Imagine a future where your refrigerator can buy groceries online. Where you can control your oven with your phone. Where robots on opposite sides of the globe can communicate with each other to complete their tasks more efficiently and intelligently.
There’s no need to imagine; this future is already here, thanks largely to a technological revolution called the Internet of Things (IoT). In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the hottest IoT trends of 2019.
What is IoT?
Let’s start from the beginning.
The internet was initially developed so people could use computers to send and receive data instantaneously over great distances, then store that data in a mutually accessible location. The key word here is people. In the early days of the internet, humans could only conceive of this network as something we could control using our devices as tools.
However, as technology like artificial intelligence (AI) began to emerge, experts started to realize that the true potential of the internet went far beyond humans. What if computers, robots, and even everyday appliances could use the internet autonomously to communicate with each other?
You might be surprised to learn that this idea has been around since the ‘90s. Soon after it was conceived, a technologist named Kevin Ashton coined the term “Internet of Things.” From that point, the first Internet of Things trends began to gain momentum.
How Does the Internet of Things Work?
Things interact with the internet in the same way humans do. Nowadays, anything equipped with the right tools can use the Internet of Things to access information or communicate with other objects without any explicit human intervention. Computers, robots, appliances, and other digital devices use IoT for three main reasons.
The three main reasons things use the IoT:
- To send information
- To receive information
- To use that information to learn (in the case of AI)
The Internet of Things operates on the same infrastructure as the internet we humans use. However, it requires much more server space to store the overwhelming amount of data IoT devices create. When forecasting future internet trends, we can be sure that IoT companies will need to find smart solutions to solve the issue of storing all this data.
The Latest Trends Regarding the Internet of Things
Economists, large consulting firms, and IT specialists are still trying to forecast exactly how IoT technology will change the world as we know it. But there’s one thing they all agree on: the Internet of Things will have a huge impact on the world around us. Industries from across the board, businesses from all over the world, and even governments will adopt the technology sooner rather than later. Here are some of the predictions and opinions from the sharpest minds in the global marketplace.
The Internet of Things Will Usher in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
There has been much said about the use of artificial intelligence (AI) over the past decade or so. Some people are afraid the technology will be used for malicious purposes, while others sing its praises. However, the benefits of using AI are quite clear and significant enough to be incorporated into our most basic daily functions. Nowadays, even simple predictive text apps on smartphones contain a form of AI.
A recent Gartner IoT report highlights the fact that the use of AI will increase as IoT-based services and solutions are adopted worldwide. Internet of Things services and products produce extremely large amounts of data, but this data doesn’t have much value unless it can be interpreted. Companies use AI to help understand and apply the data produced by the Internet of Things.
In its report, Gartner says businesses’ Chief Information Officers (CIOs) need to explore the potential of using AI in connection with the Internet of Things. More importantly, the report says “IoT projects are more likely to succeed if the CIO is involved.”
The Ethics Surrounding the Internet of Things
We can expect the Internet of Things to spread across the planet sooner rather than later. In the near future, an internet connection will be all you need to activate IoT products and services. Like all major changes, this raises some difficult questions. How will governments treat this technology? Who owns the data produced by IoT products and services? Could personal information be shared with big data applications against users’ wishes?
Gartner Internet of Things experts say CIOs need to look at the legal implications of their IoT strategies. This applies in particular to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Aside from any legal issues, there is also an ethical responsibility that comes with handling clients’ sensitive personal information. As IoT-based solutions gain momentum, data privacy will become even more important than it is today. Gartner predicts many companies will employ board members whose primary responsibility is to ensure they comply with regulations set out by authorities and governing bodies. It “strongly recommends that all organizations appoint either a Data Protection Officer or chief privacy officer.”
Data Broking and the Economics of Trading Information
Information is key in today’s business world. It holds the answer to more productive value chains, happier customers, and higher earnings. For generating and analyzing data, there’s no better technology than the Internet of Things.
Gartner IoT specialists believe data generated by IoT products and services will be sold and brokered. Indeed, information may soon be traded in the same way stocks are sold. In this environment, CIOs need to have clear strategies regarding data collection and preservation. Companies need to establish IT policies that govern and protect their IoT data, and employees need to be educated about the importance of guarding IoT information property.
Internet of Things Governance
Companies will need to implement governance strategies that align with data privacy laws, regulations, and accepted IoT ethics codes. Gartner predictions highlight the fact that companies need to have clear frameworks outlining the creation, storage, use, and deletion of information generated by IoT-based solutions. These frameworks will range from basic technical tasks, like regular firmware updates, to more complex issues, like the control of IoT devices and the usage of the data they produce. In short, companies need to expect the unexpected as they adapt to a world run by IoT technology.
Wireless Networking IoT-Based Technologies
IoT devices place a huge burden on networks with the abundance of data they produce. Before they implement IoT solutions, companies need to factor in power consumption, bandwidth, endpoint cost, operating cost, quality of service, latency, connection density, and range. No single solution can meet all these requirements perfectly.
For businesses, this means finding a balance between meeting the project’s operational needs while not going over budget. Gartner trends experts say the launch of the latest 5G networks will revolutionize the networking capabilities of these solutions. These faster connections will fill gaps in the current market of networking products and services used by large IoT users.
The Internet of Things and New Inventions
The sky is the limit for the Internet of Things. This amazing technology allows any device to become a “remote” to operate another device. Couple that with the application of artificial intelligence and we can now create vast international networks of computers and systems that are able to govern themselves.
With this capability, IoT technology has already given innovators the chance to design and develop inventions that will change the world. Let’s have a look at some of the top IoT devices that are already available, as well as some predictions for the near future.
New Types of Sensors
The Internet of Things opens up a whole new world of remote-controlled systems. Industries from manufacturing to retail use remote-controlled systems to automate anything from a value chain to customer experience. IoT-enabled sensors are among the latest innovations predicted to make a fast impact on the market.
Lead Analyst of Semiconductors & Electronics at Allied Market Research, Rahul Kumar, says: “The global sensor market share is expected to witness considerable growth.” Now, the market wants an IoT-enabled sensor with a wider range that can serve multiple purposes. Such a sensor would be quite expensive, but prices should become more attractive as the number of connected IoT devices on the market increases. We can expect CIOs and their teams to keep the latest developments in mind as they seek new ways to promote business innovation.
What we expect from the smart sensors of the future:
- Smaller, less obtrusive designs
- Wireless capabilities
- Lower power consumption and energy-harvesting abilities
- Increased durability to reduce maintenance needs
New IoT User and Customer Experiences
IoT helps businesses enhance customer experience in brick-and-mortar shops. Indeed, smart beacons are already installed in some of the leading U.S. retail stores. These beacons constantly monitor what’s happening inside the store to help provide customers with the most enjoyable experience as they shop.
Here’s how it works. Customers download an in-store app that works in unison with smart sensors to guide them to specific aisles and products. Soon, we can expect these apps to offer discounts on certain products based on customers’ preferences and internet history. It’s one more reason why the Internet of Things is one of the top technology trends at the moment.
Silicon Chip Innovation
Internet of Things and artificial intelligence collaborate constantly. As such, there is a high demand for devices that can facilitate this digital collaboration between two complex technologies. Usually, the biggest problem for such devices is their dependence on power. But due to the complex performance demands of AI, solutions like deep neural networks (DNNs) help facilitate smooth outputs. Internet of Things and artificial intelligence technologies need processor chips that are both strong enough and possess enough memory bandwidth to process the vast amounts of information they handle.
Engineers from MIT have already created a special chip to improve encryption. It uses a tenth of the memory space only 0.25% of the power needed by its competitors. We can expect to see similar silicon chips implemented in the best IoT devices in the near future. Such technology will provide the power and memory bandwidth necessary to cater to IoT technology’s demands.
New Careers Emerging
In the beginning, mankind had two career options. You either hunted for your food or gath