Will IoT Hype Be­come a Re­al­ity in 2017?

Voice&Data - - TRENDS 2017 -

Re­search re­ports place bold claims on the long-awaited ar­rival of the In­ter­net of Things (IoT). Every­one from tele­com ser­vice providers to chip-mak­ing com­pa­nies, has been rav­ing about con­nect­ing the fu­ture with their de­vices. Af­ter much hype, in the com­ing months and years we are set to see more and more ac­tual IoT-en­abled de­vices pow­er­ing a range of dif­fer­ent con­nected smart ap­pli­ca­tions de­signed to im­prove how busi­nesses op­er­ate and peo­ple live. On the sur­face of it, the vi­sion of a con­nected world seems promis­ing. But one ques­tion lingers: are the dif­fer­ent tech­nolo­gies that IoT re­lies on re­ally ready to sup­port this new world?

Gart­ner an­a­lysts fore­cast that the mar­ket for IoT de­vices is poised to ex­plode and will reach nearly 21 bil­lion con­nected de­vices by 2020 ac­cord­ing to Gart­ner. In­dus­try re­ports such as by CCS In­sight also es­ti­mate that the global wear­able tech­nol­ogy mar­ket will be worth $25 bil­lion by 2020, in­di­cat­ing that the mar­ket is set to grow from 84 mil­lion units in 2015 to 245 mil­lion units in 2019. In­dia is eye­ing a share of 5 to 6 per cent in the USD 300 bil­lion global IoT in­dus­try in the next five years as re­ported by Livemint. Th­ese enor­mous fig­ures show that the IoT – in all its dif­fer­ent forms – will span ev­ery as­pect of our lives.

Com­plex com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies are needed

It goes with­out say­ing that with IoT we are fac­ing a new era that re­lies on ubiq­ui­tous net­works. Yet, as the fu­ture con­nected world takes shape, we need to solve the chal­lenge posed by the web of com­plex in­ter­con­nec­tions. The real en­abler for IoT is an in­her­ent abil­ity to dis­trib­ute the mon­i­tor­ing and con­trol of in­di­vid­ual ma­chines with­out a tra­di­tional ‘closed’ net­work.

A big hur­dle in the way of achiev­ing the IoT dream is that there is no crossin­dus­try drive to stan­dard­ise IoT ap­pli­ca­tions and the in­ter­faces that peo­ple use to ac­cess them at present. There is also an over reliance on the user to man­age their IoT ap­pli­ca­tions in a way that brings them the most value. To il­lus­trate, at the mo­ment the smart­phone is the key in­ter­face for IoT ap­pli­ca­tions. But how is a user sup­posed to make sense of the IoT data they hold if they need to ac­cess hun­dreds of in­di­vid­ual ap­pli­ca­tions cov­er­ing ar­eas such as fit­ness, car di­ag­nos­tics, en­ergy mon­i­tor­ing, home se­cu­rity, ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tems and au­to­mated shop­ping? Con­sider this along­side the dozens of busi­ness and in­dus­trial ap­pli­ca­tions they use at work – that’s a lot of work for your av­er­age smart­phone user.

At the mo­ment, IoT data sets may not be huge, but we are al­ready see­ing in­creas­ing com­plex­ity in dif­fer­ent in­ter­con­nected sets of data, in a smart home for ex­am­ple, where temperature sen­sors might be linked to the freezer to op­ti­mise en­ergy con­sump­tion. Th­ese IoT ecosys­tems re­quire highly so­phis­ti­cated sys­tems for com­mu­ni­ca­tion and man­age­ment to en­sure in­ter­op­er­abil­ity and the seam­less user ex­pe­ri­ence that peo­ple crave.

An­a­lysts Frost and Sullivan have high­lighted that this lack of in­ter­op­er­abil­ity among de­vices and ob­jects is a ma­jor hur­dle for wide­spread IoT adop­tion; and ar­guably ini­tia­tives such as the Open Au­to­mo­tive Al­liance – to es­tab­lish stan­dards for the An­droid plat­form for com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween mo­bile de­vices and ve­hi­cles – only ad­dress one part of the IoT puz­zle. This is a busi­ness is­sue rather

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