It’s May already, and we’re already one-third of the way through 2017. At market research firm Frost & Sullivan, analysts are already thinking ahead and considering how the rest of this year is likely to shape up in terms of IoT growth.
The Frost & Sullivan report, European Internet of Things Market Outlook 2017, published this week, predicts that the next evolution in IoT will be ‘sentient tools’ and ‘cognition or predictive computing.’
What the company’s analysts mean by this, it seems, is that we’ll see a shift from humans being able to use IoT data in order to react to events to IoT environments that are more readily able to detect and respond to events without the need for human intervention.
This seems ambitious, given the current state of things, but Frost & Sullivan’s analysts helpfully point to some recent developments that suggest things are indeed headed that way.
For a start, there’s the commercialization of narrowband IoT (NB-IoT). “This cellular communications technology users licensed spectrum and offers a standardized low-power, wide-area network (LPWAN) that can capture previously untapped segments of the market,” they say.
Then, there is the increasing use of machine learning and blockchain technologies, particularly in industries such as financial services and energy. In addition, there are new, dedicated venture funds for IoT development popping up across Europe, they add, that “will help create an ecosystem that is conducive to the growth of start-ups in the region.”
Frost & Sullivan research analyst Yiru Zhong then points to five emerging growth areas for IoT in 2017, all of which we at Internet of Business are seeing, too, and following closely. These are:
1. Platform plays: market launches of new or revamped platform plays for connectivity, service, and application enablement are continuing.
IoB says: Yes, but it’s getting harder and harder for makers of new IoT devices and services to choose between them. Beecham Research, for example, has identified around 400 of them already. Vendors need get better – and fast – at articulating what makes their platform stand out from the crowd. We recently covered a new tool from Beecham Research that aims to help customers pick the right platform and will be holding our IoT BUILD conferences, which focus on platforms, in San Francisco and London later this year.
2. LPWAN: With NB-IoT, companies are offering connected service in any form will now have more concrete low-power connectivity options to test and deploy suitable new applications from 2017 onwards.
IoB says: Yes, but again, there’s too much market fragmentation here, with at least eight different LPWA technologies in use worldwide. The big battle looks set to play out between LoRa and Sigfox – but there’s still everything to play for for other LPWA standards, including UNB Wireless, Ingenu and LTE-M. Our recent article on chipmaker ARM’s acquisition of NextG-Com and Mistbase for their NB-IoT (Narrowband IoT) expertise also includes data from Analysys Mason on how various standards are faring.
3. Industry vendor convergence: Tier 2 industrial vendor M&A activities will persist, while established conglomerate giants add digital technologies to their portfolios.
IoB says: Yes, so enterprise buyers will have to place their bets wisely even as they stand on shifting sands. We recently took a look, for example, at how networking giant Cisco is capitalising on its 2016 acquisition of Jasper.
4. Cybersecurity in IoT: Focus will be on enabling multi-layered security approaches, while addressing individual behavior risks to IoT systems.
IoB says: Yes, this is a big focus for us and will continue to be so. The idea of so-called ‘Internet of Insecure Things’ looks set to put the brakes on IoT spend for some time to come. This week, we published an article from Cambridge Consultants that makes it clear that IoT device manufacturers have more work to do.
5. Consumer IoT: More proof of concepts and provision of discounts or subsidies will encourage consumers to discover, experiment and experience connected IoT applications.
IoB says: Yes, but savvy consumers will increasingly shop only for IoT devices and apps that really add value to their daily lives. And they’ll quickly discard those that fail to deliver or become an annoying distraction. Not everything that can be connected needs to be connected and data security concerns persist among consumers, as a recent survey of 4,000 UK and US adults from identity and access management company Gigya highlights.
According to Yiru Zhong, all this points to the emergence of a more “intelligent society”. At Internet of Business, we’re inclined to agree – but with some reservations and a hefty dose of scepticism, naturally.