During the 2017, the Internet of Things (IOT) has progressed up their positions and managed to consolidate both in the market and in the collective worldview. Only a few years ago, it was difficult to imagine a car that guide us to a destination automatically and now we are even able to fantasize with a virtual assistant. The times have changed and, with them, the way we understand the world around us.   

We are not visionaries and make predictions is enough to make us dizzy, but we will try to put a bit of light to the near future of the Internet of Things with 5 of the keys that will help us understand 2018.

1. Growth of the number of devices and IOT consolidation

We are in front of one of the tendencies that has burst with more strength into the TIC in the last years. The IOT devices or connected “things” are constantly increasing, attending to the last market analysis published. One of them, from the market research firm Gartner, predicts that at the end of 2017 will exist 8.400 million of intelligent devices and in 2020, around 20.400 million. In market size, and according to the consulting MarketsandMarkets, the business volume of the IOT at the end of this year is near 170.570 million dollars.

This upward trend is, in part, due to the increasing interest of the companies and industry in the Internet of Things. It seems that the companies are losing their fear to invest in IOT projects and, even more, are beginning to be conscious of the big profits that these technologies can contribute to his business: greater efficiency, more productivity and a plus of innovation, that so much does them grow inside, like turning them into great competitors in their market niche. In the end, it represents a unique opportunity to make their business grow.

2. Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) or Industry 4.0

The IOT is transforming many different industries. For now, Energy and Utilities and Healthcare are two of the sectors that are absorbing greater market quota. But in 2018 we will see how the intelligent manufacture (known as Industrial Internet of Things -IIOT- or Industry 4.0) will pick up a breathtaking pace.  

We are in front of the factory of the future, the intelligent factory, with computerized and automated processes, interconnected machines that integrate sensors and capacities of wireless communication, with the aim of compile data to optimize even more the resources. The concept Industry 4.0 still is not a consolidated reality, but a new milestone in the industrial development that has the technology as protagonist and seems it will lead the way to a new industrial revolution, the 4th Industrial Revolution.

3. NB-IOT, the technology that will shake up the connected world

In 2018, we will live the beginning of the Narrowband IOT (NB-IOT) technology. It is the first focused, exclusively, on connecting daily objects that require small quantities of data in long periods of time. Perfect, for example, for electric metering or to have always located our luggage (see project Track&Go).

This technology, that uses the existing mobile network, has a lot of possibilities to explore and it is being tested (we already are developing devices that use NB-IOT). 2018 will be determinant for its global deployment and seems that USA will lead the launching. The forecasts predict that in midd-year will be deployed in all the country (it is being tested in Las Vegas). According to MarketsandMarkets, North America will keep the greater market quota in the IOT until 2022.

NB-IOT will be accompanied by 5G technology that will carry to the limit the Internet of Things. This network, successor of 4G, will allow faster mobile connections -almost supersonic- and wants to optimize and integrate its technology with the IOT. It is foreseen its standardization for the 2020, but in 2018 we will start to listen a lot about it.

4. Security, the biggest challenge

One of the challenges which confronts the IOT is security. The increasing of connected objects foreseen in the next years situates it like the crucial element in each one of the stages of development of the devices, from the design to the manufacture. Because improving this aspect once the product already is in the market is extremely complicated.

Definitely, the security is (or would have to be) one of the key priorities of the manufacturers of devices, to avoid risks so much to the consumers as to the companies and, even, to the society. (Read our article about the subject).

5. The Artificial Intelligence (IA)

We have already begun to see it, but 2018 will be also crucial for the consolidation of Artificial Intelligence (IA) and it will turn into a main current. We are talking, essentially, about the voice assistants, today used in practically everywhere: mobiles, computers, cars, web pages…

The era in which we speak with the machines, and these are able to answer to our questions, has begun and applications like Google Assistant, Siri, Alexa or Cortana have turned into perfect speakers to resolve our longings.

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