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Internet of Things Trends to Keep Watching in 2020

Back in August 2019, Gartner projected that the enterprise and automotive Internet of Things (IoT) sector will have integrated up to 5.8 billion endpoints by 2020. Utilities are seen as the highest user of IoT endpoints, expected to reach 1.37 billion endpoints globally in 2020. Well into the year, we see how this is becoming a reality.

And with more and more devices becoming part of the Industrial Internet of Things, trends towards industrial applications, smart decision-making, enhanced security solutions, and edge computing continue to define the IoT landscape this year. Let’s have a look at some of the major Internet of Things trends that we can observe throughout 2020:

From Consumer to Industrial IoT (IIoT)

While this was already a tendency over the previous year, 2020 shows an even more pronounced shift from Consumer to Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Rather than focusing on the increasingly diverse consumer market, with offerings spanning from smart mattresses to smart refrigerators, investment efforts are concentrating on industrial applications. This applies especially to funding geared towards the building of new, robust infrastructures. These are to tackle problems in agriculture, transportation, and telecommunications.

Smart factory applications are receiving particular attention. The increased use of wearables—also connected to mobile devices—can give both workers on the shop floor and managers a better picture of machine status and local safety conditions. Innovations in predictive maintenance continue to be a trend.

From Information to Smart Suggestions

So far, the global focus has been on data acquisition from IoT devices. Establishing connectivity, data collection, tracking, reporting, and setting the ground for analysis is what we have had on the agenda. In 2020, however, the focus is shifting from data acquisition to smart data management. Given the large numbers of connected IoT devices globally and the vast amounts of generated data, IoT devices should not simply be responsible for providing reports on their environment. They are now also expected to gain more agency when it comes to the decision-making process.

AI gets to play a more active role in making sense of data. Whereas final decisions may still be in the hands of humans, IoT devices are increasingly expected to deliver insight. This is where we may begin to experience a shift in the perception of IoT devices. These will no longer be seen as mere apparatuses designed to provide observations about one’s environment. Rather, IoT devices may be well on their way to becoming active participants in the shaping of that environment. Devices will gradually begin to co-determine decision-making processes. After all, IoT devices may be far better equipped to understand the systems within which they are embedded than any intervening human.

More Privacy and Security

IoT providers continue to face even more regulatory hurdles, especially when it comes to handling personally identifiable information (PII). Protecting customer data, tackling data retention issues, and compliance with privacy laws continue to be a top priority, with efforts to standardize and enforce increasingly robust data safety regulations projected to intensify over the long term.

In the EU, GDPR comes with an array of obligations for providers as now the entire lifecycle of identities and all the related attribute data will have to be managed. A big-picture view of the entire spectrum of implications surrounding a product will bring forth more awareness towards personally identifiable information (PII) and all the compliance requirements associated herewith.

The Internet of Things continues to face complex safety challenges that call for a sustained renewal of security efforts. Advances in IoT network and device hacking are a cause of global concern. IoT’s diverse and distributed nature makes IoT devices particularly exposed to threats. Addressing security concerns and implementing robust security measures, along with educating users on security topics, is now a top priority for vendors. Also, collaborative efforts towards increased transparency in handling privacy and security issues come to the table. These are no longer seen as the isolated problems of a particular vendor or a corporation but as global concerns that put everyone at risk.

Even More IoT Edge Computing

Back in 2018, Gartner projected that edge computing and cloud computing will become complementary models in the years to come. Well into 2020, we get to observe how edge computing is slowly beginning to outpace cloud computing. Edge computing processes data generated by IoT devices closer to the location where the data originates. Instead of sending the data to cloud infrastructures, data processing thus takes place near its place of origin. This prevents data loss and accelerates insight generation from local data.

By shifting away from data centers, edge computing makes it possible to take an array of services and tasks off-cloud. Moving IoT management to the edge leads to better transfer rates and faster response times. IoT devices at the edge process the data, which is then transferred to storage repositories or corporate data centers.

Along with this development, the market for IoT platforms that facilitate edge computing is expected to continue to grow in 2020, with an array of smaller vendors entering the segment. And whereas companies will not abandon the cloud entirely in favor of edge computing any time soon, there is an ever-growing tendency to allocate more computing power to the edge of the network.

From Large Corporations to Small IoT Developer Groups

Leading tech giants have placed massive IoT offerings on the market. But the future of IoT may not belong to the giants! When it comes to taking IoT to the next level, we might just as well turn to smaller contributors. These have the flexibility and the mindset to push the envelope of IoT innovation. Here we speak of formal or informal groups of developers and technicians. But these can also be collaborators on an IoT platform working with open-source technology. And then we have compact companies focused on a single niche solution and ending up with a market-ready finished product.

Advances in IoT platform development will continue to be in focus throughout the upcoming years. And this is where Record Evolution comes in. Our small specialized company has created a data science and IoT development studio with device management and app development functionalities. Using the scalable online IoT platform, you structure your connected devices, develop apps in the IDE, and deploy over the air on multiple devices.

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About Record Evolution

We are a data science and IoT team based in Frankfurt, Germany, that helps companies of all sizes innovate at scale. That’s why we’ve developed an easy-to-use industrial IoT platform that enables fast development cycles and allows everyone to benefit from the possibilities of IoT and AI.