HomeINTERNET OF THINGSWhat Are The Prospects For The IoT?

What Are The Prospects For The IoT?

IoT devices are ubiquitous, but we are still far from the goal. The future of IoT predicts steady growth, with over 27 billion devices online by 2025. Several trends are influencing this growth:

  1. The IoT market has matured to the point where regulations and standards are emerging to align with.
  2. Moore’s Law is not dead, and IoT devices continue to get more powerful and more efficient.
  3. Other technologies that complement the IoT, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), 5G, and SD-WAN, are also becoming a reality.

In the following sections, we’ll dig deeper and examine five trends to understand the future of IoT.

Increased IoT Security And Regulatory Requirements

As the IoT market matures, we see increased regulation of the security of IoT devices. California’s SB-327 Law, also known as “The Default Password,” is a prime example. The idea behind SB-327 and other similar regulations is straightforward: default passwords = devices that are easy to compromise.

The Law requires passwords on all network-connected devices, including IoT devices, to be unique or send a change to the initial login. By requiring manufacturers to create unique device passwords or force a login change, the Law makes it more difficult for botnets to grow. Let’s focus on what practical impacts network engineers can expect to see in managing their IoT device networks:

  1. Encryption everywhere: This is already a standard for you. But if it’s not, expect regulations and default device configurations to push you towards encryption (e.g., HTTPS instead of HTTP, SNMP v3 instead of v1/v2c, MQTTS instead of MQTT, etc.).
  2. Certified Authentication: Passwords are a necessary evil in IT. They have flaws, but the industry still needs to provide viable alternatives. Certificate-based authentication helps (somewhat) move away from password-based authentication, and many smart device manufacturers already use PKI and X.509 certificate technologies.
  3. Increased standardization of IoT security: Some of the security innovations in IoT mean more work for IT. Today, the NIST Cybersecurity for IoT program and ENISA best practices for IoT security are great places to start if you’re learning about IoT security. In all likelihood, we will see more standardization soon.

From The IoT To The IoT Edge

Since this is an article on internet trends, it’s a must to mention its benefits (and we’re sure this is the first one you hear about). From smart cities to wearable devices and industrial manufacturing, the need is to process data as close to the source as possible. And fortunately, IoT devices (the head in this case) are becoming more efficient at processing data.

At the same time, 5G is emerging as a high-throughput transport mode for IoT data to create a reality where use cases previously limited by bandwidth, processing power, or network agility will all become possible. Many of these examples fall under the multi-access edge computing (MEC) umbrella. 

Practical examples of MEC applications are fleet management for autonomous vehicles, traffic management, and the most diverse augmented reality experiences, from advertising to games (such as Pokemon Go). For network managers, supporting these edge use cases will require a more dynamic approach to network infrastructure, IP address management (or even just looking up IP addresses in an IoT network), and performance monitoring. Not only are there multiple endpoints to manage, but IoT endpoints can be mobile, and with SD-WAN, the underlying transport medium connecting them can vary.

IoT Marketplaces Will Continue To Grow

For IoT deployments, getting the correct implementation specs can be challenging. IT teams can only be experts on some specific use cases. The requirements for an industrial application differ from those for wearable devices, which are, in turn, different for smart medical devices. Marketplaces today are already making it easier to implement production-grade IoT systems. Some examples include:

  1. Cloud service providers, such as AWS, have ready-made IoT cloud solutions.
  2. Telecom companies like AT&T have begun building IoT-focused marketplaces to create a central hub to find everything from IoT hardware to development kits.

These marketplaces reduce the complexity of building IoT systems from scratch: you’ll find kits to help you get started on the right foot. While turnkey solutions are only sometimes viable, marketplaces remove much of the initial friction from solution design to implementation.

IoT And AI

AIoT is the relevant buzzword, but let’s focus on the technology. Most IoT implementations are about analyzing data to make more informed decisions. AI and ML can dramatically improve the analytics process and learn from the IoT data they generate. Some of the most exciting emerging AI and IoT trends are:

  1. Visual inspections: We’re getting to the point where IoT systems can aggregate high-quality data using ML and artificial vision for use cases like visual inspection: looking for package damage or product defects.
  2. Traffic Management: IoT leveraging artificial intelligence is an integral part of innovative city applications – traffic management is a prime example. With a plan to combine CCTV with AI and IoT in its traffic management system, New Delhi, India, is one of the first cities to take advantage of this technology. In the years to come, expect to see more and more cities follow suit.
  3. Advanced Wearable Technology: More wearable devices increase the possibilities for health, fitness, education, and more applications. Applying AI and ML to biometric data can improve the quality of information on everything from exercise routines to the effectiveness of medical treatment. AI can make learning more engaging in IT by leveraging gamification and AR/VR experiences. A big challenge, however, is ensuring that the network is complete and that the performance is sufficient to support near-real-time data transmissions. Proactive network monitoring and granular network visibility are essential.

The Rise Of The Smart Industry

Suppose you needed words like Industry 4.0, IoT, and Smart Industry to complete your bingo card. Congratulations! These are precisely the sectors that are expected to grow dramatically.

ALSO READ: What Is IoT? Why Is IoT Attracting Attention?

Some of the industry use cases are:

  1. Predictive Maintenance: Smart sensors can help plant managers proactively maintain factory equipment (which is very expensive). How much impact can IoT have? An article from McKinzie Digital reports that sensor data can cut unplanned downtime in half and reduce maintenance costs by up to 40%.
  2. Make the use of equipment more efficient: The IoT offers plant managers better visibility into production. This, in turn, allows for more efficient load balancing between equipment and facilities and even opportunities for better, more sustainable, and more efficient manufacturing options.
  3. Improve supply chain management: The IoT can optimize many aspects of supply chains. The right sensor network helps reduce waste by ensuring products are shipped and stored in the proper environmental conditions, streamlining workflows, inventory management, and transportation operations. In all of these cases, it’s easy to draw a straight line between IoT and business benefits. Supply chains, in particular, are likely to see significant innovation in the years to come because we are at a fascinating point in their history. In addition to the technology reaching a flashpoint, the industry is learning to adapt to recent shortcomings that have challenged the concept of “just in time.”
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