IoT success depends on the effective deployment of a wide range of technologies, including real-time edge, cloud data infrastructure, and AI/ML analytics tools.
Now is the perfect time to reflect on how the IoT growth of the past year will influence the next. Overall, the IoT is set to continue seeing explosive global growth, and there are a few trends and areas to watch that may continue to grow exponentially. While smart manufacturing, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and connected vehicles are often in the spotlight, sectors such as utilities and oil and gas are also heading into prime time, as well. than health care.
The “it” factor for the future: scale
Real-time, scaled data is going to be the primary focus of IoT data processing in the future. According to IDC, by 2025, 30% of all data (175 ZBs worldwide) will be real-time, with much of that data coming from IoT sensors. Regardless of industry or use case, there has been a move towards supporting real-time data processing at scale. The huge potential and proliferation of IoT sensors is driving this growth. Leveraging the IoT is seen as a way to create a powerful, efficient, and more resilient infrastructure. More and more businesses and industries are realizing the power of harnessing and applying real-time data to day-to-day business functions. As IoT sensors and devices continue to increase with more sophisticated use cases, we hope to see platforms handling this scale of data at a commensurate level. The most coveted attributes will be support for massive scale and high performance. Sustainability is also a hot topic for scaling up.
See also: Manufacturing ahead of the curve via AI, 5G and Edge
XDR brings the bells and whistles
Another key requirement in emerging Internet of Things ecosystems is the ability to move data anytime and from anywhere with minimal or no intervention. Enter Cross Datacenter Replication (XDR), which can play a crucial role in managing critical IoT data. XDR provides filtering flexibility to determine which data attributes flow in which direction. Strong filtering capabilities should lead to a reduction in the volume of data in transit, thus contributing to a reduction in network costs. There is also a need for speed. A replication feature must work quickly so that it does not act as a bottleneck for processing data. Finally, the IoT must maintain data integrity.
XDR-like features can eliminate the dependency between sensor data collection points (e.g., at the tactical edge closer to end devices) and data analysis points, which can be either the edge (the same as the collection point) is the core – an aggregation point of data from different edge sites.
Any critical IoT use case requires all of its mobile assets to be part of the Right Now economy at all times – from data collection, to aggregation, to generating insights and triggering a action – to make everything happen in real time. To achieve this vision, data transactions (both ingests and queries) must occur in sub-millisecond to sub-millisecond range. XDR-like features are key enablers of this vision.
Sector to watch: utilities
The utilities sector is expected to see strong growth, but it is in desperate need of modernization with legacy infrastructure still in place. This increased need could be a trigger for the widespread adoption of Internet of Things technology. MarketsandMarkets reports that IoT utilities market spending is expected to reach $53.8 billion by 2024, up from $28.6 billion in 2019. Directing some of this spending towards infrastructure upgrades would help immensely. Resolving utility outages requires immediate feedback and action, so utilities could greatly benefit from the real-time data that IoT sensors can provide.
Utility operators, for example, can detect any changes in usage levels in real time, which can immediately help identify power losses and gas leaks. Scenarios like these, where not checking settings for too long, can spell disaster not only for homes, but also for hospitals, nursing homes, and airports. Moreover, IoT sensors can identify overload much earlier. Faster responses enabled by early warning and progressive restoration systems can save lives by ensuring that power is delivered to the most critical priorities first. We also expect to see more collaboration between vendors and US utility companies to help with the data infrastructure modernization process. Data capture and processing, demand forecasting, predictive maintenance via AI, data retention and restoration suddenly become interconnected, relying on each other for the most comprehensive model. From a seasonal perspective, utility outages aren’t just a concern during the blisteringly hot months. Winter storms can knock out electricity catastrophically, leaving victims in their wake. As winter approaches in the United States, we will see preparations for the electrical impact of snow and ice storms.
Sector to Watch: Oil & Gas
Another area that is expected to dramatically increase IoT adoption is oil and gas. In fact, it has already embraced the IoT, having seen a proliferation of Internet of Things sensors. The industry uses them to collect all relevant data points, such as depth of oil and reserve quantity or well status, through different connectivity solutions including satellites, narrowband IoT and LoRA, as well as on-premises or cloud-based data processing. The main challenge is to reduce the latency of these processes for real-time decision making. Enabling connectivity solutions is one piece of the puzzle, but ensuring that the lag between point A and point B is virtually non-existent is the heart of the IoT. Until this low latency is achieved, we expect IoT innovation to continue moving forward.
Sector to watch: Healthcare
Last but not least: health care. We already know the importance of connectivity for healthcare thanks to the increasingly ubiquitous use cases during the pandemic. Along with the surge in accessible telemedicine, there has been a rapid introduction of novel use cases. Take remote monitoring, for example. Worn or inserted sensors can remotely send a signal with measurements to a monitor, and those vital signs can be read from anywhere. People with serious health problems can benefit from these innovative techniques by always having a constant watch on their condition. Likewise, it can also help people with conditions of varying severity, helping them live their lives without needing to be onsite at a medical facility.
The success of IoT depends on the effective deployment of a wide range of technologies across the ecosystem. This includes smarter sensors and end devices for the Internet of Things: real-time edge, core, cloud data infrastructure, and AI/ML capabilities of analytics tools. The IoT is not even close to realizing its potential yet. There are millions of use cases to discover and many industries to discover. We look forward to what today’s businesses will accomplish next year and the impact they will have on the millions of future use cases.
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