IT departments would be well advised to stay in touch with IoT news across industry domains. IoT technologies often straddle sectors, with IoT improvements or storm warnings in one area being applicable to others. Major IoT product and technology trends include:
- Growth in the number of devices. Not only are vendors creatively expanding the market for new connected objects, but they are also developing new opportunities for embedding IoT capability into currently non-connected objects. With forecasts of up to 50 billion connected devices by 2020, this also brings challenges in management and scalability.
- Divergence in operating systems from conventional and mobile IT. Whereas servers, PCs, and smartphones have relatively large processing and storage resources, microcontroller units connecting devices to the IoT often have very limited resources. Some makers of operating systems have adapted their offerings (from full-blown Linux to more compact Linux “Core” versions, for example), but many “things” are incapable of running Android, iOS, or Windows.
- Divergence in data collection and analytics from business IT. Understanding customer behavior through massive amounts of audio, video, and motion data input will require new analytics tools and algorithms that conventional data center IT does not have.
- Disposable IoT devices. Nobody would throw a properly working PC, tablet or smartphone away. For IoT devices, things may be different. Very small IoT systems embedded in packaging, medical products or other items with short lifetimes can be produced at low costs and thrown away together with their hosts.
A Major IoT Trend We Could Do Without
There is a continuing trend towards massively producing IoT devices with gaping security holes. Whether for industrial or consumer devices, vendors are still struggling to get to grips with even basic security requirements. Consequently, data security and privacy concerns will carry through, as will the unauthorized control and hijacking of IoT devices for attacks on other systems. New IoT standards may help to stop or transform this trend in the longer term, but for 2018, end-users and enterprises will continue to need to manage these risks.