It’s clear that the internet of things is transforming the business world in every industry — from giving companies the ability to track systems remotely, to providing doctors with patient data in real time, to automating building maintenance systems and more. As the technology has evolved over time, adoption among businesses has skyrocketed. In fact, according to research from Gartner, 8.4 billion connected things will be in use by the end of the year. It’s a sign that companies around the world are recognizing IoT’s potential to provide sophisticated data insights, better engage customers and employees, and ultimately drive business growth.
As 2017 comes to a close and we begin to look ahead to next year, there are five key IoT trends business leaders and IT teams should consider, no matter where they fall on the IoT adoption curve. These trends will impact how and where organizations implement IoT, which IoT technologies they adopt and how the technology will be integrated into existing systems and services.
Here are the trends businesses should watch for in 2018.
IoT will drive business transformation
Companies that have adopted IoT see the technology as mission-critical to their business. These companies are leading the way when it comes to digital transformation initiatives. According to Vodafone’s “IoT Barometer 2017/18” (registration required), 74% of companies that have adopted IoT agree that digital transformation is impossible without it. The businesses that implement IoT systems in the next year will have a clear advantage over competitors when it comes to evolving their digital capabilities.
LPWAN technologies will open up the IoT market
IoT adopters have great expectations for the future of the technology, and new connectivity options like low-power wide area networks (LPWAN) are making innovation possible. LPWAN technologies, like Narrowband IoT, allow for increased network coverage over a wide area at a low cost, making them an ideal technology for adding connectivity in hard-to-reach places. According to the analyst firm Analysys Mason, once there is greater awareness and understanding of LPWAN, there will be a new wave of growth in this area. LPWAN technologies will begin to open the IoT market to applications that have not previously benefitted from connectivity.
IoT will become central to enterprise IT functions
Today, most major enterprises have already integrated IoT into their core systems and initiatives to drive digital businesses. We will continue to see connectivity become part of the enterprise IT fabric — in fact, within five years, IoT will be core to millions of business processes. In the future, companies may even take for granted that devices and appliances like vehicles and HVAC systems can be controlled and monitored remotely, thanks to IoT connectivity.