IoT is rapidly creeping into our everyday life. This article summarizes the pros and cons of technology and bolds the major steps of its evolution.
It all started with the WWW. The first generation of the internet appeared about 20 years ago providing us with the possibility to interact with specific pages – sites – through an Internet browser. The snow globe gained the pace making the information consumption and publication global. As well as communication which is now the key to the progress.
For the second generation, we owe to Steve Jobs. Smartphones with mobile applications took a weighty share of the market and ultimately reshaped the way we interact with the Internet. The convenience, speed and the possibilities of browsing experience leave the traditional sites behind.
Knock, knock, knock
Now, the third generation is around the corner. The Internet penetrates far beyond our desktop and mobile screens. From a toothbrush to an industrial refrigerator, from bridges and traffic lights to children’s toys and light bulbs. These are only a couple of examples that already exist in our daily life.
What can we expect in the future from the IoT? Anything you can imagine. The “internalization” of every sphere of our lives is a hot trend with no signs for diminishment. Will it eventually reach the human body itself? We’ll see. As for now, there are some basics about what actually is the IoT.
What is the Internet of Things?
This is more than a set of devices and applications connected to the global Internet. First, it is a system of interaction between a human and the world. However, as our key interest is the IoT trends for 2018, not fantasies we’d take a closer look at what the IoT market has to offer and how we can apply it in business.
IoT for B2B market – Key figures:
The volume of B2B market in 2016 was $ 149 billion *
The forecast for 2020 is $ 267 billion
$ 80 billion will make applications and analytics for IoT
$ 60 billion – integration and data services
$ 50 billion will be the cost of the device
50% of IoT costs are for discrete manufacturing, logistics and utilities
60% of initiatives in IoT are at the stage of confirmation of hypotheses (concepts) and only 26% of companies have successfully implemented the IoT solution.
40% of businesses integrating IoT solutions – trust their largest software vendors, such as Microsoft, Amazon, SAP, Samsung.
Business value behind IoT progress
If IoT deployment does not lead to meaningful cost optimization or added value growth – the potential of this sphere will not be realized. That’s why when implementing IoT it is important to focus on business results, not the technology itself.
Unfortunately, it often happens on the contrary – when innovative technological capabilities act as an integration driver. The fact that a business can get some benefit from implementation does not mean it’s the best solution. Especially if you put beyond the “potential media attention.”
For example, the Marriot Hotel has installed shower walls, where you can draw and send the result to yourself by email. The news was sarcastically received by the media. If so it is even necessary to stay in touch with technology – the solutions of smart houses like Google or Amazon Alexa will cope with this much better.
The price of integration
One of the main integration models is rip-and-replace (destroy and replace). For example, intelligent security cameras can improve the security of stores and optimize costs for security. However, such an exchange involves the dismissal of people, the restructuring of business processes, a separate team for integration, training and support of the solution.
Given the time costs, risks and the inability to monetize the current solution – the potential benefits are in question. Even if “mathematics converges” and on paper, the solution saves a lot of money.
The same applies to all possible tracking systems for leftovers of goods or logistics instruments. However, there are many successful examples. For example, Philips Lighting lamps are used for street lighting, control of lighting depending on the time of day and the flow of people or cars.
IoT Cybersecurity and privacy
This issue remains the most painful for the sphere. Not all devices have the most advanced end-to-end encryption technologies. Because of this, there is a possibility of interception of data or even connection to the device in order to manage it.
It is necessary to recognize that the probability of hacking is not very high, and concerns directed attacks on business or enterprise. If there is a person willing to do harm – a way can always be found, IoT is not the easiest and most convenient.
Security and privacy of IoT-solutions will not only be an important element of marketing, but also an indispensable condition for the purchase of a product / solution.
Wearable gadgets – substitute for smartphones
Sleep Tracker, heart rate meter, alarm clock, player, task manager, navigator, calorie counter and fitness instructor – you can pack whatever you want now in a tiny thing to wear on your wrist. Ultra-accessible – prices for bracelets-trackers, clips and smart watches start from $ 20.
Not surprisingly, in 2017, such device share was estimated at already $ 850 million. The forecast for 2018 is 1.1 billion. But there’s a lot more in these beautiful, comfortable, and shock-resistant gadgets. It’s a terrific source of information at incredibly low energy consumption.
Who can benefit from this information? Manufacturers, advertisers, retailers, the state, scammers and competitors of the manufacturer. In theory, the last 2 groups are not supposed to have access to such sensitive information at all. But there’s always the other side of the coin.
But sometimes data from wearable gadgets become public. For example, recently the company Strava (unites athletes around the world) has provided public access to the map that shows where users are running and training.
Many readers have noticed that some zones are in the territory of military bases. And it was not hacking. The publication of data was envisioned as a motivator for strengthening the community of athletes. Data on people’s movements, activity time and body indices are an excellent addition to existing tools, such as research, Internet consumption statistics, people’s meters, surveys.
This gives new opportunities for both advertisers and state structures … and virtually all who can use the data on finding people in their favor.
The boom of the wearables
Importantly, the functionality of wearable gadgets motivates not to remove them at all. Judge for yourself: in the morning the alarm clock, in the afternoon the counter of steps and calories, in the evening trekking and at night – tracking sleep. As part of the time of interaction with a person, such gadgets benefit from smartphones or even the Internet.
The first of significant directions is the development and distribution of applications and services for gadgets and their interrelations with the smartphone and social media.
The potential for new sectors
Sport. Imagine if each fitness club wants to have its application with training programs for customers, reminders.
Banks and payment systems. Why carry with them to the training phone, if the purse – right in the bracelet or watch?
Medicine. Data on the pulse, sleep, calories burned and the number of hours in a fixed position is valuable information in the diagnosis or treatment of a person. Chances are great that by 2020 healthcare software development will step even further and in wearable gadgets there will be a function of analyzing the level of sugar in the blood. Existing individual devices are already small enough to be integrated into a bracelet or a watch in the future.
Marketing. Most of the data received by advertisers are anonymous and do not contain the parameters of specific people. For an effective advertising company, it’s enough to segment by parameters – gender, age, geography, hobbies, etc. And working with such data is a big challenge for marketers. Everything that can help them – from training seminars and content to tools for comparing different types of data – is eligible for demand and monetization.
The IoT technology stands for the constant evolving movement of profound change in how we interact with our ordinary world and each other. The emerging IoT trends are penetrating virtually all spheres and connect with other industries.
In this rapidly changing world, it’s important for you as a business owner to keep your vision forward and make use of the growing technologies to stay competitive. Would you like to connect your business with the IoT? We can help, get in touch.