Seven predictions for the Internet of Things in 2017

Internet of Business looks to the experts to determine what’s in store for IoT in 2017. Here follows seven IoT predictions made at the Internet of Build conference in London.

The power of voice

When asked for his predictions, Seb Chakraborty, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Centrica Hive, told IoB editor Doug Drinkwater that he was surprised by the speed at which voice technology had taken off in 2016.

“I think voice is an amazing enabler for the connected home, with services like Amazon Echo and Google Home you’re going to see that transform [in 2017],” he said.

Indeed, voice assistants have gained popularity in 2016. From Mark Zuckerberg’s butler voiced by Morgan Freeman to voice-powered health assistants, we fully expect to see voice technology continue to grow in use next year.

Predictive maintenance to prove business value

Rana Ghosh-Ray, cognitive and analytics leader in Europe for IBM, had a more industrial take in his outlook for next year.

“We believe that IoT will be quite successful in the preventative areas…and once this becomes successful I think then there will be a need for standardization and security,” he said.

“There’s a lot of people worried about the standardization and security up front, but I think those are the constraints right now and I don’t know whether that will be effective.

“In 2017, once we start proving the value of IoT for preventative maintenance…I think that standards and security will follow straight after.”

Predictive maintenance is already proving to be one of the key benefits of IoT. Tech distributor Avnet, for example, has plans in the works for a predictive solution using IoT, and IoT-powered, Duke Energy, is using predictive maintenance to reduce downtime on its smart grids.

Related: Large-scale IoT security breach coming in 2017, Forrester predicts

Moving beyond trials to adoption at scale

Adam Leach, director of R&D at Nominet spoke of the need to move beyond commercial trials and proof of concepts to find verticals that are going to adopt IoT at scale, with the autonomous vehicle market most likely to take the lead in his opinion.

The connected car market is extremely competitive, but it’s not the only vertical making inroads in the IoT space. For more information on the latest innovations by vertical, take a look at some of our latest events.

Bluetooth mesh to light the way

Approaching his predictions from a networking perspective, Martin Woolley, technical program manager at Bluetooth SIG – which oversees Bluetooth standards – was positive about the advancement of Bluetooth Mesh.

“I think what we’ll see is Bluetooth Mesh appearing in lighting products first…and when I say lighting products I’m talking about commercial lighting systems for hotels, office blocks, airports and so on.

“And one of the consequences of that is that, by deploying a lighting system that uses Bluetooth Mesh capabilities for control in a large building, you’re actually deploying almost a platform, a network, upon which you can deploy other Bluetooth services.

“So, all of your lightbulbs across your entire hotel…can also be Bluetooth beacons, as well as having the controllability wirelessly from any point in the building; they can also be used to track location of people in the building…so you’ll never lose anything again.”

Related: A little less IoT prediction, a little more action please

Worse DDoS attacks

Ken Munro, security expert at Pen Test Partners, has made two predictions. He believes that distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks will get worse, but security in general will actually improve due to improved awareness and understanding of the risks that IoT poses.

“I think we are going to see worse denial of service attacks because Mirai is just one particular type of ‘smart thing’, and we’ve already seen multiple different categories of ‘things’ that we’ve found vulnerabilities in that could be used to massively improve…on the performance of Mirai,” he said.

“So, we’re seeing attacks in between half and a full terabit of data. We think that’s nothing compared to what we’re going to see from IoT in the future.”

Improved security overall

“The second half of my prediction is that actually I think security with IoT will start to improve. It’s on everyone’s radar now, people are paying attention, they’re realizing that shipping a vulnerable IoT device is going to impact their reputation, it’s going to damage their brand, and if they’re a listed company I think we’ll see share prices drop,” Munro concluded.

It’s true to say that awareness has been raised. Governments are now taking greater notice of IoT security, but whether that’s enough depends on your perspective, and users are still not updating the firmware on most connected devices, exposing themselves to cyber-attacks. Chi Onwurah MP has written at length about the need for great education and focus in this area.

Problem solvers to succeed

To round up our experts’ predictions for 2017, Amar Parmar, head of IoT design center, Wind River, struck a positive note for vendors with solutions to a problem, though his words may spark caution among others.

“I think the vendors…that are creating the things for IoT, you’re going to see some of them succeed.

“The people who have found a very crisp problem…and have created a very targeted solution, I think you are going to see those guys succeed, and they are going to grow very, very quickly.”

By contrast, Parmar suggested that those creating IoT solutions simply to jump on the latest bandwagon trend may well “go away”, presumably due to dissatisfaction, or will “flat line” from a lack of need for their product.

What are your predictions for IoT in 2017? Why not tell us here on Twitter or Facebook?