Tuesday, October 17, 2017

IDG Contributor Network: 4 things reshaping IoT for the future

For many Internet of Things observers, the IoT's dizzying embracing and subsequent reshaping of modern business and cultural standards seems like it happened only yesterday. Yet the IoT is moving ever faster, developing at an astonishing rate and continuously reinventing itself. So what's the next step in the long-line of IoT innovation, and how can eager investors cash in on tomorrow's IoT fad today?

Those used to the ever-changing nature of the IoT will know by now that it's constantly changing, but will also be aware that innovation in certain areas matters much more than gradual developments elsewhere. A quick review of the 4 things reshaping the IoT's future the most shows which industries will be most vital towards its development and offers an alluring glance of what the IoT of tomorrow will look like:

1. An explosion of sensors

Few things empower the IoT as much as the sensors which make up its physical senses in the real world; already, millions of embedded sensors help companies and individuals collect useful data about the world around them, so that they may in turn shape it with better business decisions or new products. The IoT sensor market alone is expected to be worth a staggering $27 billion by 2022, and the rapid growth of an industry supplying the physical sensors and the coding that powers them will only continue in the coming decades.

As billions of global consumers become the proud owners of smartphones and other handheld gadgets, the sensors which make up the IoT will not only grow in quantity, but also in financial value. As refinements to sensory technology continues, IoT-connected devices will be able to collect more data in less time at cheaper rates, and they'll be able to better store, sort, sell, and make use of that data in the marketplace.

2. A new regulatory environment

Even strangers and newcomers to the IoT often recognize that consumer privacy and market regulation are two of the biggest concerns of the world's largest digital phenomenon. Growing rates of corporate data breaches, such as the Equifax fiasco that jeopardized the personal data of millions of Americans alone, are making consumers and regulators alike more interested in data privacy and the general regulation of the IoT.

This will have a sizable impact on gadget producers and software developers alike; tomorrow's IoT products and services will be created in a significantly stricter business environment, and greater cost will be shouldered by companies when it comes to things like investing in necessary IT security infrastructure and gadget security, not to mention data management.

3. Machine learning comes into its own

Anybody keeping tabs on the IoT has undoubtedly heard about machine learning and the wonders it can work in the business world, but fewer people understand that machine learning and the use of algorithms in tandem with the IoT in general are merely in their infancy. Much in the same way that today's standard IoT devices and logo design software would look alien to someone only 10 years ago, the IoT of the next decade will be all but unrecognizable.

Top companies like Google, Microsoft, and IBM are all pouring money into artificial intelligence and machine learning for good reasons; current applications of algorithms in the business world are only the tip of the iceberg. Tomorrow's IoT will be shaped largely by those with control over the best data-analytics and machine learning capabilities, which will be needed to keep up with the ever-increasing deluge of data and devices that stems from the IoT's continuous expansion.

4. Better security & physical standards

The high levels of attention being paid to IoT security in light of continuous hacks and data breaches will have a strong impact in the long term; in the IoT of tomorrow, gadgets won't be valued based on how cheap they are to produce and program, like they are now, but rather based on their levels of security and physical endurance.

Advancements in everything from IT security infrastructure to gadget batteries and production standards will reshape current marketing trends and consumer patterns. Devices will be able to operate longer without needing a charge, and data privacy standards inside of IoT companies will themselves be much more stringent to prevent outside regulation or intrusion.

Ultimately, a public reevaluation of security standards is likely to drive the physical world of the IoT as much as it is the regulatory world that exist on paper to constrain it. The only consistent thing about the IoT is that it's constantly evolving, surpassing modern expectations and standards and demanding new innovations and perspectives to adapt and conquer new sectors of the market. Much of the IoT of the 21st century will look completely different, but investors and consumers alike are unlikely to see more change than in these key 4 areas.

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