What’s Next for IoT in 2018?

November 23, 2017 - 7 minutes read

IoT 2018

2017 has been a rollercoaster of a year for the Internet of Things (IoT). As the year comes to a close, IoT developers are still picking up the pieces from vicious hack attacks, and we’re still in the midst of an all-out smart home war between tech titans. With so much uncertainty in the air, the question has to be asked — what will happen to IoT in 2018?

Let’s Talk Business

Forrester recently released their predictions for IoT next year in an extensive report called “IoT Moves From Experimentation to Business Scale.” This title aptly sums up the direction that IoT is heading for 2018. IoT will no longer be relegated to niche applications like smart home assistants.

Businesses from startups to enterprises have taken note of the potential uses that IoT offers, and they plan on capitalizing on it as soon as possible. To accomplish this, IoT will move away from generic, general-use applications and will be utilized in more specialized scenarios.

IoT platforms will begin offering “design and operate” scenarios specifically developed with certain industries in mind. This means that Toronto developers working on a smart city and NYC developers creating industrial IoT apps will no longer have to adapt and modify a generic IoT dev kit to meet their particular needs.

IoT cloud

Besides moving from generalist to specialist technology, IoT will also be migrating more to a cloud environment. The cloud has been taking away business from private data centers in virtually every industry. The benefits that the cloud offers seem endless: low adoption costs, rapid prototyping deployment, minimal maintenance, seamless integration with other systems, global reach, and many more. So it comes as no surprise that IoT is trending towards this.

The Elephant in the Room

If you’ve been reading Dogtown Media News regularly, you know that the biggest threat to IoT in 2018 will still be security. In fact, it may get worse than it was in 2017, which is hard to stomach when considering that there was basically a new cybersecurity threat every few weeks.

While IoT integrating into the cloud provides many substantial benefits, one major downside is that IoT could be more susceptible to attacks. Even without this taken into consideration, Forrester is predicting that IoT cyberattacks in 2018 will be much more successful at causing chaos and damage. And unlike previous IoT attacks focused on social, military, or political reasons, 2018’s attacks will have one main motive — money. Hackers are already exploring potential uses of ransomware on smart vehicles, medical equipment, and point-of-sale machines. That is some scary stuff.

IoT security

While IoT may be a divisive subject with regards to when the right time is for it to reach mainstream status, almost everyone can agree that it will be a positive and inevitable part of the future. So why is security so lacking? As we discussed in one of our recent short-form pieces, it, unfortunately, comes down to priorities.

Security currently takes a backseat to other aspects like time-to-market deadlines and customer experience. Which is ironic, because all companies involved are racing to cut themselves a slice of the IoT profitability pie, but they fail to see that insecurity will cause a distrust that could hurt their margins in the long run. Let’s also not forget the frightening fact that IoT is the main foundation behind smart home security.

IoT smart home

With no company willing to invest in stepping up IoT security, Gartner makes the unsettling prediction that practically half of all IoT security budgets through 2022 will be used for fault remediation, safety failures, recalls, and basically anything that isn’t proactive protection.

The future of IoT security looks bleak, but one silver lining to consider is that this is a prime chance for an innovative IoT developer to capitalize on. Companies may think they’re following the money, but improving IoT security could turn out to be an unparalleled opportunity for profit.

Is 2018 the Year of Mass Adoption and Scaling?

Security problems aside, the future of IoT is not all cloudy skies. With seemingly endless room for innovation and ample opportunities for more personalized brand experiences, Forrester expects IoT to leave the realm of “niche” and become much more mainstream during 2018. Despite their unique offerings, many technologies never escape this phase due to their singular applications. Wearables are a perfect example of this.

IoT applications

IoT’s versatility will cause vast disruption across many vertical markets over the next few years, but you won’t have to wait too long to start seeing this. In 2018, Forrester anticipates that companies previously dabbling with industrial IoT will pivot more towards building these platforms and leave the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) industry completely. With so much untread territory in IoT and regulations growing stricter in IaaS, it only makes sense.

Surprisingly, IoT will also help to drive Blockchain adoption. The digital ledger technology may be uber popular among FinTech developers and cryptocurrency enthusiasts but hasn’t been utilized much for large-scale deployment for a variety of reasons. A few promising early-stage projects and the improvement of both IoT and Blockchain over the coming months make Forrester optimistic about their future together.

By shifting to specialization and the cloud while giving developers more power for impact, Forrester Research believes that IoT will be “the backbone of future customer value.” Companies and businesses across various industries are now realizing the unique potential that IoT has to connect the digital and physical worlds, and many have already dedicated funds towards leveraging this advantage next year. 2018 is shaping up to be the year that the Internet of Things becomes the Internet of Everything.

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