Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. The Internet of Things (IoT), or the ability to connect everyday objects to the internet, has increased in popularity and widespread use over the last several years. According to IoT analytics, the global IoT market will grow to $1,567B by 2025. Various industries have already implemented the technology, which offers benefits for individuals and organizations alike. Its uses are diverse, with the potential to impact verticals ranging from retail to architecture to the ways we interact with our own homes. While IoT has been trending for some time, it is going to take on a more significant role in the next year, impacting our lives on a previously unprecedented scale. Here are the five hottest IoT trends to keep your eye on right now.
1. IoT devices will be more secure.
Security is one of the primary concerns that come with IoT use. Because the market is still relatively unregulated, device hacking and data theft have been issues that the industry is actively trying to solve. The stakes are high when it comes to IoT devices (take self-driving cars and home security, for example), and security solutions are of primary importance.
One of the most promising solutions for IoT security is blockchain technology. Because of its strong protections against data tampering and its ability to rapidly shut down or lock tampered devices, it may prove promising for the IoT market. The Hyundai Digital Asset Currency (HDAC), for example, aims to protect user privacy and remove hacking threats by connecting all IoT devices within their trust-based and secure blockchain token system. In addition to blockchain, mobile-device management solutions and two-factor authorization could provide additional safety measures.
2. More data will be sold.
“Infonomics,” or the practice of selling data, is continuously growing more immense. The potential value of data collected by IoT devices is huge, with companies gaining the opportunity to interact with information that was previously unavailable.
The “data-as-a-service” (DaaS) offers channels through which companies buy and sell data, and this market alone is growing; however, this isn’t an ideal way to sell IoT-based data. As a result, innovators are creating marketplaces explicitly designed with IoT devices in mind.
3. Our cities will get smarter.
Forward-thinking cities are adopting IoT technologies to make their communities more accessible, efficient and safe. People are migrating to cities for better employment prospects and more diverse lifestyles, and IoT technologies will better allow cities to adapt to this growth. IoT devices use city-wide sensors and meters to collect data and use the acquired information to build better infrastructure and offer necessary public services.
The European Union has largely been leading the way for the implementation of smart cities, with an allocation of 365 million Euros specifically for this purpose. Copenhagen, for example, uses sensors to monitor bike traffic and gather data for improved routes to better serve its heavily bike-dependent city. U.S. cities fall behind those in Europe when it comes to the implementation of smart technology; however, cities across the country will likely use more IoT-based practices over the next few years.
4. It will play a more prominent role within our homes.
Just as IoT is leading to the creation of “smart cities,” IoT devices are also creating “smart homes.” It’s now easy to set-up most appliances and control them remotely through the internet. Google Nest, for example, automatically controls heat and hot water, and the company has even produced smart smoke detectors and security cameras.
Big brands are also making investments in new IoT companies as they continue to innovate in their respective industries. AI-based smart kitchen assistant Chefling recently raised $2.5 M in series funding, and Bosch subsidiary BSH Hausgeräte GmbH brought one-third of the shares of the company. As a result, Chefling will be integrated into the Home Connect system and help consumers to automate cooking and receive access to personalized recipes based on what’s available in the kitchen at the time, dietary restrictions, and other preferences.
5. Retail will further adopt IoT to improve customer experience.
Retail-based businesses across the country are going to use IoT, both for online purchases and with brick-and-mortar shopping. IoT devices will allow retailers to determine how long consumers spend interacting with products and can collect data about in-store foot traffic. All of this information lets businesses decide which products are best suited for their customers and create experiences suited specifically for their audience.