5 IoT Trends to Watch in 2021 and Beyond

Hands hold a digital model of a blue earth, with data points scattered across the model, signifying IoT trends.
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The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the world. The push for Internet-connected gadgets and gizmos shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon, either. It’s an innovation that has already become a daily part of most Americans’ lives, and it’s just getting started.

Those who understand what the future holds for the IoT are well-equipped to identify and capitalize on viable investment opportunities in cybersecurity and many other segments. Here’s everything you need to know about the past, present, and future of the IoT, with an eye toward priming investors to make savvy decisions. 

An In-Depth Look at the Global IoT Market to Date

The IoT refers to the collection of billions of physical devices connected to the internet. Here are a few key concepts to keep in mind:

  • It is based on an idea from Kevin Ashton, cofounder of the Auto-ID Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ashton coined the phrase “Internet of Things” while working in supply chain optimization at Procter & Gamble (P&G) in 1999, according to IoT Analytics. The concept generated minimal interest from P&G executives at the time.
  • It wasn’t until 2010 that the IoT gained widespread interest. Details leaked about Google’s StreetView service, which provided 360° pictures and stored data of Wi-Fi networks. This raised questions about whether Google could index the internet and the physical world simultaneously. The Chinese government also took notice of connected technologies in 2010. It made the IoT a strategic priority in its five-year plan, which fueled hype for the idea. 
  • Technology market research firm Gartner included the IoT in its “Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies” in 2011. The IoT became the theme of the 2012 LeWeb Internet conference as well. 
  • Market intelligence provider International Data Corp. (IDC) shared its first IoT market projections in 2013. IDC estimated the global market for connected technologies and services would expand at a compound annual growth rate of 7.9% between 2012 and 2020; The company now forecasts double-digit growth from 2021-2023 on 2020 revenue of $742 billion. 

Today’s IoT empowers businesses and consumers to gather information from various sources and apply it to everyday activities. New connected technologies remain in development that are expected to accelerate the IoT market’s growth in the years to come. 

The Global IoT Market’s Potential

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered the performance of various global markets, most industry experts are still bullish on the global IoT sector’s potential. This is reflected in the following market projections:

1. Fortune Business Insights

Market researcher Fortune Business Insights notes the global IoT market was worth approximately $250.7 billion in 2019. It expects the market to grow to nearly $1.5 trillion by 2027 due mainly to the rising adoption of smart sensors. 

2. McKinsey

Global management consultant McKinsey points out that the number of businesses to use connected technologies rose from 13% in 2014 to about 25% in 2019. McKinsey also indicates there are at least 200 known smart applications in enterprise settings. The number of these applications should continue to rise as small- and mid-sized companies adopt connected technologies. 

3. Verified Market Research

Ongoing development of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other wireless networking technologies could drive the global IoT market in the future, according to a Verified Market Research report published in July 2020. Increasing use of third-party platforms and demand for digital transformation are among the factors that could spur this sector’s growth. 

Worldwide demand for connected technologies may increase, but specific segments may grow faster than others. It pays to know which of these segments to watch in the foreseeable future to capitalize on the IoT market’s potential. 

Iot in a city connecting buildings

5 Key IoT Trends You Need to Know About

The connected-technologies market is still relatively new. The market has already revealed a few trends that investors should watch closely, however. These include:

1. Convergence of Connected Technologies and Big Data

Technologies are available to help companies manage big data, i.e., the massive volume of structured and unstructured information. Businesses also need technologies that quickly transform this big data into meaningful insights, thus driving the need for convergence with connected devices. 

Manufacturers are creating connected devices that let users organize, store, and analyze large data volumes at scale. The devices meet the needs of companies that want to keep pace in today’s always-on, always-connected global marketplace, as they ensure users can maintain convenient access to insights. 

The gap between big data and connected technologies is closing. Companies look poised to invest in technologies that make it simple to collect and assess data and generate actionable insights from it. This may lead technology providers to explore enhancements to existing technologies or launch new offerings that blend big data and connected devices like never before. 

2. New Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Applications

More data continues to become available, and new technologies are required to ensure that businesses can process this information as quickly and efficiently as possible. Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies support data management and processing and can provide insights that help users make fast, informed decisions. 

ML technologies are built around algorithms that identify and apply patterns in data. They use AI to automatically learn from data without explicit programming to do so. AI technologies blend computer science and data sets to help companies solve problems. The technologies can also be trained to perform specific tasks, empowering businesses to speed up and improve their operations. 

Many companies use robots and other ML- and AI-based connected technologies to boost productivity and save time and resources. Manufacturers can also use ML and AI in myriad consumer products, from self-driving cars that can use data to predict pedestrian and vehicle traffic movements to smart thermostats that adjust the temperature based on local weather conditions.

The best may still be coming with ML and AI, too. Research into ML and AI are ongoing, and the technologies are getting better every day. This means new IoT technologies may be on the horizon that support consumers and businesses alike. 

3. Use of Digital Twins for Testing

A digital twin is a virtual asset that uses real-world data to simulate how a physical object will perform. It allows a user to model whether a physical object will act as expected before it goes into full production. 

A developer can correct problems identified by watching a digital twin at work, for instance. But if they find issues after mass-producing a physical object, the business could be forced to perform a recall. This can cause the company to suffer substantial revenue losses, along with brand reputation damage and similar problems. 

Businesses in the automotive, manufacturing, and many other sectors can benefit from this innovation. These companies were previously required to build physical prototypes of products, but now digital twins let the businesses create virtual ones. 

As companies seek out ways to test their products and keep the costs of doing so low, digital twins that leverage connected technologies may deliver substantial value. These businesses can use them to produce quality products that hit the mark from the get-go, in less time and for less money than was required in the past. 

4. Blockchain Technology That Enhances Data Security Across IoT Devices

Think of a blockchain as a digital ledger. It provides a digital record of transactions as they occur and stores them across multiple devices. This ensures there is no single owner of transactional data. 

Businesses often adopt blockchain technology to enhance their security. Blockchains are tamperproof; they ensure data can be added but never edited. 

IoT blockchain technology of the future may be used to help businesses account for data across a vast array of devices. The technology, therefore, allows these businesses to ensure seamless data movement, with minimal risk of downtime or security issues. 

5. New Data Security Regulations

Companies in myriad industries must comply with GDPR, CCPA, and other cybersecurity regulations to verify that sensitive data is properly stored and secured. Failure to do so can put these businesses, their employees, and their customers in danger. 

Cybercriminals are constantly on the lookout for ways to bypass security technologies in the hopes of illegally accessing business data. They frequently use malware, ransomware, and other malicious software to initiate cyberattacks against companies in all industries. 

Businesses use endpoint detection and response (EDR) tools, vulnerability scanners, and other cybersecurity technologies to protect their connected devices. Cybercrime remains a constant problem, however, even though companies are willing to do whatever they can to guard against data breaches. 

Lawmakers have shown no qualms about developing and implementing security and data regulations for companies of all sizes and across all industries. Lawmakers are sure to propose and pass more legislation that requires businesses to take additional measures to ensure that all data stored on connected devices is protected. 

Data security and other trends are important factors to consider before investing in IoT technologies. Those who are evaluating investments in cybersecurity or other connected technology segments must weigh the pros and cons carefully in the context of the ongoing deluge of hacker news. They can then decide which option can deliver the best ROI and invest accordingly. 

Contact an Expert to Capitalize on IoT Trends

Connected technologies are transforming the world, and new ones will reach consumers and businesses soon. Each smart technology may be better than the last, yet some provide better investment opportunities than others. 

Option3Ventures is a cybersecurity investment advisor that tracks the global IoT market to find opportunities that deliver solid returns and improvements to national security. Contact our team today for more information about backing leaders in the IoT space.

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