The Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming the way we all live our everyday lives. The amount of dollars spent on IoT technologies worldwide is projected to nearly double in 2021, from USD 248b to USD 418b. The number of IOT devices are expected to grow to 22 billion by 2025. We need to ensure that we build a stable environment that people can trust to benefit from technology. The emerging pandemic of COVID-19 in 2020 has raised many obstacles, as we all continue to deal with the global crisis.
With all this in mind, let’s look at what we consider to be 5 of the trends you can expect in 2021:
1. More productive remote working
COVID-19 meant that working from home (WFH) is now the standard for a lot of people around the world. With so many households around the world filled with home helpers like Alexa or Google Home, we should foresee a rise in the number of apps built to make us work more effectively from home, letting us navigate our day while working remotely.
Expect to see IoT driven apps such as smart automatic scheduling and calendar tools as well as higher quality, more immersive video conferencing. Microsoft is a great example of this and uses Azure Kinect sensors for its Virtual Stage platform to allow immersive, AI-powered presentations that can keep us more active.
It’s not just remote employees who can benefit from IoT’s developments in 2021. When businesses do need a physical presence, IoT technology ensures that assets can be tracked more efficiently remotely, and human engineers can be notified if any problems occur.
2. Edge computing
Adopting edge computing would become more critical for IoT systems to address the limitations of cloud computing, such as poor bandwidth and latency problems encountered during real-time data processing. Edge computing is a more cost-effective and accurate form of data analysis for IoT computers.
What’s the edge of computing? With edge computing instead of IoT systems sending all the data, they gather to the cloud for processing and insight generation, this function is done directly on the devices themselves.
Companies need to make decisions based on IoT data quicker than ever before to understand the maximum potential of devices on the network. With the confluence of 5G networks, a spike in IoT and its applications, and a drastic increase in the volume of data we receive, edge computing can be more critical than ever when we move on to 2021.
3. Evolution of AI and data analytics
Data analytics plays a major role in the effective operation of business by making a crucial decision based on a detailed review of the data gathered. Advanced AI-driven data analytics tools, fuelled by AI algorithms and Big Data technologies, can collect a vast volume of information, interpret it in real-time, and extract valuable insights from it.
This powerful convergence of AI, Big Data, and IoT devices would make it easier for consumers to make successful and relevant business decisions based on the knowledge and knowledge gained by data analytics.
IoT not only helps to track activity and spit data; it also helps to analyze the data efficiently and to make decisions based on those results.
4. Blockchain technology
Data confidentiality for IoT-enabled applications is one of the key issues for consumers. Blockchain, a distributed ledger system, is one of the top IoT developments solving significant IoT encryption and scalability problems.
Blockchain can help to overcome the security and scalability issues associated with IoT in the following ways:
- The Blockchain system’s public ledger is tamper-proof and removes the need for trust between the involved parties
- Another encryption layer that will have to be circumvented by hackers to access the network would be introduced by using Blockchain to store IoT info. There is a far more strict security norm for Blockchain, rendering it virtually difficult to overwrite existing data records.
- Blockchain offers accountability by empowering anyone allowed to access the network to trace transactions that have existed in the past. This would provide a clear means to identify a particular cause of any data loss and to take swift remedial steps.
- Blockchain can allow the rapid processing and synchronization of transactions between billions of connected devices. As the number of interconnected computers expands, distributed ledger technology offers a feasible alternative to facilitate the handling of a vast number of transactions.
- Blockchain will allow IoT companies to minimize their costs by reducing IoT gateway processing overheads by providing a means of enabling trust between stakeholders. (e.g. traditional protocol, hardware, or communication overhead costs).
5. Retail IoT – cleaner and more effective malls and supermarkets
One of the markets most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic was brick and mortar shopping. With locking restrictions varying globally, many stores have been forced to shutter their doors for periods, and for others, this has been disastrous. Those that have done the best are those with a good web presence.
When we press forward to 2021, we should foresee an improvement in models such as Amazon’s fully integrated supermarkets, which eliminates the need for non-essential human interaction. Automation from IoT-enabled devices is also expected to increase in the vast filling centers that provide inventory to stores.
Further innovations in the retail market are projected to shift closer to a cashless business with an expansion in contactless payment solutions, including a larger pay-by-face roll-out. This can present its challenges; however, the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the drive towards a cashless system due to concerns about the handling of coins and notes.
There is no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has stimulated the advancement of IoT technology, and we should assume the progress to begin exponentially in 2021. Safety will continue to be at the forefront of the IoT developers list, and we should expect tech companies to put a lot of focus on the security of their platforms in the coming year.
2021 appears to be another year of instability and chaos around the world, and IoT technologies can offer realistic solutions to many of the problems posed by people operating remotely.