The amount of excitement generated by the Internet of Things (IoT) over the decade has been tremendous. In 2009, there were around 900 million connected ‘things’ in use around the world, according to figures from Statista. By 2020, that number is set to reach 20 billion.
In 2018, Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure reported a 49% and 93% growth, respectively, with their IoT portion contributing the bulk. In the same year, the global IoT market was $151 billion, and the number is expected to grow to 212 billion by the end of 2019.
The widespread adoption of IoT by companies has already had an intense impact on the way organizations conduct business. Needless to say, it has transformed major industrial businesses from banking, retail, healthcare, logistics, manufacturing and many more to a connected enterprise.
As a key driver of digital transformation, IoT coupled with enterprise mobility solutions are bringing in huge reforms in companies to slash downtime, improve safety, increase productivity, improve quality, enhance customer experience, make operations more profitable, and at times, they have disrupted business models as well. When collected and acted upon efficiently, data enables companies to stay agile, improve the customer experience and leapfrog competitors.
For example, the IoT makes it possible to manage buildings and spaces more efficiently, with savings of 25% or more. Connected buildings can help determine when meeting spaces are available, which can boost occupancy at large businesses and universities by 40% while cutting infrastructure and maintenance costs. Needless to say, connected solutions also create better working environments.
Businesses have also used the IoT to track their assets that have been used across the globe by logistics, retail and hospitals. It can instantly identify the location of all kinds of equipment (saving employee time and productivity), and they can reduce the number of lost, stolen, and misplaced devices and machines as well as provide complete visibility into the location of your assets.
“In the post digital era, businesses are betting big on intelligent environments, leveraging the power of IoT, robotics, AI and immersive experiences. In the near future, we expect widespread application of IoT across sectors such as improving traffic flow in smart cities, telemedicine analyzing patients’ condition or disaster analysis,” says Saurabh Bhatnagar, Managing Director – Manufacturing, Accenture Strategy.
Read more: How IoT Is Disrupting The Logistics Sector
In recent years, businesses were seen to boost customer experiences with IoT as the technology can also make staff deployments more efficient. According to a recent PwC report, “Sensors, facial recognition, analytics, dashboards, and notifications can elevate and even transform the customer experience. … Using connected solutions, you can identify and reward your best customers by offering perks, reduced wait times, and/or shorter lines.”
With new wireless networks such as 5G becomes more widely available, greatly increasing the amount of bandwidth available for IoT gadgets we will gradually inch towards a new world where everything is connected, all the time. For example, with IoT connectivity, it is easier for the teams to stay connected with each other on every step of a project, bringing the agile environment to the enterprise. In the near future, more of the corporate setups will adopt the technology of IoT for daily interactions internally and utilize technology for reducing human labor and making it affordable.
The IoT will have an enormous impact on our lives over the next decade. We may see more autonomous vehicles on the roads with powerful sensors that are far more secure, and the traditional car keys being replaced by smartphone apps, protected by multi-layered cybersecurity. There could be more sophisticated fitness trackers helping physiotherapists train their patients. There could be devices which essentially manage your household for you, switching off your lights, washing machine and even telling you when you don’t have enough food in the fridge – and many more such changes. Moreover, IoT devices are becoming part of a smart city infrastructure that can combat the strain of city growth, from traffic control to environmental issues.
On the flip side IoT-based attacks will continue to increase. As with data security, IoT security continues to be top of mind across the tech industry as well as within government. A recent survey on IoT revealed two-thirds of people (64%) who use IoT devices have reported security related problems with them. This challenge will continue to evolve and mature throughout 2020s, even though companies are constantly coming up with newer techniques to counter those attacks.
High costs associated with device purchasing, installation and maintenance of IoT solutions is another problem currently faced by organizations. This makes it difficult for companies to see a quick, adequate return on their investments. As a recent IFS research shows the industrial internet of things (IIoT) is still considered a cost-containment strategy rather than a revenue driver.
Read more: IoT Projects Become Key Targets Of Cyber Criminals
However, in 2020 new and inexpensive IoT devices and more affordable installation, maintenance and network options will continue to expand. The IoT will also begin moving toward a more affordable model through an increased investment in expanding networks, especially low-power, wide area networks (LPWAN) to make the IoT more broadly available across the globe. These networks will create a wider array of options and low-cost solutions that make adopting the IoT worth it for organizations of all sizes and needs. As a result, enterprises will be able to harness the benefits afforded through IoT-enabled deployments.
“To lead in the post-digital era, organizations will need to ensure standard data quality, addressing aspects of velocity, veracity, volume and variety. It is vital to create security measures that anticipate threats and building ethically responsible frameworks for managing data and AI,” said Bhatnagar.
On the whole, analysts believe that there’s no stopping IoT growth in the coming decade. And as Rick Veague, Chief Technical Officer at IFS said, “To reap the benefits of IoT, decision-makers must demonstrate visionary leadership and ensure their enterprise solutions are future-ready.”