The growing Internet of Things (IoT) is connecting devices to a variety of sensors, applications, and other IoT elements to automate business processes and support human efficiencies in business and the home.
IoT continues to change as engineers and companies discover new use cases and develop the infrastructure necessary to support more IoT networks.
1. IoT Cybersecurity Concerns Grow
Internet-connected devices are growing exponentially, along with the number of users and use cases for those devices. But as these new IoT solutions develop at such a quick rate, who is taking responsibility for protecting users and their devices from cyber threats?
Gabriel Aguiar Noury, robotics product manager at Canonical, publisher of the Ubuntu operating system, believes that as more people gain access to IoT devices and the attack surface grows, IoT companies themselves will need to take responsibility for cybersecurity efforts upfront.
“The IoT market is in a defining stage,” Noury said. “People have adopted more and more IoT devices and connected them to the internet. However, they’ve also downloaded apps onto their phones to control these devices, without even reading the terms and conditions. They’ve also been providing passwords and more sensitive data without understanding where they will be stored and how they will be protected. And even more importantly, they’re using devices without checking if they are getting security updates.
“The Morris worm was the first computer worm that gained significant mainstream media attention after it infested millions of computers and paralyzed the internet for several days. It was because of this scandal that the U.S. took cybersecurity risks seriously. And now, just like in 1988, people are not thinking enough about security risks, so it is up to the IoT companies themselves to take control of the situation.
“In 2022, we predict that more and more governments will start demanding that IoT manufacturers declare how long IoT devices will keep receiving security maintenance to their customers up-front. The U.K. is one of the first countries that started working on such regulations, conscious of the interconnected risk that IoT devices bring.”
Ben Goodman, SVP of global business and corporate development at ForgeRock, an access management and identity cloud provider, thinks it’s important that we start thinking of Internet of Things devices as citizens and hold them accountable for the same security and authorization requirements as humans.
“The evolution of IoT security is an increasingly important area to watch,” Goodman said. “Security can no longer be an afterthought prioritized somewhere after connectivity and analytics in the Internet of Things. Organizations need to start treating the ‘things’ in the Internet of Things as first-class citizens.
“A first-class citizen means that non-human entities are prioritized and have all the attributes of traditional human-based identities. Just like a human, a thing should be required to register and authenticate, they should have relationships, and have access granted and revoked.
“Doing this for a thing is a unique challenge, because it can’t enter a username or password, answer timely questions, or think for itself. However, it represents an incredible opportunity to build a secure network of non-human entities working together securely.”
2. IoT Advancements In Health Care
A specific industry that has benefited from IoT advancements, especially since the start of the pandemic, is health care.
Whether it’s support for at-home patient care, medical transportation, or pharmaceutical access, IoT solutions are assisting health care professionals with more direct care in situations where they cannot provide affordable or safe hands-on care.
Leon Godwin, principal cloud evangelist for EMEA at Sungard AS, a digital transformation and recovery company, explained that IoT not only makes health care more affordable, but it also makes care and treatment more accessible and patient-oriented.
“IoT in health care will become more prevalent as health care providers look to reduce costs and drive better customer experience and engagement,” Godwin said. “This might include advanced sensors that can use light to measure blood pressure, which could be incorporated in watches, smartphones, or standalone devices or apps that can measure caloric intake from smartphone cameras.
“Additionally, the first experiment using drones to deliver organ transplants across metropolises happened this year with a wider rollout expected. AI is also being used to analyze patient data, genetic information, and blood samples to create new drugs.”
Jahangir Mohammed, founder and CEO of Twin Health, a digital twin company, thinks that one of the most significant breakthroughs for health care and IoT is the ability to constantly monitor health metrics outside of appointments and traditional medical tests.
“Recent innovations in IoT technology are enabling revolutionary advancements in health care,” Mohammed said. “Until now, individual health data has been mostly captured at points in time, such as during occasional physician visits or blood labs. As an industry, we lacked the ability to track continuous health data at the individual level at scale.
“Advancements in IoT are shifting this paradigm. Innovations in sensors now make it possible for valuable health information to be continuously collected from individuals.
“In addition, advancements in AI and machine learning, such as digital twin technology and recurrent neural networks, enable us to conduct real-time analysis and the ability to see cause-and-effect relationships and predictability within incredibly complex systems. For example, we can now understand the depth of human metabolism at a highly individual level, allowing us to learn what is impacting someone and what can help their condition improve.”
Neal Shah, CEO of CareYaya, an elder care tech startup, cited a more specific use case for IoT as it relates to supporting elders living at home, a group that has particularly suffered from isolation and lack of support during the pandemic.
“I see a lot of trends emerging in IoT innovation for the elderly to live longer at home and avoid institutionalization into a nursing home or assisted living facility,” Shah said.
“Through our research partnerships with biomedical engineering programs at nearby UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State University, CareYaya is working on field testing several promising IoT sensors and devices that help with everything from fall prevention to medication reminders, biometric monitoring of heart rate and blood pressure, even mental health and depression early warning systems through observing trends in wake-up times.
“Many of these IoT innovations will improve safety and monitoring of the elderly population, thus reducing the need for vulnerable elderly to have to sell their homes and move into assisted living facilities.”
3. 5G Enables More IoT Opportunities
Hyperconnectivity and ultra-low latency are necessary to power successful IoT solutions.
5G is the connectivity that will make more widespread IoT access possible. Currently, cellular companies and other enterprises are working to make 5G technology available in their areas to support further IoT development.
Bjorn Andersson, senior director of global IoT marketing at Hitachi Vantara, an IT service management and top-performing IoT company, explained why the next wave of wider 5G access will make all the difference for new IoT use cases and efficiencies.
“With commercial 5G networks already live worldwide, the next wave of 5G expansion will allow organizations to digitalize with more mobility, flexibility, reliability, and security,” Andersson said. “Manufacturing plants today must often hardwire all their machines, as Wi-Fi lacks the necessary reliability, bandwidth, or security.
“5G delivers the best of two worlds: the flexibility of wireless with the reliability, performance, and security of wires. 5G is creating a tipping point. We now have enough bandwidth and low latency to have an enormous impact, one that is much more flexible than a wired network and enables a whole new set of use cases.
“If you think the Internet of Things has been impactful to date, just watch. 5G will increase the feasibility of distributing massive numbers of small devices, each of which may generate little traffic and little revenue but in the aggregate, provide enormous value with each bit of data.
“This capacity to rapidly support new apps is happening so early in the deployment cycle that new technologies and infrastructure deployment can happen almost immediately, rather than after decades of soaking it in. With its widespread applicability, it will be feasible to deliver 5G even to rural areas and remote facilities far more quickly than with previous Gs.”
4. Demand For Specialized IoT Data Management
With its real-time collection of thousands of data points, IoT solutions strategy focuses heavily on managing metadata about products and services.
With an overwhelming amount of data involved, not all IoT developers and users have begun to fully optimize the data they can now access.
Sam Dillard, senior product manager of IoT and edge at InfluxData, a data platform provider for IoT and in-depth analytics use cases, believes that as connected IoT devices expand globally, tech companies will need to find smarter ways to store, manage, and analyze the data produced by the Internet of Things.
“All IoT devices generate time-stamped (or time series) data,” Dillard said. “The explosion of this type of data, fueled by the need for more analytics, has accelerated the demand for specialized IoT platforms.
“By 2025, there’s projected to be ~60 billion connected devices around the world, the vast majority of which will be connected to IoT platforms. Storing this data is the first hurdle. Making it all sync together seamlessly is the challenge that organizations face next year as IoT deployments continue to scale at a rapid pace.”
5. Bundled IoT For The Enterprise Buyer
While the average enterprise buyer might be interested in investing in IoT technology, the initial learning curve can be challenging as IoT developers work to perfect new use cases for users.
While some of the pioneering IoT companies are forced to learn as they go, many other companies are interested in watching and learning from these companies at a distance to start.
Andrew De La Torre, group VP of technology for Oracle Communications at Oracle, a top cloud and data management company, believes that the next big wave of IoT adoption will be in bundled IoT or off-the-shelf IoT solutions that offer user-friendly operational functions and embedded analytics.
“Oracle surveyed 800 respondents. … The survey revealed an evolution of priorities in IoT adoption across industries,” De La Torre said. “Most notably, enterprises are investing in the form of off-the-shelf IoT solutions with a strong desire for connectivity and analytics capabilities built-in.
“According to the survey, 75% of respondents want connectivity to be “baked-in” or bundled by the solution provider, and 25% are happy for it to not even be a visible component to them. For projects in the planning phase, that trend is even more pronounced, implying those seeking bundled IoT will likely be more common in the near future.”
This article was originally published on Datamation.