IoT in 2019: It’s a battle for the edge
With the Dec. 3 launch of 64 tiny satellites aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, the Internet of Things (IoT) is now in full orbit. Several of these spacecrafts are designed for IoT communications, setting up 2019 to be a trailblazing year for those who design, manage and analyze connected devices.
IoT is quickly becoming the foundation of the digital economy. Whether its space exploration, incredibly smart cities or an industrial revolution, IoT is shaping our digital future, and I predict the coming year will have three prominent beacons that will mark the destinations that lie ahead. IoT will focus on scaling out to new heights while startups will play a significant role, and Artificial Intelligence will be the star of the business advantage.
2019 will be a battle for the edge.
IoT is certainly mature enough that Chief Technology Officers are past pilot proof of concept programs and are looking to establish success through scaling out to the enterprise. The coming year will be the “IoT tipping point” as a series of small changes in the past year have become significant enough to cause a rapid, dramatic shift in the digital transformation market. In this case, businesses realize the benefit of digitally linking products and services, which is real-time data, and are eager to receive that knowledge on a large enterprise scale as a digital advantage against the competition both internally and externally. But more on this later.
Achieving a large IoT scale out to a line of business starts first with planning. For CTOs, creating IoT strategies that support scaling out in numbers and capabilities will occupy 2019 IoT budget efforts. These strategies could include a decade-long roadmap, but key to success in the digital journey is establishing a working, organizational end-to-end IoT framework. Who will provide managed IoT platform services? It’s best to plan ownership ahead of time with end-point management, L1/L2 edge support, platform management, and most notably, joining forces with a large system integrator.
IoT startups to join system integrator frameworks
Even though IoT will scale out in larger numbers, this doesn’t mean small players aren’t in the game. In fact, the opposite conclusion can be drawn. Small players are the key to addressing scale. I predict we will see small niche players with data-driven strategies partnering with large integrators, and as a result, will be acquired.
Startups will play a significant role in IoT in the sense that large integrators are seeking small vertical, use case driven players that fit their portfolio and aid an end-to-end IoT framework. In addition, those that address specific IoT challenges, such as blockchain for security, and those that offer turnkey solutions will gain attention from global service integrators.
There are so many startups on the bleeding IoT edge, and while startups have always been focused on being bought out by large integrators, now the other side of the table is equally interested.
AI to operationalize real-time data
The power of Artificial Intelligence has impacted the digital ecosystem in numerous ways and we’re still experiencing new use cases. Next year, I predict an even higher demand for data analytic tools and Artificial Intelligence to operationalize real-time IoT data, creating valuable business outcomes.
Of course, higher demand is the ultimate proof point that something is successful. Working with Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, I saw firsthand how IoT sensors paired with AI software can significantly integrate data in real-time. By adding IoT sensors and cameras to coolers, the data received allowed the company to streamline stocking, identify failing coolers, improve asset optimization, predict on-shelf inventory and increase sales. The program was such a success, the company connected more than 400,000 coolers this year, which is 100,000 more than planned.
Advanced AI software will enable real-time data streaming for IoT devices, helping businesses to extract meaningful insights and predict the most profitable outcomes. Data analytics tools, powered by AI and machine learning algorithms, will be more in demand in 2019. These tools will oversee tasks and operations, where humans with their limited capacities simply fail to perform.
Connecting inner space
While IoT is now probing outer space with the launch from SpaceX, there’s still plenty of inner space to explore. As 2019 unfolds, the Internet of Things market will change exponentially, and the technology involved will only become smarter. Learning algorithms through AI will be in high demand for IoT, projects moving past initial pilot phase to scale out will increase, and startups will play a significant role in that growth.
Next year, we can expect many new advancements for machine-to-machine communications. But it’s also safe to predict the coming decade holds more than we can currently imagine. Overall, it’s clear that whether IoT’s next innovation impacts machines or Mars, we’re in a new, exciting wave of exploration.
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