December 20, 2017 | James Salter
The Internet of Things is a fascinating space to work. Companies involved with making things and supporting their connectivity are certainly in exciting times. They are also in the unenviable position of delivering devices and services that provide value to customers, differentiate their products in a more crowded market while avoiding the growing list of devices hackers have successfully breached.
As a marketing leader for a security company in IoT, I get the opportunity to interact with customers, partners, prospects, analysts and journalists every week. I attended a number of conferences and trade shows and participated in many meetings to discuss issues and opportunities involving IoT. There is enthusiasm in the industry but also some trepidation to get going, much like the first time you took off the training wheels on your bike. You know you need to move forward but you need to be ultra-cautious so you don’t fall down in the middle of the road. Proof of concepts, testing, more testing and validation the products will provide real customer value are evident with IoT.
With these nuggets of info I gathered, I decided I’d try to summarize a past year’s worth of experience. Here are my top 5 things I learned about IoT in 2017 based on many analyst reports, news articles, blogs and customer interactions:
- Security is still perceived as a pretty complicated thing and is holding many people back from moving forward with IoT innovations. This one pains me the most as, you know, my company actually provides a product to address this problem (not kidding, visit our website here). But, I also understand there are different areas of concern, many of the legacy tools developers cling to cannot ease your concerns and no one security solution provides a silver bullet to solve all potential cracks in the system.
- Flexibility is key. Whether you are a device marker or a software provider, flexibility is a big deal. I’ve heard you say any solutions for your product must fit your architecture with minimal pain including endpoint footprint and ability to connect seamlessly and securely to the Cloud.
- Greater intelligence at the edge is coming. We’ve all heard about AI, which is definitely in the embryonic stage now, but devices on the edge of the network are getting smarter. What we are seeing now is more processing happening on the edge with gateway or fog devices before sending data to the Cloud. Eventually AI will empower devices to be much smarter and autonomous, for now the next step seems to involve edge and fog computing momentum.
- The market is on the cusp of explosive growth. I know you’re thinking “If I had a dollar for every analyst report claiming a ginormous market for IoT I could retire early.” The truth is nearly 5 million IoT devices are being turned on every day. It’s going to get really crazy as we edge closer to 2020 which many see as a key tipping point for broader IoT adoption and tens of billions of devices are released in the wild. I know of many companies who are testing now for bigger launches in 2018. I also expect the governing standards for the industry are coming in advance of this growth very soon.
- Every customer concern is unique. Maybe this is applicable across any industry but I think it’s particularly relevant in IoT. Some customers I’ve spoken to care most about the limitations of the small compute power of devices, some about bandwidth and wireless costs to their customers, others about the security of their data, the security of the physical device, the ease of Cloud connectivity, or interoperability to back office systems. Whatever your concern, focus on addressing your big rocks with the solutions you select, and it will likely be solutions (plural) as few if any vendors can offer everything you need across hardware, security, connectivity and Cloud services.
If you’re looking for other articles to summarize trends in IoT here are a few more to review:
- IoT for all: Internet of Things World 2017 Recap – 8 Takeaways https://www.iotforall.com/internet-of-things-world-2017-recap/
- Forbes: 2017 Internet of Things (IoT) Intelligence Update https://www.forbes.com/sites/louiscolumbus/2017/11/12/2017-internet-of-things-iot-intelligence-update/#b0e47547f313
- Digitalist Magazine: What Will The Internet Of Things Look Like In 2027? 7 Predictions http://www.digitalistmag.com/iot/2017/03/29/what-will-internet-of-things-look-like-in-2027-7-predictions-04998096
I hope you all had a wonderful time with IoT in 2017 and look forward to more excitement in 2018!
Thanks for reading,
James Salter is the Director of Marketing at CENTRI. James has over 20 years of experience in software and technology marketing and enjoys sharing his insights on the Internet of Things, data security, enterprise issues and driving value from solutions. Connect with James on LinkedIn.