5 Big Internet of Things Trends We’ll See In 2021

January 13, 2021 - 8 minutes read

Last year created the urgent need for innovation from every industry and nowhere was that need greater than in tech, logistics, retail, and healthcare. These four industries scrambled to deliver a seamless transition to a mostly-digital world, and many new ideas were pursued with the goal to lessen the amount of stress and infection risk placed upon consumers. For many industries to successfully create novel and groundbreaking technologies and tools, the Internet of Things (IoT) development was utilized for a more efficient and faster way to reach the end product.

IoT connects various types of devices to create a holistic application that can be used in almost anything, from construction equipment to machinery on the factory floor to the everyday home. As we ring in the new year, IoT will play a crucial role in technology in 2021. Here are the five major IoT trends to watch out for in 2021.

1. Medical Applications

Healthcare and medicine are at the forefront of industries that have been burgeoning with demand during the pandemic. For most people, healthcare is top of mind. As we begin to roll out the vaccine, IoT will play a major role in the effective implementation of protocols and community vaccination schedules over the next few years.

Eventually, IoT will become more entrenched in health tech development. It’ll help protect patients and providers, help with administering treatments, and even create a smooth workflow for disease detection and diagnosis. Public health officials and epidemiologists will use IoT devices to track infection risk and the spread of the virus to develop more effective plans to decrease the possibility of another pandemic.

Barring patients with the virus, the healthcare system still needs to take care of patients with other health concerns. These patients might have another injury, condition, or disease that makes them more vulnerable to infection from the virus, and they’re the ones that will benefit from IoT technologies like telehealth and AI-enhanced treatment plans. IoT also helps patients connect more closely with their providers by digitizing medical records and allowing patients to see the same data that the provider looks at. IoT can even help patients take vital measurements like oxygen saturation, body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and more at home, instead of visiting a provider in person and increasing the risk for infection.

2. Edge Computing

Edge computing is an IoT technology that’s long been talked about. We may see the rise of edge computing across every industry in 2021. In edge computing, the IoT device uses a nearby data storage device for analysis instead of uploading to the cloud. Eventually, the storage device does upload the data to the cloud, but when the cloud is already holding a massive amount of information, it can slow down analysis and cause issues for heavy machinery.

This saves infrastructure costs and speeds up data analysis, allowing companies to identify anomalies in the data much faster. Edge computing also helps that one part of your factory floor or store that somehow always seems to be just out of reach of the router’s connectivity. Remote areas can benefit greatly from edge computing, as it works well with low-power wide-area network infrastructures and satellite connectivity technology that out-of-the-way companies are already utilizing. For example, oil and gas monitoring stations and devices, smart cars, and smart cities will make the most of edge computing technology in 2021.

3. Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a major factor in IoT systems, and security risks are at an all-time high as the number of connected IoT devices continues to grow rapidly. If an IoT system became compromised, it could cost the company tens of thousands of dollars or more. Unfortunately, most IoT devices are manufactured with minimal security protocols, which creates the risk of a botnet attack that utilizes thousands of devices across multiple companies to take down many IoT systems.

It’s important to prioritize cybersecurity during application development and work on improving the security of all IoT devices constantly. If that’s too much work for your company, consider hiring a security company with domain expertise and success in enacting tighter security protocols. For healthcare tech companies especially, cybersecurity is a top concern as the data housed is personal, private, and protected under HIPAA guidelines.

4. Smart Homes

Remote work has moved work from an office to the home. Many employees are considering upgrading their homes with technology to make it easier to work and live in. For smart home device manufacturers, this is the perfect time to create more home office-based products and technologies. Smart appliances, smart lighting, environmental controls, and energy management devices will all support employees who are working from home for the foreseeable future.

On the other hand, employers can also utilize IoT to manage their factory floors, heavy machinery, and field workers.

5. IoT-Enhanced Smart Retail

The pandemic has completely changed the landscape of retail shopping. No longer are customers going to a physical store to find a new outfit. They’re finding their newest wardrobe pieces online. As stores reopen, they’ll have to pivot significantly to accommodate the social distancing and quarantining that is sure to take up the bulk of 2021. Using IoT, retailers can spin their value propositions to consumers by offering better inventory management, theft protection, and advertising and marketing efforts.

IoT app development

IoT can also be used to keep employees and customers safe from infection by tracking social distancing and offering contactless payment. The Canadian government has been utilizing a contact tracing app for citizens from Nova Scotia to Toronto to Vancouver. This can help consumers feel safe enough to visit a store for shopping.

2021 and Beyond

As with every other emerging technology, IoT is poised to continue rapidly growing and expanding in 2021. Beyond the applications we outlined in this post, IoT is going to help us enact major progress in every industry this year. What remains to be seen is what the next year will bring for us in the way of unforeseen and unexpected IoT innovations.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,