The number of installed IoT devices is expected to surge to around 30.9 billion units by 2025. They are vital tools for digital transformation and datafication, and their power lies in performance improvements, as well as problem-solving capabilities.
Matthew Margetts, Director, Smarter Technologies explains why IoT’s importance as a technology trend this year and into the future is the role it plays in the successes of other technologies.
What is IoT?
IoT is the ecosystem of internet-connected smart devices and technologies in our homes, cities, and workplaces that continuously collect data.
Benefits of IoT in business
Technology trends powered by IoT
According to McKinsey, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital technologies by seven years. Off the back of global lockdowns, this naturally includes the requirement for remote monitoring and the move towards automated systems.
The preference for individual devices performing multiple functions has given way to networks of devices. This network of devices creates a modular system of individual utilities and processes.
Data is arguably one of the top strategic tools for businesses. High-quality data plays a role in designing business strategy (what can be monitored can be more effectively managed) and ensuring the integrity of supply chains. Data also can inspire high-level compliance, machine learning, customer service, maintenance schedules, safety, and security.
The concepts of artificial intelligence, machine learning, visual inspections, and automation are becoming increasingly commonplace. These functions are all best guided by data insights – removing the unpredictability and margin of error from human processes.
As IoT technologies evolve, so too do the networks around them. Improved speed, security, and reliability of networks and connectivity infrastructure are the precursor to IoT sensors, wearables, smart cities, and homes.
IoT technologies and smart technology solutions have found their way into businesses, buildings, healthcare, retail, agriculture, and manufacturing. IoT technologies stand to have a bearing on many different facets of these different sectors. This includes vaccination cold chains, predictive maintenance for enhanced equipment management, transport, and logistics.
Digital twins are virtual replicas of a physical product, process, or system that bridge the physical and digital worlds. Today’s digital twins use sensors to collect real-time data about a physical item, which is used to create a virtual duplicate of the item. The digital duplicate can be optimised, manipulated, and analysed to test different scenarios in a risk-free environment.
As IoT devices become more prevalent – and as our reliance on them increases – so security concerns take on renewed importance. Gartner reports that 20 per cent of organisations have experienced cyber-attacks on IoT devices over the past three years.
The supply of semiconductor chips for IoT solutions has been put under strain by the high demand in recent times, resulting in a chip shortage. This is expected to limit IoT growth by 10-15 per cent in 2022. The good news is that public and private sector efforts by the European Union are designed to meet the challenges of the shortage and make way for achieved growth potential.
Traditionally, the optimal effectiveness and speed of data transmission of IoT technologies have hinged on bandwidth capabilities. Network advances will ensure not only that data is transmitted in real-time as required by many applications, but also that this process is done securely.