Nowadays nobody needs to explain what “cloud” means in IT. But many people still have a lot of questions about the Internet of Things (IoT). The Internet of Things actually begins from things. It includes voice assistants, air and water monitors, DIY Smart Home securities, connected appliances, etc. Does this concept include laptops and smartphones? How is automation different from IoT? How can a small company or a startup launch its IoT project?
The first IoT device appeared 20 years ago in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where a vending machine was connected to the Internet. During the next 15 years, the Internet things appeared from time to time, but no active action had been taken until the last 5 years.
How is the cycle of development working in the IoT?
The bases of any IoT solution are sensors and software for managing and processing data. A user clicks the button and performs an action. These data come into the storage and become the basis for machine learning within the platform. Big Data has a huge number of solutions for analytics and visualization. Microsoft has Power BI, for example. The received data enters the sensors as feedback, and the circle starts again.
Large IT corporations provide platforms where other companies (including startups) can create solutions for clients or their own platforms. That is one of the most promising IoT directions. According to McKinsey, by 2020, 70% of the market will generate b2b solutions, and the IoT market, according to Gartner, will reach $1.7 trillion.
Which changes gave an impetus to the rapid development of the IoT?
- The components cost was significantly reduced. Manufacturers are trying to expand components assortment and make it even cheaper.
- Communications also are becoming increasingly cheaper. In Ukraine, the penetration of the Internet business is quite good which increases the development of the IoT opportunities.
- The data processing becomes more affordable. The cloud technologies are the key innovation which provides virtually limitless storage and processing capabilities.
- Increasing of smartphone numbers created an ecosystem for managing various devices and platforms, and the mobile Internet provides the ability of remote access to devices.
There are some common trends in the IoT development:
- The data security in the Internet of Things (IoT security) is an important and underestimated sphere. Today, 85% of developers are launching devices with explicit “holes” in the security system when a good cryptoscope compatible with other parts of IoT devices cost only $1. But every fifth user applies his personal data while working with IoT solutions. Ensuring the safety of these data is a key trend in the IoT over the next five years.
- Analytics. This direction is especially important for complex production systems, such as the Toyota factory, where data is collected literally at every stage of the production cycle. What to do with all these data, how to collect and use them? These questions should be answered by IoT analytical solutions.
- Device and device management depending on the type of the required information. The data will affect how a specific device is configured and determine the principles of its operation.
- The development of technologies based on two factors: the reduction of cost and energy consumption, which depends on the demand for local area networks and networks with broad coverage.
- Development of processors and operating systems for IoT. The market of processors for the Internet of things is almost empty. 8-bit processors are required. After 2019, the 32-bit processors most likely will be the standard. As for operating systems, they are, of course, released by IT giants. Microsoft, for example, has Windows 10 for IoT devices. But there are other players, less famous and not as large.
Monetization and implementation of ready-made solutions
It’s important not only to come up with a platform and create a prototype device. The main thing is to find a working business model. It’s not so difficult to create smart kitchen utensils. It’s hard to come up with a way to integrate it with consumer brands to monetize a product.
For example, smart home systems can be sold through Smart TV. The polls of advanced pay-TV consumers show that 28% of them are ready to install Smart Home. Apparently, because the new technology is embedded in an already familiar interface. The smartphones, for example, gained popularity due to the properly selected interface — the touch screen. For Smart Home systems, this interface can become the voice control. The interface is an important driver for the growth of the IoT market.
According to the global international research, IKEA can become a leader in the Smart Home-based marketplace with gradually embedding new devices in the familiar home-based systems. First, instead of a regular light bulb, the buyer will choose “smart”, then connect it to the TV, and gradually the whole house will be converted by IoT devices. That market development “from the consumer” in this case is better than being imposed by corporations with ready-made and still incomprehensible user systems.