The internet of things (IoT) is everywhere today. From TVs to thermostats to lightbulbs, it seems like virtually every piece of technology today has an internet of things version somewhere. It’s only going to grow from here, too.
While smart devices are already all around us, the IoT is still in its early stages. Here’s a look at the top eight predictions about where it will go in the next decade.
1. IoT Security Will Take Center Stage
As popular as IoT devices are, they’re notoriously vulnerable to hacking. Attacks against IoT devices increased almost ninefold in 2019, and as these gadgets become more common, this becomes more worrying. As a result, internet of things developers in the coming years will take security more seriously.
More smart gadgets will come with higher built-in security measures like encryption and ways to authenticate over-the-air updates. Security vendors will offer more IoT-specific cybersecurity solutions. These security improvements will help the internet of things grow without increasing its related risks.
2. Smart Cities Will Become a Reality
One of the most promising IoT applications is the smart city, where everything in a town is interconnected. Some areas have already started to install intelligent city infrastructure like IoT-connected parking meters, garbage cans, and traffic lights. Over the next decade, these projects will grow, making entire intelligent cities a reality.
City-wide IoT networks will make urban life flow more smoothly. For example, public transportation will navigate more efficiently, thanks to real-time traffic data from connected road infrastructure. When smart cities grow, they’ll also help self-driving cars operate safely.
3. Aftermarket IoT Solutions Will Grow
When you think of IoT devices, you probably think of intelligent alternatives to standard technology. While built-in IoT connectivity isn’t going anywhere, aftermarket IoT solutions that give traditional devices these features will become more popular. These add-ons will help more people access everything that smart homes have to offer.
These types of IoT devices already exist. You can connect an ordinary garage door opener to a Wi-Fi controller with just a few simple steps. Things like this will become more popular over the next few years as more people want to experience internet of things connectivity.
4. IoT Will Take Off in Retail
Businesses can benefit a lot from the IoT, but most commercial IoT adoption has been in industries like manufacturing. That will start to shift throughout the 2020s, with retail relying more heavily on these technologies.
E-commerce has taken over retail, and brick-and-mortar stores will have to adapt to make the most of that shift. That transition will include using IoT devices in-store to create multi-channel shopping experiences. Connected sensors will help provide personalized recommendations and deals across both online and in-person stores.
5. More Niche IoT Products Will Appear
In the consumer market, intelligent devices will appear in more and more niche areas. As the multiple smart water bottle brands highlight, this trend has already started, but it will grow throughout the decade. By 2030, it’ll be hard to think of a product that doesn’t have an internet of things alternative.
IoT technology is becoming smaller, more affordable, and more familiar to audiences. It’s only natural that it will start to seep into more niche markets. Making more specific IoT devices will help companies compete in the increasingly crowded market.
6. Healthcare Will Embrace the IoT
Just as retail will see growing IoT adoption, so will the medical industry. Healthcare companies are always at the cutting edge of technology to provide better care for patients, and today, that means IoT implementation. Some experts predict that the internet of medical things market will be worth $158 billion by 2022.
IoT tracking can help hospitals ensure transplants, transfusions, and vaccines stay cold and safe. Similarly, they can use IoT systems to keep track of their resources, helping them operate more efficiently. Home IoT devices like wearable health sensors will help enable remote patient care.
7. Blockchain Technology Will Change IoT Tracking
A lot of companies today use IoT devices to track their shipments throughout the supply chain. These systems help improve visibility and fight fraud, but they could use improvement to become more secure. Blockchains, transparent but unchangeable electronic records, are a promising answer.
Supply chains are on the verge of this transformation. Some hospitals used blockchains to track COVID vaccines in early 2021. As these technologies improve and companies become more familiar with them, more will use them to secure internet of things data in the supply chain.
8. 5G Will Take IIoT to the Next Level
Another technology that will push the IoT forward is 5G. While you may be underwhelmed with 5G today, that’s because these networks aren’t widespread yet. By 2023, 5G could hit its tipping point, and when that happens, it’ll be possible to run far more internet of things devices in one area.
This trend has significant implications for the industrial internet of things (IIoT). Manufacturers will be able to bring IoT connectivity to virtually every machine in their facilities, creating vast, interconnected networks. Their efficiency, flexibility, and energy savings will reach new levels.
The Future of the IoT Is Bright
This technology has already made a tremendous impact on daily life, and it’s not done yet. In the next ten years, you can expect these trends to take hold and grow, reshaping our lives. By the end of the 2020s, it may be hard to remember what life was like before the internet of things.
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