IoT Trends: 2020 and Beyond

The Internet of Things continues its brisk and steady rise as our planet and everything in it becomes connected

However, disruptive new trends are likely to emerge over the next few years that will pave the way for a complete overhaul in the way we view and interact with our world.

More Human-Device Interaction

Sensor data is a core component of IoT’s success, but most sensors in use today monitor machinery or tech infrastructure. In the coming year, employees can be expected to interact more with IoT technology as it monitors them. Performance management software has long played a role in the workplace, and the IoT can enable more comprehensive data gathering and better analysis of employee performance. This will inevitably drive an increase in discussion about which types of employee monitoring are optimal and ethical; is the added stress that comes with increased monitoring worth the analytics provided? Do employees perform better when not dealing with the anxiety of automated monitoring? And what factors can IoT technology even measure reliably? Automated employee monitoring certainly has appeal for management, but it’s not clear what advantages and disadvantages the technology provides.

Artificial Intelligence Plays a Central Role

Perhaps the greatest impact the IoT has had on tech is how it changed our view of computing. Instead of thinking in terms of centralized servers, we’re now coming up with terms that better describe the distributed nature of modern infrastructure. Making the most of data, and even understanding on a basic level how modern infrastructure functions, requires computer assistance through artificial intelligence. The major cloud vendors, including Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, are increasingly looking to compete based on their AI capabilities. Various startups hope to increase their market share thorough AI algorithms able to leverage machine learning and deep learning, allowing businesses to extract more value out of their ever-growing volumes of data. Before settling on cloud and IoT technology, companies need to determine what role AI will play. Planning is essential.

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New Terminology

One of the chief complaints about the IoT is its confusing nature, and it’s becoming clear that the term “Internet of Things” isn’t descriptive enough for most uses. Companies looking to truly disrupt will increasingly look to define the terminology in a way that better explains how specific implementations are being used.

More Voice

Voice recognition has been an ascendant technology for years now, and improvements in accuracy have been astounding. Even more importantly, as consumers are becoming more accustomed to interacting with some form of digital assistance and other voice recognition technologies, these tools are likely to become more widely used in a corporate setting too. Because processing voice data only requires an internet connection and microphone, more obscure IoT devices are likely to offer voice embedded as a feature in the future.

IoT in Public Spaces

Many organisations have long been planning their IoT adoption projects. The potential benefits for cities, however, make IoT technology especially compelling. Cities of all sizes are exploring how IoT can lead to better efficiency and safety, and this infrastructure is increasingly being rolled around the world. Transportation will likely lead this change, as bringing connectivity, intelligence and automation to roads and public transportation has proven to significantly improve efficiency and experience. One factor expected to play a role in smart city development will be 5G, making lightning fast transfer of streaming analytics more realistic. 5G rollouts will spur a race to build applications that tap into the numerous market opportunities it creates.

More Movement to the Edge

Edge computing has been on the rise in recent years, but the growing scope of IoT technology will make this move even more pronounced. Two factors are leading this change: Powerful edge devices in various form factors are becoming more affordable, and centralized infrastructure is becoming more stressed. Edge computing also makes on-device AI a realistic proposition, as it allows companies to leverage real time data sets instead of having to sift through terabytes of data in a centralized cloud in real time. Over the coming years and even decades, it’s likely that tech will shift to a balance between the cloud and more distributed, edge-powered devices.

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