IoT technology is quickly becoming a cornerstone for data collection, sharing and utilization. IDC expects global investment in IoT technology to reach $1.2 trillion by 2022. And, IoT devices will be generating 507.5 zettabytes of data by 2020.
In short, people already use IoT technology a lot. And, people are going to use IoT even more as the technology develops.
There’s a lot to capitalize on. So, here’s where IoT is headed in 2020.
Private LTE networks will rise
LTE is ideal for connecting IoT devices, especially those that need to transmit high volumes of data.
However, public LTE networks managed by mobile carriers are often not secure or reliable enough to support clusters of local IoT devices or mission-critical IoT networks. Many companies will opt to build private LTE networks, so that they can internally manage the network performance and security.
If a private LTE network needs wide area or internet connectivity, these private LTE networks will most likely be connected to a carrier that operates a private IP network. That way, there’s very little risk of security breaches, even when data needs to be transmitted between distant private LTE networks.
Industrial and automotive sectors will lead the way
Industrial and automotive companies will invest the most in IoT technology, simply because these companies have the most potential uses for IoT devices.
IoT devices and sensors will be used to increase industrial and automotive manufacturing. And, many of the products the factories produce will have IoT devices in them. Employing IoT devices in everything from production to the consumer product means that industrial and automotive companies will have the most investment in IoT technology and the most IoT deployment.
IoT will cause expansion in data brokering
Data is more valuable than oil in today’s economy. And, most of the time, data is valuable to more than just the person or company that collected that data.
It’s happening already. But, as the IoT industry expands, more and more data brokering companies will pop up to help people buy and sell all that data. Given that 507.5 zettabytes of data will enter the data trading market every year, it’s safe to say that the IoT data brokering industry will be massive.
Metadata will gain notable importance
Even though selling data will be big business, not all data generated by IoT devices is sellable. Much of the data will be protected by consumer data protection laws—especially considering the broad scope of GDPR.
Even though large swaths of the specific data won’t be marketable, gathering metadata will enable companies to sell the data that’s not subject to data protection laws. The metadata is largely unregulated but offers useful insights for explaining certain IoT scenarios and assets and developing new products and services.
So, metadata will become a vehicle for leveraging the value of big data, without the risk of massive fines.
Popular IoT Use Cases in 2020 and Beyond
You hear it all the time: The Internet of Things is the technology of the future! But it’s been here—organizations have already been tapping into this power and connecting all kinds of devices to the internet:
- Vodafone and the Sea Mammal Research Unit in Scotland have used cellular IoT devices to track the movements and health of harbor seals.
- Get My Parking has used cellular IoT technology to help drivers find parking in Germany.
- Sierra Wireless produces IoT enabled streetlights that help cities save money, and increase or decrease street lighting based on weather, time of day, or the presence of emergency responders.
The list goes on. But if you want to build your own IoT solution or implement one into your business infrastructure, there are a lot of directions you can go. Here are the cellular IoT use cases that show the most promise.
Individual hobbyists and engineers can easily add cellular IoT capabilities to their projects just by adding a SIM card. Small, home-built devices and direct-to-consumer brands can be a cost-efficient way to add cellular IoT connectivity to their products.
This makes it easier than ever to experiment and innovate with cellular IoT technology. And, this gives small, independent creators even more opportunities to create powerful solutions to real-world problems.
Industrial Automation and Monitoring
Adding internet connectivity to machines and sensors improves efficiency and maintenance routines. Quality control measurements, maintenance interval information, and equipment status data can be monitored in real-time and transmitted to remote locations.
This reduces the need for physical equipment inspections and enables quality control to be integrated into production processes, rather than implemented as a post-production manufacturing stage.
Wearables and Smart Electronics
This territory has already been pioneered by companies like Apple and Fitbit. But, smartwatches are just the beginning of wearable technology. Other brands are already producing smart glasses, and practical augmented reality is close.
Beyond the typical sports and lifestyle applications, these new technologies have the potential to revolutionize things like customer support, training and education, home automation, and even things like equipment repair.
For instance, augmented reality could be used to guide users through repairs that would ordinarily require them to mail their product to the factory.
Transportation and Civil Infrastructure
Much of the technology for smart cars and smart cities are already available. However, cellular IoT enabled vehicles and city infrastructures could take smart cars to the next level with smart public transportation that uses citywide sensors and traffic data to create customized routes in real-time for better fuel efficiency and shorter consumer ride times.
But that’s just scratching the surface of what cellular IoT could do for the automotive industry and smart cities.
Hardwire internet and communication networks are fast. But, they’re susceptible to natural disasters and often suffer from poor network infrastructures, especially in rural areas.
G4, G5, and LTE networks are fast enough to serve as suitable backups for most wired connections.
Cellular IoT devices are ideal for connection sensing and disconnect reporting that enables communications providers to provide near-immediate failover to cellular networks. And, with LTE enabled IoT devices, the sensing and reporting infrastructure requires very little additional network equipment.
This is far from an exhaustive list of cellular IoT use cases. But it illustrates the potential of the cellular IoT. Cellular IoT devices offer more flexibility than traditional WiFi IoT equipment. And, modern LTE networks are capable enough that the connection isn’t restrictive.
So, it’s quite likely that cellular IoT could improve your business or be part of your next product.
Final IoT thoughts
The current IoT trends are indicative of a growing industry that’s just hitting its stride. As the technology improves and gets deployed around the world, some of the focus will shift from developing and implementing IoT technology to refining the technology and finding new ways to leverage IoT data.
All this is great news for everyone since it means that the IoT will offer new opportunities for nearly every industry, even those that have limited use for the IoT devices themselves.
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