Looking backward and forward in the Internet of Things
The end of one year and the beginning of the next is a good time to reflect. 2013 has seen some amazing changes in the Internet of Things world and this year promises even more. To see the vision of a connected world materialize is an exciting thing. The realization of a truly scaled Internet of Things (IoT) is a bit like living in a world of science fiction. It’s not surprising that IoT is met with euphoria, scepticism and hesitancy – often all in the same breath.
Over the past several months, I’ve written on various topics including energy management, smart homes, security solutions, connected cars, analytics and more. I’ve written about the transition from an M2M to an IoT world and illustrated some of the differences. And I’ve written about the security concerns that can thwart the inevitable development of an Internet of Things.
Quickly looking at the past several months in review, we saw exciting happenings in two key areas – break-through deals and new industry groups.
Break-through deals: There are too many to report, to be honest. But suffice it to say that deals in the automotive, utility and industrial sectors stole the limelight this year. It’s interesting to note that automotive sector deals seek to pave the way for a whole new driver and passenger experience in vehicles. My wife and I own two cars – a 2008 Toyota and a 1966 Ford Mustang. It’s quite amazing to think of the progress over 40-50 years of automobile development. We are going to see some absolutely amazing things over the next 5 years as our cars become part of our computing and connectivity fabric.
The industrial and utility sector deals have spanned the gamut from industrial equipment announcements to smart metering/grid deployments. These types of solutions will reduce various operating and capital costs; help us reduce fossil fuel emissions; and revolutionize the way we build and maintain equipment.
New industry groups – New groups are forming to deal with various aspects of IoT. I believe the most notable are those seeking to establish industry-sector standards and protocols for IoT in production and the consumer electronics sector. There are also several bodies dealing with the communications standards required to make an efficient and effective Internet of Things.
Now let’s turn our attention to the future.
2014 will be a year of implementation and experimentation. We will see many projects announced in 2013 start to be commercial implemented in 2014. Watch for initial roll-outs of some large smart metering deployments. We’ll also start to see industrial and retail sector IoT solutions launched – everything from large equipment to vending machines. We will also see connected automobile solutions, especially with the launch of model year 2015 vehicles. Finally expect to see more smart city IoT solutions deployed that link together mass transit (e.g., trains, buses), smart parking, safety/first responder and energy management solutions.
Not only will 2014 be a year of implementation, but it will also be a year of experimentation. I believe we will see vendors and service providers in the IoT ecosystem focusing on driving-up quality, in some cases beginning to offer deployment and operational guarantees, in other cases implementing ITIL frameworks (ITIL: Information Technology Infrastructure Library is a global collection of best practice frameworks to help IT manage growth, change in processes, and aliment to business strategies). I expect to see an IT-ification of IoT. In essence, IT services companies – IT channel partners – will become more interested in IoT solutions and the positioning of those solutions to their customers. These IT services firms will need to grow and develop new lines of services offerings, since the deployment of an IoT solution isn’t the same as deployment of a new unified communications, video conferencing, security or data centre solution. Finally we will see IoT service providers starting to offer solutions for smaller-scaled deployments. Today most IoT solutions are deployed with larger-sized enterprises, however, watch for more productized solutions aimed at small and medium enterprises over the next year.
What do you believe are the IoT hot trends for 2014?