Trends Shaping the Future of the Internet of Things (IoT)

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The Internet of Things (IoT) market has been growing at an explosive rate in the past decade and will be valued at over $561.0 billion by 2022. IoT’s growth in the past few years can be attributed to several factors, including its convergence with mobile, cloud, Big Data, and other technologies to create even more opportunities.

Organizations that have already embraced IoT have seen it boost productivity and improve efficiency. But what lies ahead for IoT as we move into 2022? How can companies prepare to reap maximum value from their investment in IoT technology? To understand what trends lie ahead, let’s take a look at 10 key areas that represent major drivers in IoT’s growth.

The Top 10 IoT Trends in 2022

Internet-connected devices 

The number of internet-connected devices is projected to reach almost 55.7 billion by 2025. International Data Corporation (IDC) expects a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.2% from 2020 through 2025. Additionally, Cisco forecasts 30 billion connected devices by 2023. Why such rapid adoption? Businesses recognize they can increase efficiency while reducing costs—and consumers have embraced technology that makes their lives easier. 

On average, consumers are interacting with a device every few minutes—and sometimes multiple times per minute—to keep up with a fast-paced world where everything happens in real time. With so many interactions happening at such high speeds, traditional architectures can’t cope and edge computing systems have stepped in to fill in where needed. 

IoT at the edge 

Edge computing is a trend that has gained widespread adoption due to its ability to drive down costs and improve business agility. For businesses seeking to benefit from these advancements, edge computing will become a crucial part of their strategy moving forward. Edge computing works by deploying internet-connected devices at or near physical locations where they collect data. 

This setup can lower latency by reducing or eliminating communication with central cloud-based services, which improves efficiency while also decreasing costs. By using edge computing as an effective way to handle all back-end processing in real time, every connected device on any network can send its data directly to local servers. It is expected that edge computing will play a big role in IoT going forward—and it’s already having an impact today. 

Blockchain is changing IoT

Unlike other technologies, blockchain is immutable. Once data has been written to a blockchain, it can never be altered or deleted. This makes it an ideal candidate for IoT edge computing applications. As more and more businesses continue to realize that securing their edge device data is critical in protecting their intellectual property, they will begin to rely on blockchain as a means of ensuring tamper-proof security. 

Read more: Bolstering IoT Security with Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT)

IoT supply chain

The industrial internet revolution has enabled a supply chain that is more efficient and flexible than ever before. IoT devices provide companies with information on inventory, demand, and production in real time, allowing them to avoid bottlenecks in shipping or warehousing costs and streamline their distribution network. The result? Higher profits for businesses and a better shopping experience for consumers.

This helps e-commerce reach new heights, though brick-and-mortar stores are adapting as well—businesses will roll out more smart shelves in 2022. The global Smart Shelves market size is expected to grow from USD 1.8 billion in 2020 to USD 7.1 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 25.1% during the forecast period—making brick-and-mortar just as competitive as online retailing while lowering costs.

AI and IoT

Smart devices and machines are on track to become an integral part of our daily lives. Thanks to technological developments in areas such as Big Data, artificial intelligence (AI), and cloud computing, smart devices can now analyze large volumes of data quickly. The massive amounts of data gathered will then be used to make decisions with little or no human intervention, thus greatly enhancing efficiency and leading to a significant drop in cost. This is how AI-powered IoT devices will gradually become ubiquitous—in homes, offices, hospitals, and so on.  

Also read: The Future of Network Management with AIOps

Voice user interface becoming a reality with IoT

Voice user interface (VUI) is fast becoming a reality in IoT, as AI and natural language processing (NLP) continue to make advances in fields like machine learning. Deep neural networks and speech-to-text technology are improving fast with more and more research in AI and NLP happening every day. 

Businesses that deal with field service will benefit from using VUI applications since they allow their customers to get things done at their convenience instead of having technicians come over all the time. In addition, it also gives maintenance and sales teams better communication channels to resolve customer queries faster.

IoT and smart cities 

The IoT is revolutionizing cities as we know them. From smart power grids to smart parking, IoT is impacting several aspects of our lives. How cities are integrating with IoT continues to evolve, making them smarter and more efficient for all who live there.

As IoT continues to mature in cities worldwide, you can expect to see major changes in how big data analytics are used by city planners—both in terms of crime prevention and traffic optimization—to help keep everyone safe. 

IoT in healthcare

As healthcare costs continue to rise, IoT has emerged as a key component in hospitals’ efforts to manage and decrease their expenditures. Healthcare IoT enables organizations to monitor their facilities and assets remotely, resulting in improved efficiency and better utilization of available staff. 

Also read: TinyML: Bringing Machine Learning to the Edge

Research conducted by Frost & Sullivan suggests that there will be an increase in telehealth implementations as organizations look for ways to cut costs and more efficiently deliver care. This trend is largely driven by mobile health applications and sensors that allow users to monitor health-related statistics like heart rate, blood pressure, calories burned, or steps taken. 

IoT in education

From learners to teachers, educators can use IoT technologies to create seamless experiences from home and school. Online courses will be more interactive and engaging with IoT developments. With improved analytics, instructors can better serve their students and schools based on data-driven insights. 

Another way that IoT will transform education in 2022 is through virtual reality (VR). As a tool for workplace training, VR will allow employees to explore new products before they hit shelves or instruct customers how to use new software tools right inside their office environment. 

Work from home in IoT

Remote work is already widespread, but with IoT, it’s going to grow at an even faster rate. With all our devices connected and communicating autonomously, we won’t need to spend as much time in physical workplaces, which will shift them from a central gathering place for coworkers into more utility space. It’s estimated that 82% of U.S. employees want to work remotely at least once a week when the pandemic is over. The workplace is changing rapidly in many ways, and IoT is leading the way in transforming how we think about office buildings, meeting rooms, and workspaces as a whole. 

IoT is Changing the Future

IDC forecast that global spending on IoT will nearly double to $1 trillion by 2022, with spending across all categories growing at a CAGR of 11.3%. What’s fueling such rapid growth? The answer is pretty simple: Businesses are starting to realize how much revenue-generating potential IoT has—and they want in.

As consumer demand for smart products continues to grow, so too will IoT adoption by businesses eager to meet customer demands with innovative products. As companies look towards smart solutions across their organizations, they are discovering that improvements are not only impacting internal operations but also have a direct impact on external consumer experiences as well. This is true of all industries, especially those where technology has traditionally been underutilized or non-existent.

Read next: SD-WAN is Important for an IoT and AI Future

Aminu Abdullahi
Aminu Abdullahi
Aminu Abdullahi is an experienced B2B technology and finance writer and award-winning public speaker. He is the co-author of the e-book, The Ultimate Creativity Playbook, and has written for various publications, including eWEEK, Enterprise Networking Planet, Tech Republic, eSecurity Planet, CIO Insight, Enterprise Storage Forum, IT Business Edge, Webopedia, Software Pundit, and Geekflare.

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