IoT…by now, who hasn’t heard about it? For many, IoT means connected devices – it’s what enables ‘things’ like sensors and remote systems to talk to each other. And without a doubt, IoT has been transformational. From the evolution of the automotive industry with the development of autonomous cars to solving ecological problems to combat climate change to improving health outcomes by revolutionizing emergency response methods, IoT is probably one of the most influential technologies, leading to great changes in how we live our lives and how businesses operate.
But the reality is that for most people, IoT is taken for granted – we just expect our ‘things’ to work. We probably are not thinking of the complex technology that connects our devices and all the data created from tracking so many objects and people.
Yet, for many of us in technology, IoT and all the data it creates lead us to two key questions – what are the social, legal and ethical implications of IoT, and who has the authority over the immense amount of data that is being collected? These are issues that have been debated with the onset of IoT, and the reality is that we still don’t have an answer. Naturally, companies will want to broker the information they have collected, and in the coming decade, who owns all this data and what is the most ethical way to utilize the data will continue to spark serious debate.
When we look at IoT in the coming decade, it will continue to change our lives in new and exciting ways, making possible what we once thought impossible. Key areas where I believe IoT will be transformational include:
Artificial Intelligence – Most devices are already AI enabled, and as such, in the coming decade, AI will become more webbed into IoT, from security and pattern recognition to prediction and AI-embedded silicon.
Communication – We can expect to see a tangible switch from the intelligent edge to intelligent mesh. As such, the hierarchical structure that currently exists within the communication between devices in an IoT ecosystem will shake up drastically, where everything will be more isolated and every device will react on its town.
Ownership – IoT governance will grow in significance, particularly with the rise of digital twins where we now have two versions of something – one being the physical version and the other a digital twin one.
Sensor Analytics – The development of virtual sensors – or sensors that do not physically exist – will have a great impact on the cost and viability of implementing an IoT system.
Chipsets – Chipsets will come into prominence, as lower cost of manufacturing silicon will see new companies entering the market. For example, Apple and Amazon are creating their own chips. And as the cost of chips goes down, IoT devices will become more affordable.
Without a doubt, IoT in the coming decade promises to bring many new and exciting changes that will continue to transform how we live, work and play. The business outcomes of IoT will drive investment in innovative technologies, but we must also remember that with the many promises of solving the ‘what if you could’ scenarios, IoT will present challenges and even some ethical questions that must be answered. So, as we approach the next decade, I look forward to the great changes to come as well as answering the questions brought to us because of IoT.