The 6 Most Relevant IoT Advancements
The rapid growth of IoT is being driven by the tangible results that businesses of all sizes and from all industries are seeing as a result of IoT projects. By using embedded SIMs, connected devices can engage in two-way communications with central systems, either transmitting real-time data from sensors or receiving instructions on how to act. This opens unlimited possibilities for companies, including achieving higher efficiency, launching new connected services and business models, improving customer success management, or gathering advanced business intelligence. International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasts that worldwide spending on IoT will reach $1.29 trillion by 2020*.
In the past year (2019), we have seen the Internet of Things grow like crazy. We are starting to see more use cases, and advanced solutions pop up. Along with seeing traditional businesses that are considered “late adopters” to begin adopting some IoT into their business and cost savings ideas. The adoption in conventional companies is a massive moment for the Internet of Things, 2020 is setting up to be an absolute IoT explosion!
1) Faster than expected IoT device growth
According to IoT Analytics estimates, there were roughly 9.5 billion connected IoT devices at the end of 2019. That number is significantly larger than the forecast of 8.3B devices. The three main drivers:
- An explosion of consumer (notably Smart Home) devices
- Much stronger than expected cellular IoT/M2M connections
- IoT cellular-connected Gateways & cellular-connected Hubs
- Especially strong device connectivity growth in China.
It is now expected that the number of total connected Internet of Things devices to reach 28 billion by 2025, further driven by new low-power wide-area (LPWAN) connections along with 5G.
2) Micro Mobility
Light IoT-enabled vehicles such as smart scooters, electric skateboards, and shared bicycles crowded the streets of hundreds of cities throughout the world in 2018-2019. These new forms of transportation make up a new and burgeoning category of products referred to as micro-mobility solutions. Leading providers include Uber Jump, Lime, Bird, and Spin in Europe and North America as well as Meituan / Mobike, Ofo, Hellobike, and Didi Qingju in China.
The explosive increase of micro-mobility in 2019 is outstanding — Lime, which is now active in 110+ cities around the world. Despite the impressive growth of micro-mobility solutions, questions linger whether these new services are a short-term fad that will vanish, whether the companies supplying the bikes actually will become profitable and whether regulation will stand in the way of their success in 2020.
Regulators around the world have been targeting micro-mobility, with France imposing 25 kmh speed limits and banning scooters from pavements and Singapore imposing a “zero-tolerance” ban on the use of personal mobility devices on pedestrian walkways.
3) IoT and the Environment
Last year (2019) goes down as the year in which a new era of climate change awareness started. Driven by Greta Thunberg and the Friday’s For Future initiative, 2019 saw two globally coordinated multi-city protests involving over 1 million students each.
It seems that this new awareness for climate action and sustainability not only reached millions of individuals but is also leading large corporations to reprioritize their top-level strategies.
In September 2019, wireless sensor network hardware and software provider Libelium published a report examining how IoT contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and how the company is providing the right technology that supports achieving these goals.
Then in November 2019, leading industrial conglomerate Siemens let the world know that it is witnessing that customer requirements are changing and that from now on, “environmental efficiency is just as important as productivity, flexibility, and time-to-market,” something the company hadn’t spelled out that explicitly before. Siemens highlighted how it uses IoT and related technology to help a chocolate manufacturer reduce primary energy consumption by 20% and how the use of Digital Twins and the MindSphere IoT Platform may lead its customer Grundfos to save 50 billion liters of freshwater in the future.
Many IoT providers now have sections on their websites that are dedicated to the environment, sustainability, or simply “IoT for good.”
4) Smart Home Security Cameras
In early December 2019, a series of hacks of the popular home security camera system Ring (which was purchased by Amazon in 2018), shocked the world. Hackers in various locations managed to get access to the video live stream of unsuspecting Ring users, in several instances talking to and scaring children in their bedrooms. The first victims of the hacks are now suing Amazon over the incidents.
On December 30, 2019, another major Smart Home Security firm, Seattle-based Wyze, reported that it also had become the target of a significant hack that is supposed to have affected 2.4 million customers. The hack exposed user email addresses and information about the last time they logged in and is reported that some customers even had their health data leaked.
Even with the hacks of Ring and Wyze, the Ring devices continue to fly off the shelf and get installed, adding to the total number of IoT connected devices.
5) The Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN)
The LPWAN market saw strong growth in 2019. The installed base reached 231 million Low Power connected devices by the end of the year. This number represents a 110% increase compared to 2018. The analysis shows that the maturity of the LPWAN technologies is increasing and that there is a widening portfolio of commercially available solutions.
Popular Low Power Wide Area Network Technologies:
- Cat-M / LTE-M
6) Edge Computing / Edge Processing
We have seen a significant push from computing in the cloud to running applications on the “edge.”
Edge Computing is a method of optimizing cloud computing systems “by taking control of computing applications, data, and services away from some central nodes to the other logical extreme of the Internet,” which makes contact with the physical world. In other words, we are not using other people’s servers anymore. We are buying our own and placing them in the location we are using this. If this sounds familiar to you, then you have been around this space for a while. Because back in the early 00’s, there was not a “cloud” option.
Checkout: Why Edge computing and IoT got Married
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