What's next for the Internet of Things?

March 11, 2018 by Alex Collins, IT Services Consultant

By the end of 2015, 4.9 billion “things” were connected to the Internet. That’s up 30 percent from 2014. If the trend continues, as everyone seems to anticipate, 25 billion connected things will be in use by 2020. This rapid proliferation of sensor-equipped devices has prompted Gartner – the technology research firm responsible for these statistics – to name the Internet of Things (IoT) last year’s most hyped technology.

Over hyped or not, IoT is an increasingly viable and desired technology solution. Just take a look at the offices, homes and public spaces we occupy. There are countless examples of the Internet coming off our computers, phones and other electronic devices and living in the objects around us. It can be embedded in anything, from a fridge to a thermostat to a chair to a table to traffic lights.

Incorporating IoT into everything

At an industry level, every large company dabbling in consumer electronics seems to be investing in IoT technology. Samsung, Apple, Intel — Cisco calls it the Internet of Everything, while GE calls it the Industrial Internet.

“These companies are all approaching the concept in one of two ways. The first is as a utility — kind of like electricity,” says Ayah Bdeir, engineer and entrepreneur, who gave a recent TED talk on What’s Next for the Internet of Things? “In this analogy, you’d have to make a deal with a central company, which has control over the grid and charges a subscription.”

And the second approach?

“The second approach is creating closed, hyper-prescribed devices that have a certain functionality, and claiming they’ll make life easier — such as a thermostat that responds to your phone,” Bedeir explains. “Companies are coming up with specific solutions to specific problems.”

The next phase of IoT

While the next generation of IoT technology is still being determined, we already have a sense of what types of technologies are most likely to be a part of the new wave of fully-integrated IoT products and services. For small to medium-sized businesses, IoT technology will likely continue to be put to use making our offices smarter and more efficient – controlling the HVAC system in your event space, turning off electronics or sensing deliveries remotely, for example.

One popular and potentially life-changing medical example is the use of a specialized pill, which transmits information about the patient from inside the body. The PillCam COLON ingestible camera has already been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration, and is merely a glimpse at what this technology will hold for the medical industry.

What businesses should do to prepare

According to Gartner, there is still no coherent set of business or technical models for the IoT, which means it will be challenging for IT professionals to develop future solutions.

“CIOs will need to ensure their prime system integrator has a strategy to future-proof their [IoT] project,” says Alfonso Velosa, research director at Gartner.

As the technology world continues to become more useful and complex, it is important for businesses large and small to have a team of IT professionals and consultants that can provide big picture analysis of where IoT technologies are going and quickly develop and execute plans accordingly.

For more information about how we can help your business bridge the gap into the next generation of IoT devices, or for general information about how we can help your company with IT infrastructure support and upgrades, please contact us today at (866)446-1133.