When consumers hear about “the internet of things,” they likely think of smart appliances, fitness trackers and intelligent home assistants like Amazon Echo. While such novelties have been hot holiday items, the IoT has broader industrial applications that can help businesses better meet the needs and desires of their consumers in 2018.
“The term internet of things refers to the vast array of products in existence today that can connect us all to one another via the internet,” explains Jason Hope. “This vast sea of things that can be connected to the internet, and by extension connect us to other things and people, has grown extensively over recent years.”
A respected technology entrepreneur and investor from Arizona, Hope brands himself as a futurist, so he’s primarily concerned about how the IoT is evolving and what it means for consumers and businesses. Below are some predictions for 2018, many of which are discussed at length in his new ebook titled “Understanding the Internet-of-Things Revolution: A Quick Guide for Thriving in the IoT Era.”
Jason Hope’s IoT Predictions for 2018
The Widespread Commercialization of IoT Data
While almost half of American companies already commercialize the data they collect from customers, businesses in Europe have lagged behind in this area. That will change when the European Commission issues new guidelines to encourage the practice. Although wearable IoT devices may remain a niche industry in 2018, companies all around the world will get smarter about using IoT data for marketing purposes.
More Intelligent AI
Now that Alexa and Siri are household names, expect more specialized intelligent agents to start popping up. Improvements in voice recognition technology will increase consumer confidence and thereby increase demand. Expect more AI assistants to incorporate machine learning to further personalize user experiences.
Moving Closer to the Edge
Thanks to hyperscale clouds and fog computing, companies will start moving more of their IoT-related business processes from in-house data centers to edge servers. That way, IoT devices can perform faster using data they generate locally while still relying on the cloud for extra security and scalability.
IoT Platform Consolidation
Speaking of which, the extra cost of running edge servers is likely to disrupt IoT platform providers. Expect to see smaller providers merge with larger ones or exit the market altogether.
Expansion of the IoT will encourage more companies to explore blockchain technology.
Blockchains allow secure tracking of data transactions without an intermediary between communicating devices, so communications are harder to intercept.
The obvious downside of everything being connected to the web is that hackers have more access points than ever before. To address growing security vulnerabilities, companies will need to develop more unified policies and include IT security teams at all stages of IoT deployment.
National and International Government Regulations
At the same time, governments will want to enforce regulations in order to address the security concerns of having so many hot devices everywhere. The military will continue investing in IoT technologies such as drones and autonomous vehicles.
Industry-wide Standards and Open Architectures
Open standards will become a top priority as technology providers realize the benefits of interoperability. The IoT enables businesses to collect and share unprecedented amounts of data, so collaboration is easier and more fruitful than ever before.
Companies will continue using IoT technologies to automate and improve their existing business operations. For instance, an IoT-enabled production line can conduct real-time data analytics to predict equipment malfunctions, so maintenance can be performed before a breakdown occurs.
Today, the world is full of products and services that didn’t exist ten years ago. While manufacturing jobs in the U.S. are dwindling due to automation, new opportunities are opening up in the IT field. Now is a good time to get a degree in computer sciences, but there are also plenty of online courses to help people learn the specific skills they need to succeed in the tech economy.
Jason Hope Envisions the Future of Broadband
Thanks to his successful track record of predicting the short and long term effects of technological advancements on the world economy, Jason Hope has become a guiding voice in the national and international business communities. Consequently, he’s already looking beyond 2018.
“The broadest implications of the IoT have been in relation to broadband internet and Wi-Fi services,” says Hope. Indeed, the IoT wouldn’t be possible without high-speed connections. Consumers expect to have internet access everywhere, and they expect instantaneous responses. That’s why Intel is scrambling to debut its 5G network at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.
Hope believes that as more markets across the globe gain access to high-speed internet, there will be more programmers, more artists and more entrepreneurs coming into the tech field. As a result, we’re bound to continue seeing an exponential increase in products, services and business models that we can’t even fathom today.