Gartner has unveiled its predictions for the top 10 Internet of things (IOT) technology trends over the next five years.
According to Gartner, these are the trends that will enable new revenue streams and business models from 2018 through to 2023. As a result, the research firm says CIOs should ensure they have the necessary skills and partners to support key emerging IOT trends and technologies.
"The IOT will continue to deliver new opportunities for digital business innovation for the next decade, many of which will be enabled by new or improved technologies," says Nick Jones, research VP at Gartner. "CIOs who master innovative IOT trends have the opportunity to lead digital innovation in their business."
Gartner's list of the 10 most strategic IOT technologies and trends:
1. Artificial intelligence (AI)
Gartner forecasts that 14.2 billion connected things will be in use in 2019, and the total will reach 25 billion by 2021, producing immense volumes of data. Data is the fuel that powers the IOT and the organisation's ability to derive meaning from it will define its long-term success, notes Jones.
"AI will be applied to a wide range of IOT information, including video, still images, speech, network traffic activity and sensor data.
"The technology landscape for AI is complex and will remain so through 2023, with many IT vendors investing heavily in AI, variants of AI co-existing, and new AI-based tolls and services emerging. Despite this complexity, it will be possible to achieve good results with AI in a wide range of IOT situations. As a result, CIOs must build an organisation with the tools and skills to exploit AI in their IOT strategy."
2. Social, legal and ethical IOT
As IOT matures and becomes more widely deployed, a range of social, legal and ethical issues will grow in importance. These include ownership of data and the deductions made from it, algorithmic bias, privacy, and compliance with regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation.
"Successful deployment of an IOT solution demands that it's not just technically effective, but also socially acceptable," according to Jones. "CIOs must, therefore, educate themselves and their staff in this area, and consider forming groups, such as ethics councils, to review corporate strategy."
3. Infonomics and data broking
Last year's Gartner survey of IOT projects showed 35% of respondents were selling or planning to sell data collected by their products and services. By 2023, the buying and selling of IOT data will become an essential part of many IOT systems. CIOs must educate their organisations on the risks and opportunities related to data broking in order to set the IT policies required in this area and to advise other parts of the organisation.
4. The shift from intelligent edge to intelligent mesh
The shift from centralised and cloud to edge architectures is well under way in the IOT space. However, notes Gartner, this is not the end point, because the neat set of layers associated with edge architecture will evolve to a more unstructured architecture comprising a wide range of 'things' and services connected in a dynamic mesh. These mesh architectures will enable more flexible, intelligent and responsive IOT systems. CIOs must prepare for mesh architecture's impact on IT infrastructure, skills and sourcing.
5. IOT governance
As the IOT continues to expand, the need for a governance framework that ensures appropriate behaviour in the creation, storage, use and deletion of information related to IOT projects will become increasingly important. Governance ranges from simple technical tasks such as device audits and firmware updates to more complex issues such as the control of devices and the usage of the information they generate. CIOs must take on the role of educating their organisations on governance issues and, in some cases, invest in staff and technologies to tackle governance.
6. Sensor innovation
The sensor market will evolve continuously through to 2023. New sensors will enable a wider range of situations and events to be detected, current sensors will fall in price to become more affordable or will be packaged in new ways to support new applications, and new algorithms will emerge to deduce more information from current sensor technologies.
7. Trusted hardware and operating system
Gartner surveys invariably show that security is the most significant area of technical concern for organisations deploying IOT systems. This is because organisations often don't have control over the source and nature of the software and hardware being utilised in IOT initiatives. "However, by 2023, we expect to see the deployment of hardware and software combinations that, together, create more trustworthy and secure IOT systems," Jones points out.
8. Novel IOT user experiences
The IOT user experience covers a wide range of technologies and design techniques. It will be driven by four factors: new sensors, new algorithms, new experience architectures and context, and socially aware experiences.
9. Silicon chip innovation
By 2023, it's expected that new special-purpose chips will reduce the power consumption required to run deep neural networks (DNN), enabling new edge architectures and embedded functions in low-power IOT endpoints.
"Currently, most IOT endpoint devices use conventional processor chips, with low-power ARM architectures being particularly popular. However, traditional instruction sets and memory architectures aren't well-suited to all the tasks that endpoints need to perform," says Jones.
10. New wireless networking technologies for IOT
IOT networking involves balancing a set of competing requirements, such as endpoint cost, power consumption, bandwidth, latency, connection density, operating cost, quality of service, and range. No single networking technology optimises all of these, and new IOT networking technologies will provide CIOs with additional choice and flexibility. In particular, they should explore 5G, the forthcoming generation of low earth orbit satellites, and backscatter networks.