Looking into the future and predicting the next big thing in the internet of things (IoT) is a seemingly impossible task with new devices and categories emerging all of the time. The one thing that we can do is look at what will be changing/evolving over the next couple of years which is precisely what Gartner, Inc. have done. Here are their top 10 technologies for 2017-18.
Gartner’s top 10 IoT technologies 2017-18 include the following:
As we have become well aware of in recent times, the first wave of IoT devices and services haven’t been exactly up to scratch on security. This is slowly improving and there are always stand out devices and services that have taken security seriously. Gartner predicts that new threats will continue to emerge over the next few years due to fragmented security solutions which involve multiple vendors, the use of simple processors and operating systems that don’t support advanced security approaches and basic software implementations that don’t protect against attacks like a denial-of-sleep that causes battery drain.
One of the great things about the IoT’s is the fact that most of the devices we use collect and send data to a centralized database. Now that organisations are slowly building these massive stores of data, companies will want to begin analysing the data to detect trends in consumer behaviour, help improve products and identify what the next big thing is. New tools and algorithms will be needed to store and analyse the ever increasing amount of data devices produce.
IoT Device (Thing) Management
Devices will require management and monitoring tools to ensure they are manageable on large scale deployments. This includes keeping the devices up to date with the latest firmware and security patches, errors are detected in logs and reporting on failure rates or device data. There also needs to be a level of interoperability between different devices and services to allow management and monitoring of thousands (or milions?) of devices from a single point.
Low-Power, Short-Range IoT Networks
Choosing a wireless network for IoT devices requires the juggling of conflicting requirements such as range, battery life, bandwidth, cost etc. In the short term, Low-power, short-range devices will dominate IoT’s connectivity until at least 2025. However, there will be exceptions to this due to commercial and technical trade-offs meaning many solutions will coexist.
Low-Power, Wide-Area Networks
IoT applications that currently need wide area coverage are currently limited to traditional cellular networks which don’t offer the best combination of features and cost. These devices often require battery lives of up to 10 years, nationwide coverage and the ability to push data from the low KBps to high MBps which don’t currently exist. The first low-power wide-area networks (LPWANs) were based on proprietary technologies, but in the future emerging standards such as Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) will likely dominate this space.
Due to the requirements of IoT devices there are many trade-offs with the processors that often defines the capabilities and limitations of a device. The fact that they are often needed to use as little power as possible for example will be a factor in the limited processing power you have. Once you are limited on processing power, advanced functions such as encryption and other computational tasks take longer or are not possible. There are other complex trade-offs between features, hardware and software costs etc that all need to be considered. Therefore, understanding the ramifications of processor choices will require advanced technical skills.
IoT Operating Systems
Existing Operating Systems (OSs) such as Linux, Windows, iOS and android were never designed to work in generic IoT devices due to their requirements for faster processors and large memory allocations. This coupled with the fact that processors designed for IoT devices will often not be compatible means that a range of new OSs more tailored for the IoTs will need to be developed.
Event Stream Processing
Due to the amount of data that requires real time analysis in certain industries (such as telecoms), there is a requirement for having systems that are able to process thousands (if not millions) of events per second. To address this, distributed stream computing platforms (DSCPs) have emerged. They often use parallel architectures to process high-rate data streams performing tasks such as real-time analytics and pattern recognition.
The platforms of the IoTs combine the main parts of an IoT system into a single product. These platforms provide;
Low-level device control and operations (e.g. communications, device monitoring and management, security etc.)
Data acquisition, transformation, management
IoT Application development (e.g. event-driven logic, application programming, analytics and connectivity to enterprise systems)
IoT Standards and Ecosystems
Whilst not exactly a technology, the ecosystems and standards that evolve over the years will become the application programming interfaces (API’s) of the IoTs. Standards will become essential due to the need for devices to be able to communicate and many IoT business models relying on the exchange of data.
As with VHS vs Betamax and HD DVD vs Blu-ray, rival technologies will emerge that will battle for supremacy in areas such as the smart home, healthcare, and retail. These technologies will be the basis of other IoT devices going forward.