At the beginning of 2017, Gartner research predicted that there will be 8.4 billion connected devices across industries at the end of that year. A year later, Statista more than doubled that number by suggesting that there are as many as 20 billion smart devices registered around the world. These numbers only confirm that the Internet of Things (IoT) remains one of the biggest game-changers and trends in 2018.
But what are some of the key trends in IoT we saw this year? Here’s a short list of the top three trends for 2018:
Massive adoption of smart home devices
Smart home devices provide greater convenience to our everyday lives and that’s why it’s not surprising that they have become even more common in 2018. In the beginning of 2018 it was estimated that 39 million US citizens owned a voice-activated assistant such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home, and this number is expected to increase even further in 2019.
IoT devices today can do a lot more than we can imagine – from vacuuming your floors to acting as your home security system – because they’re often integrated with other technologies including AI, machine learning and augmented reality. This means that in 2018 we’ve seen products of higher quality and that’s why there has been an increase in use of smart home devices such as thermostats, locks, cameras, vacuum cleaners, etc.
Facing IoT security challenges through the adoption of new regulations
2018 was a pivotal year in IoT security. Apart from the user convenience of these products, manufacturers started to increasingly recognize the importance of creating devices that ensure customers’ data and privacy are safe.
Both consumers and industry watchers still have significant concerns when it comes to IoT security. But with legislations such as the EU’s GDPR, which came into force on May 25th 2018, governments have started to increasingly recognize the threats and long-lasting damage cyberattacks on smart devices can cause.
Such legislations are important to stop repeats of the Mirai attack that compromised chronically insecure internet-connected devices in 2016 and impacted the whole internet with a snowball effect. So, it’s great to see that governments’ taking security seriously.
Tremendous growth in IoT adoption in industries such as healthcare and retail
In 2018, the healthcare and IoT partnership became stronger than ever. Patients are now able to wear IoT health monitors or devices and use virtual assistants to monitor their health at home. These devices allow doctors to remotely check blood sugar levels or heart monitors, and take preventative action if necessary.
In hospitals, connected devices can help professionals track products from factory to floor, manage resources and monitor equipment to prevent critical hardware from breaking. Additionally, sensors on hospital beds help reduce wait times by providing information regarding when and where a bed is available.
We’ve seen numerous IoT-related benefits in the retail industry this year, including automated checkouts, smart shelves, and robot employees.
IoT devices have helped retail owners and employees reduce inventory error and optimize supply chain management. Additionally, the IoT has made the shopping experience easier for the customer. For instance, store scanners have allowed shoppers to skip the checkout line, and beacons can send alerts about discounts to a shopper’s smartphone.
Are there any other significant trends in IoT we might have missed? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting us @JustAskGemalto.