The Internet of Things (IoT) is a phrase we have been hearing a lot in 2017, with more and more devices becoming ‘connected.’ We have even seen L’Oreal release a ‘smart’ hair brush. But far from being a gimmick, IoT can drive real improvements in business, such as increased productivity and efficiency. The data collected from such devices can provide vital product and market insight for companies.
As we move into 2018, the deployment of IoT-enabled devices is set to boom, with this technology truly beginning to disrupt industries. Gartner predicts that there will be almost 11.2 billion devices in operation in 2018, which is almost double the amount deployed just two years ago (6.4bn). We are seeing this technology used in almost every industry, from solar, to transport, to pharmaceuticals, and everything else in between.
In 2018, we can expect to see the following trends impact IoT adoption:
The impact of GDPR on IoT devices
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is designed to strengthen and unify data protection for everybody living in the EU, will come into force on May 25, 2018. It imposes a privacy by design requirement to ensure that data privacy and data protection is no longer an afterthought. With IoT devices gathering huge amounts of data, GDPR will be a major focus for companies in 2018. Businesses will have to take major steps to ensure they, and their suppliers, are GDPR compliant, including ensuring that the data they collect from IoT devices, and the way in which they store and protect it, is in line with the regulation.
The rise of pay-per-use
One of the key issues globally is sustainability. With a growing strain on natural resources increasing the demand for companies to operate sustainably and economic factors hampering business growth, companies must explore new ways of doing business. One way of doing this, is by increasing the amount of ‘pay-per-use’ products.
Take a tractor for example. The initial outlay is often costly and they can be too expensive for smaller agricultural businesses to buy. But if a farmer only had to pay while the machine is in use, the product could be made accessible to them for the first time and using it could help them develop their business and improve operations. It would also encourage more economical use of the products, which has the potential to lower the burden on the environment. A farmer would not leave their engine running constantly if they know it would be charged for every minute it is turned on, for example.
IoT and the ability to remotely monitor a product or device, makes this pay-per-use model possible. And, as we see the implementation of pay-per-use models increase globally throughout 2018, a whole range of devices and products could be made accessible to businesses to help them to grow, improve efficiency and in turn boost the economy.
IoT will increase in tandem with the shared economy
The sharing economy has become increasingly popular worldwide – with platforms being used to connect service providers with customers who need the services. Services offered range across sectors, from grocery and shopping to ridesharing. In the UK, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) predicted that by 2025 total transactions in the UK sharing economy could peak at £140bn.
As we progress through 2018, this boom in the sharing economy will continue, with a particular surge in ridesharing applications. This year we have already seen Citymapper launch its first smart bus, which uses telematics to update the app in real-time as well as using tracking software to count the amount of passengers on-board. It boasts that it has taken “systems that haven’t traditionally talked to each other and integrated them.”
These platforms depend on the input of millions of data points in order to work effectively. Currently many sharing economy platforms use smartphone and web applications to communicate between the service provider, the platform, and the customer. But by leveraging IoT, smartphones could connect directly with the devices that help provide the services. For example, a smartphone could instantly interact with an IoT-enabled dashboard when you step on board a bus, which could alert the driver in real-time changes in capacity. This kind of automation allows for a more efficient and user friendly experience, which is why IoT-backed sharing economy platforms will become more commonplace as we go forward.
The deployment of IoT devices will continue at an explosive pace in 2018. But this year, more than ever, we will see this technology become mainstream. More and more connected devices will be deployed across a range of industries that can drive efficiency and automation. But more importantly, we will see this technology begin to truly disrupt the market place, with IoT the driving force behind new business models and the continued boom in the sharing economy.