic management systems
- Inventory management systems
- Telematics systems
- Security and surveillance
This year, we will see more advancements in the transportation space, such as smart parking, smart accident assistance, automated tolls, apps that control brakes and engines, and systems that provide personalized travel information.
6. IoT will help shape smart cities
Smart cities, an area of IoT technology implementation, have started trending over the recent years. Smart cities utilize IoT devices like connected lights, meters etc. for collecting and analyzing data. This data is then used for making the public utilities and infrastructure better. The coronavirus pandemic stressed on the need for the city and its citizens to be kept safe.
Few benefits of IoT in smart cities, especially in the new normal:
- Fever screening
- Remote health monitoring
- Pollution control
- Air quality checks
- Social distancing
- Smart parking
- Water safety
7. IoT will enable better workforce management
The pandemic accelerated spending on a number of technologies ranging from automation to AI to 5G and blockchain. With their growing use, along with IoT, companies will now be able to optimize their remote workforce management.
In 2021, more companies will be adopting IoT devices to monitor employees’ attendance and their scheduled tasks. The data from these devices can also be used to monitor the safety of employees; this can be further integrated and accessed in the cloud.
Further, IoT will help organizations succeed in the new remote work era:
- It will enable businesses to provide skill-based virtual training to workforce.
- Remote asset management.
- Smart devices will help security teams to work remotely.
- 5G and IoT will help organizations in gaining remote robotic control for machine repair.
[Also on Wire19: Top 10 predictions for the cloud providers in 2021]
8. IoT will change the customer service
This year, one area that will take advantage of the increased use of IoT technology is ‘Customer Service’. Achieving complete visibility of a customer through real-time data will introduce smarter problem-solving in the customer service space. This will be done through bot-based and human-based interactions.
IoT is useful in improving customer service by providing the necessary information. It can also automate the customer support system.
Here, IoT will be used in mainly three ways:
- Gaining insights to improve service delivery.
- Automatic detection of customer problems and smart issue resolution.
- Enhancing CRM management system.
The pandemic is continuing in 2021 as well, and thus, businesses have to rely on advanced technological solutions for business continuity. This is generating new opportunities in the IoT space.
Cloud vendors are working to incorporate IoT for finding better solutions for the customers. IoT providers are shifting focus towards developing security enabled IoT solutions, and thus, we expect to see increased trust in the IoT solutions which can pave the way for innovation in the new world.
Hope you like our top 8 IoT predictions. Have something to add here? Share in the comments below.
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