The Internet of things (#IoT) is one of the most exciting trends in the recent history of technology so far. As connectivity, storage, and compute become more universal, we’re seeing an explosion of IoT solutions, from health care to public safety, all pointing towards one conclusion: The IoT is here to stay. As with any other trends in technology, it’s starting to require a new generation of platforms, standards, regulations, and protocols to name few.
Gartner defines the Internet of Things as the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology (such as intelligent sensors) which can communicate, sense or interact with internal or external systems. This can generate volumes of real-time data that can be used by organizations for a variety of applications, including smart appliances to monitoring equipment performance. The Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming so ubiquitous that ABI Research predicts that there will be more than 30 billion IP-connected devices and sensors in the world by 2020.
The rapid evolution of the IoT market has caused an explosion in the number and variety of IoT solutions. Additionally, large amounts of funding are being deployed at IoT startups. Consequently, the focus of the industry has been on manufacturing and producing the right types of hardware to enable those solutions. In that model, most IoT solution providers have been building all components of the stack, from the hardware devices to the relevant cloud services or the solutions (as indicated in the diagram below). As a result, there is a lack of consistency and standards across the cloud services used by the different IoT solutions.
As the industry evolves, the need for standard models to perform common IoT backend tasks, such as processing, storage, and firmware updates, is becoming more relevant. In that new model, we are likely to see different IoT solutions work with common backend services, which will guarantee levels of interoperability, portability, and manageability that are almost impossible to achieve with the current generation of IoT solutions.
While the initial generation of IoT solutions have focused on frameworks that enable communication with smart sensors, The new generation of platforms that enable backend capabilities for IoT solutions is about to emerge. But there are many obstacles to adoption; including the lack of differentiated platforms, outdated regulatory requirements, unclear business models, and most important no killer applications identified by businesses and consumers yet.
The challenges can be divided into 4 categories; Platform, Connectivity, Business Model and Killer Applications:
The Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming the everyday physical objects that surround us into an ecosystem of information that will enrich our lives. From refrigerators to parking spaces to houses, the IoT is bringing more and more things into the digital fold every day, which will likely make the IoT a multi-trillion dollar industry in the near future. While the IoT represents the convergence of advances in miniaturization, wireless connectivity, increased data storage capacity and batteries, the IoT wouldn’t be possible without sensors. Sensors detect and measure changes in position, temperature, light, etc. and they are necessary to turn billions of objects into data-generating “things” that can report on their status, and in some cases, interact with their environment. Because sensor endpoints fundamentally enable the IoT, sensor investments are an early indicator of the IoT’s progress. And, according to PwC’s 6th Annual Digital IQ survey of nearly 1,500 business and technology executives, the IoT movement is underway. Maybe one day we will see “IoT as a Service” technology offered and used the same way we use other “as a service” technologies.
Ahmed Banafa is an expert in new tech with appearances on ABC, NBC , CBS, FOX TV and radio stations. He served as a professor, academic advisor and coordinator at well-known American universities and colleges. His researches are featured on Forbes, MIT Technology Review, ComputerWorld and Techonomy. He published over 100 articles about the internet of things, blockchain, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and big data. His research papers are used in many patents, numerous thesis and conferences. He is also a guest speaker at international technology conferences. He is the recipient of several awards, including Distinguished Tenured Staff Award, Instructor of the year and Certificate of Honor from the City and County of San Francisco. Ahmed studied cyber security at Harvard University. He is the author of the book: Secure and Smart Internet of Things Using Blockchain and AI.