The Internet of Things (IoT) is indisputably the next big thing. This technology is about usher in a technological shift that will completely change the way we live, work, and interact. Currently, the change is not just felt in industry – IoT has significantly disrupted our relations with the physical world. 

Through the devices we use in our everyday life, our interactions with the physical world have enhanced. Already, smart homes are increasingly becoming common, presenting the domestic face of IoT. 

As we move into the future, the development of 5G will trigger innovation across several industries, and provide a platform that enables IoT to become an integral part of our lifestyle and economy. It has already paved the way for the emergence of smart technologies and will continue to flourish as people connect absolutely everything.

In 2020 and beyond, we anticipate that the following things will take place and decides the future of IoT. 

1. IoT Adoption will Grow

This may sound like an obvious prediction, especially with the several devices coming online every day, but the unobvious part is where the growth will occur. Healthcare, retail, and manufacturing will likely experience the most growth.

Advancements in cloud computing, big data analytics, and artificial intelligence have provided new dimensions to IoT that are applicable in retail. Today’s retail environment is fluid, one that fuses mobile and physical environments into an Omni-channel experience for shoppers.

Retailers will increase their uptake of IoT, hoping to connect with their customers, improve the customer experience, and grow their brands. According to a 2018 report by Grand View Research, the global IoT market in retail will hit USD 94.44 billion by 2025, mainly due to the integration of digital and in-store operations.

In healthcare, IoT will be integral in connecting patients. Predictions show that by 2024, the worldwide IoT Healthcare market will hit $14000 million. 

In manufacturing, IoT will be instrumental in tracking products from the factory to the floor. Its integration in manufacturing will mainly be through a network of sensors. The devices will be employed to gather vital production data, which is then transmitted to cloud, processed, and interpreted into useful insights.

2. IoT Will Experience Fragmentation

As IoT grows and develops, we expect to see a lot of fragmentation. Just like as the case has been with the growth of cloud solutions and as-a-Service (aaS) programs, IoT will be no exception. Many companies will struggle with compatibility issues as they try to create and adhere to devise certifications and standards.

The fragmentation will drive companies to join hands in creating an ecosystem that facilitates the smooth running of IoT. Currently, IoT stakeholders are pushing for standardization and certification within the industry. 

We also expect to see new avenues for tech companies to collaborate and create devices with universal adaptability. Moreover, several ecosystems of devices will be facilitated under a broader IoT umbrella.

3. The Need for Analytics 

The International Data Corporation forecasts that by 2025, there will be more than 41 billion connected devices, which will generate 80 zettabytes of data. As data increases, companies will be compelled to incorporate artificial intelligence in most of their operations to cope up with the changing operating environment. The data will be stored in cloud, and through AI, the devices will learn through a process called machine learning.

New entrants will also foray into the realm of AI, machine learning, and IoT analytics. The IoT space will require more sophisticated tools to extract and manage insightful information.

4. Enhanced Data Processing Solutions

Undoubtedly, the phenomenal growth of IoT will automatically result in the buildup of huge volumes of data, which will require analytical processing to get meaningful insights. Therefore, companies must find better and cheaper ways of processing the data. Legacy IoT firms, such as Cisco, are hardening their infrastructure to meet the challenges of an IoT operating world.

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5. IoT Security Concern 

Already, security is one of the widely discussed aspects of the Internet of Things, and as IoT grows, the security concerns will also grow in tandem. The growth of IoT creates limitless opportunities in the realm of communication and data sharing. 

The number of connected devices continues to increase with the widespread adoption of IoT, causing the network to expand and data to grow. But the main challenge lies in regulating the network and keeping the data safe.

California has already enacted the IoT Security Law, which took effect on January 1, 2020. The legislation requires all IoT devices sold in the State to have “reasonable cybersecurity measures.” manufacturers must, therefore, adhere to specific security initiatives, such as demanding buyers to modify factory-set passwords.

Hacking of IoT networks and devices is likely to increase in the future, so we expect to see more measures implemented to enhance the security of systems and devices. For companies that store their data in cloud, the need for more security will be more pronounced in the coming years. Companies will also have to develop better solutions that will ensure that their data is safe with no potential leaks in the network. 

6. The Rise of Smart Cities

The Internet of things will not only be a preserve of things and devices. It will also have other broader applications, such as the functioning of smart cities. Smart city developments are already happening, and many U.S cities are increasingly using IoT devices to connect parking meters, traffic lights, and utilities. 

For example, the city of Chicago, through its Array of Things initiative, provides a network of sensors to provide real-time data on Chicago’s urban activity and environmental surroundings. The urban sensing project will measure the factors that affect livability within the city by focusing on variables such as climate, noise, and air quality.

The concept of smart cities will spread to other parts of the world, courtesy of data obtained from IoT, enabling residents to enjoy a comfortable hassle-free life. Smart cities will facilitate easy travel and enable citizens to access to basic facilities. Moreover, the IoT will allow the city planners and bureaucrats to obtain a detailed profile of its residents.

7. More Venture Capital Investment

The indisputable impact of IoT in every sector of the economy will continue to lure investors and venture capitalists. With the increased adoption of smart devices and the overdependence of customers on these devices, venture capitalists are more induced to invest in startups. Both the emerging and traditional venture capitalists are bullish about the prospects of IoT and will pump money into new ventures.