The Future of IoT

With estimations showing that the number of IoT devices by 2020 is going to reach the staggering figure of 50 billion, we need to talk more about this topic.

Starting with the basics—such as, “What is the IoT?”—we’ve gone through some of the most common safety concerns related to this technology, as well as introduced some of the most successful companies whose business is based on the internet of things.

In this text, we’ll try to take a peek into the future and see what the IoT world is going to look like a year from now. Some of the most modern devices will be presented, as well as some that are currently just an idea. In addition, we’ll discuss the impact that certain IoT device developments are expected to have on some of the most lucrative industries. But first, let’s take a look at how the IoT’s growth was first predicted during the technology’s infancy, and why the current predictions might be wrong.

Early IoT Projections for 2020 and Beyond

Even just a few years ago, no one could have predicted the massive success of the IoT. This is why early predictions show numbers that, knowing what we do now about the technology, are extremely humble. It’s also the reason why all estimates should be taken with a grain of salt.

Perhaps the best example of this is the Ericsson Mobility Report from 2015. Here are some of the IoT milestones that the report predicted wrongly:

The Number of Connected Devices by 2020

The number of devices that will be in use by 2020 was a wildly underestimated figure in the report. According to Ericsson, only 23 billion devices were predicted to be in use by the year 2020. However, their estimation for 2020 was already exceeded in 2018. In fact, more than 26.6 billion IoT devices were in use at the start of 2019.

The Number of IoT Devices by 2025

When it came to predicting the IoT’s future a decade after it was published, the Ericsson Report wasn’t even close to the numbers we’re now expecting for 2025. The report stated that around 30 billion IoT devices will be in use by 2020. Today’s IoT statistics predict the number to be in the range of 75 billion. Keeping in mind how off the early report was, we can’t help but wonder whether the current predictions have any merit.

The Number of Connected Devices in 2018 Will Surpass the Number of Mobile Phones

Ericsson predicted that the number of mobile phones in use will be exceeded by IoT devices in 2018. However, this milestone was reached, and surpassed three times over, in 2015—the year the report was written.

Current IoT Projections for 2020 and Beyond

What the previously listed snippets of early IoT forecasts tell us is that even short-term estimations can sometimes be nowhere near accurate. This is especially true for technologies or products that are still in the starting phase. On the other hand, once the technology picks up, we may have the opposite problem and overestimate its future success. Here’s what can mess up the current IoT projections for the near future:

IoT Safety and Security

While everyone is trying to figure out how to invest in the internet of things right now, they forget to account for one major factor that’s seldom included in projections and forecasts for the technology. The IoT could be just one major security breach away from becoming a thing of the past, as people might lose trust in the technology, and all of the optimistic predictions about it will become worthless.

IoT Energy Consumption

Reports on the IoT, such as the famous Cisco IoT forecast, fail to include energy consumption as an influencing element in the technology’s future prominence. Energy consumption by consumer electronics grows by 7% every year, and this number includes only TVs, computers, phones, and tablets, Network World says. Once we include other consumer, enterprise, and industrial IoT devices, the question of energy consumption becomes a potential obstacle for the IoT’s success.

With this in mind, we can’t take any prediction for the number of IoT devices by 2020 or 2025 with too much confidence. However, what we can discuss with a fair amount of confidence are the types of devices that will be in use next year.

Consumer Convenience: Modern IoT Devices

Due to the high demand, certain categories of IoT products have become extremely popular. After all, we seem to love the novelty and convenience of controlling most of our household items using our phone. Here are some of the categories and latest IoT devices that are expected to reach massive sales numbers and popularity in 2020:

Smart Door Locks

Thinking about whether you left the door open or not has become a thing of the past. Smart door locks allow us to check the status of our doors and remotely lock them, in addition to other features, such as providing one-use codes for visitors.

The August Smart Lock Pro Connect is one of the most popular IoT devices in this category, and its success is expected to continue into 2020.

Smart Kitchen

Another IoT trend that’s expected to explode in popularity in 2020 relates to our kitchens. Smart kitchens, which include sensors that let us know whether a stove has been left on or utensils that can count calories, will become common in households around the world.

Kepler is one of the most successful internet-enabled devices on Kickstarter. This gas detector quickly registers any indication that a stove has been left on. And for those who aim to lose weight and stay healthy, the Hapifork and Vessyl will be the things to buy in 2020.

Smart Plugs

A smart home will not be imaginable in 2020 without a smart system that controls energy consumption. This is where smart plugs, outlets, and switches come in, providing us with the ability to remotely turn off unused appliances.

Belkin’s Wemo products are among the top internet of things devices in this segment, with new products constantly being added to the lineup.

Smart Thermostats

Acquiring a smart thermostat can be a game changer. These devices allow us to remotely turn our homes’ heating and cooling systems on or off, which can lower the electric bill significantly.

The Nest thermostat is probably the most known and popular device in this category, with consumer IoT reports commonly placing it near the top of the popularity lists.

The ecobbee4 is a similarly priced product that’s regarded as close competition to the Nest.

Voice Command

Voice-enabled devices have been the most popular products in the IoT industry for a while. This trend won’t change in 2020, according to all indications.

The Amazon Echo and Google Home are the top dogs in this segment. These devices allow the user to control their IoT-connected devices, such as thermostats, lights, switches, and more.

More devices are currently being developed, and they’re expected to take off in 2020. Some of them sound like they came straight out of a science fiction book.

Smart Toothbrushes

Smart toothbrushes have been a thing for some time, but the new prototypes will leave you in awe. Some of them are revolutionary due to the fact that they’re powered but don’t require a battery to operate. Other new devices in this field offer us insight into our oral health that can’t even be matched by a dentist.

Be. is the first battery-free, powered toothbrush. Even though the current version doesn’t have internet connectivity, it’s expected that the next version will.

Quip is the toothbrush of the future; its sensors offer invaluable insight into the users’ dental health, even pointing out which aspects of it need more attention.

Delivery Drones

IoT growth is about to make our daily tasks even easier and more convenient. With companies like Amazon developing drones that deliver our orders faster and safer than any human could, the logistics industry is about to enter a new age.

These are just some examples of the IoT consumer devices that will be big in 2020, and probably beyond. With this much development involved in things that aren’t essential to humans, one can’t help but wonder, what will the IoT impact on industries look like, and how will it affect our lives?

The Industrial IoT in 2020: How IoT Devices Will Affect Different Industries

Agriculture

One of the industries that can benefit greatly from IoT is agriculture. Sensors and smart technologies that use the internet to communicate will enable farmers and agricultural workers to gather useful data on their animals, crops, and farm resources. As the world’s population continues increasing, the demand for food becomes greater. IoT devices will not only ensure that the demand is met but also help maintain the quality of the food produced.

Manufacturing

The IoT is considered one of the main driving forces of the manufacturing industry. So far, this technology has provided us with the ability to optimize the manufacturing process of numerous products to perfection. In 2020, automation and the use of artificial intelligence are expected to become the industry’s main focus.

Energy Production

Considering how many devices are connected to the internet, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that energy consumption is an issue with the IoT, as mentioned previously. However, the utility industry has also benefited from this technology. Thanks to remote sensors and monitors, energy production and consumption are more easily monitored, thereby increasing the power grid’s overall efficiency. In 2020, IoT-capable solar panels, as well as other clean energy producers, will become more common than their unconnected counterparts.

Logistics and Supply

We’ve already touched on this topic with delivery drones, but the IoT forecast for 2020 shows more progress in the supply chain department. New developments in this field allow individual products to be tracked, as opposed to an entire group of products, which the current tracking methods allow.

This is expected to help businesses to greatly improve their supply chains, as well as the quality of the products that their customers receive. B2B IoT predictions show that expiration dates, inventory tracking, and proper conditions for storing sensitive products are just some of the things that will be tracked in 2020.

Cryptocurrency

To the surprise of many, cryptocurrency has become an industry in its own right. With over 1,500 of them currently out there, it is a lucrative one. Those following the overall IoT forecast know that it was only a matter of time before someone figured out how to involve the IoT in it. Waltoncahin and Tael are the two early examples of this, while the majority of those in the cryptocurrency business are expected to follow their lead and go IoT in 2020.

Health

The health industry was also one of the early adopters of IoT technology. Current IoT market trends support the benefits behind being able to remotely send data from pacemakers, insulin pumps, and similar devices, all with the goal to improve the quality and effectiveness of those devices.

With the latest improvements in artificial intelligence and robotics, some game-changing IoT devices should be coming next year. Those with impaired movement will soon find help with internet-connected devices to perform basic functions. In fact, devices that assist with walking or maintaining balance are currently being developed—that’s right, exoskeletons are coming.

Revision of the IoT Basics

We are living in a future that our grandparents couldn’t even dream about. Before closing this chapter in the IoT book, we should revise how far this technology has come and remind ourselves of the basics:

What Is a Connected Device?

In order for a device to be considered connected, or belonging to the group of IoT devices, it needs to have the ability to send or receive data from other internet-capable devices. Whether that functionality is built in or added later through a third-party modification is not relevant, as long as the modification is approved by the manufacturer.

How Many IoT Devices Are There?

This was already the topic in one of our previous posts. For those who just want the summary, the number of devices with IoT functionalities operating out there is currently in the range of 25 billion. For now, the majority of these devices are intended for consumer use. In the future, that focus is expected to shift to a more industry-oriented application.

What Are Examples of IoT Devices?

Some of the most commonly used examples of IoT devices—not to mention some of the upcoming ones—have already been given in this text. In addition to those listed, we use smart lights, smart pet feeders, coffee brewers, and even life-saving devices such as health monitors. Our cars will soon be fully considered a part of the IoT device group, as more of their components require internet connectivity in order to operate.

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