In recent years, there has been a conscious reliance on the internet of things (IoT). IoT is certainly making inroads and impact across industries – be it Healthcare, Manufacturing or Retail. At the same time, the inflection point is not very evident – and the world is waiting for that moment. Will it happen in 2018? With challenges and barriers to adoption, 2018 seems to be a year of consolidation for IoT.
Based on a multitude of interactions with end clients across sectors, business and technology partners across the ecosystem, and while trying to decipher the environment, we have distilled some of the trends that we envisage for 2018.
IoT going mainstream
Till now, many of the IoT initiatives within organizations were initiated by Lone Warriors or the Skunk Works, away from the core operations. Such initiatives do face the challenge of navigating through the layers of an organization and achieving due visibility. In 2018, we believe that IoT platforms and IoT initiatives will go increasingly mainstream, and get the required focus and budget allocations within organizations.
Looking beyond Proofs of Concept
Over the past few years, a lot of organizations have taken initial steps in form of ‘Proofs of Concept,’ to get the confidence that IoT platforms really work, and have the potential to bring about operational improvements. Given that many of the organizations have already taken that path and validated the ideas, it is high time for organizations to engage with the leading technology system integrators to develop and deploy pilot-scale solutions and beyond.
Consolidation of technology providers
Today, IoT platform providers play the significant role of influencers in the adoption of IoT solutions. With increased focus and attention of these players, we will find consolidation and concentration, and the smaller players would be squeezed out of the fray. Over the next three years, the top 5-6 players will occupy over 80% of the IoT platform market. In fact, it will be something akin to the ERP products market of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Then, we had hundreds of ERP products. Now we have only a few dominant ERP players and a long trail of small players. A similar story is expected to play out in the IoT sphere.
IoT success is not just about technology
Much of the discussion on IoT security have been around technology, especially while the firms are taking the initial steps – which sensors to choose, which gateways and protocols to use, what communication mechanism to use, etc. Now that IoT platform deployments are being envisaged in terms of increase in scale and scope, issues around data privacy, ownership of data, and contingent liabilities are expected to be in prime focus. How we address these issues would increasingly decide the success of the IoT programs.
Key technologies will spur adoption
There is a surge in technological advancements, and we will continue to see the evolution of the technologies to help increase the adoption of IoT. Of the many technologies, we believe that deployment of communication technologies that support long distances and low data load, like NB-IoT, LoRaWAN, Sigfox, etc., are the ones that will make significant impact and spur large-scale deployments. Given that these technologies require low data payloads, it would also translate to longer battery life in devices, which would further create a positive loop of IoT platform adoption.
On the whole, it is not just that the technology that is maturing, but we see that IoT is increasingly getting the right attention within the organization. Institutional and governmental support by the way of standardization and agreements on legal issues will go a long way in supporting adoption of IoT across the ecosystem.