The Covid-19 pandemic drove businesses and employees to become more reliant on technology for both professional and personal purposes. Thus, the upsurge of IoT devices. Tens of billions of IoT devices are currently in operation across the globe, from well-known devices like smart speakers and smartwatches to smart homes regulating our air conditioning and heating.

However, IoT is not only meant for consumers. Industry and various businesses already utilize IoT applications. And with the global pandemic still ongoing, we expect to see even more connected devices across all sectors in the future.

A month into 2021, businesses are beginning to realize that IoT is not just a hype or another buzzword but a technology with true potential to transform industries. Enthusiasm for IoT devices and connected products shows no signs of slowing down. According to Statista, the global IoT market is predicted to reach $520 billion next year. In addition, a research from Cisco states there will be 27.1 billion networked devices in 2021. Globally, that will be 3.5 networked devices per person. 

What do we expect to see in 2021?

Many IoT development partnerships are likely to take place. Brands, who not only require cloud transformation, will need a hardware partner to ensure IoT devices perform to both consumer and business needs. Regardless who uses them, those IoT device applications, there are some common concerns shaping IoT solutions we should take into consideration: integration, usability, security, interoperability, user safety, and return on investment (ROI) for the business case.

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has been a focal point of industry. Now, the “industrial” part is shifting to all kinds of industries, for example, an increase in health care apps (a.k.a. the Internet of Medical Things or IoMT) that allow doctors to monitor patients' well-being remotely and in-home health apps that allow people to check heart rates from home. Soon we'll see the IoRT (Internet of Retail Things), IoLT (Internet of Logistics Things), and IoWM (Internet of Workforce Management), as big business realizes that the Internet of Things can monitor, for instance, not just where someone is, but what they like to buy, and, using analytics, what they're most likely to buy if prompted in the right place at the right time.

IoT and healthcare

Healthcare is embracing newer technologies to make patient care smarter and more efficient, with many hospitals adopting IoT healthcare technology.

It is not only robot surgeons assisting with hospital procedures; even patients can acquire more personalized treatment and care with the analytical capabilities of IoT.

Connected device makers will double down on health care. Michele Pelino, senior analyst at Forrester, noted that the advent of COVID-19 brought digital and remote health care to the fore. “If there are certain positives as a result of the pandemic, some are tied to the ability to use wearable devices more pervasively,” Pelino said. “The willingness has gone up to use wearables for [regular health checkups] and to provide virtual care. …  We’re going to continue to see momentum in the connected health care sector. The powering of that experience, remote monitoring of patients, that will continue on in 2021,” Pelino said. Furthermore, new technologies at the edge, such as 5G and smarter hardware, will enable richer data-driven health experiences.

IoT and digital twin

The theory of digital twins was first conceptualized in 2002. Digital twins are virtual representations of a process, object, or system that function in the same way as their real-life counterparts. We expect that as connected assets grow, digital twins will gain traction, too — visualizing all data points from connected sensors in digital twin format allows for a more holistic view of the performance of the physical object and provides insights into potential problems.

Especially for things like construction, engineering, and architecture, that could mean huge cost and time savings. Siemens is using the IoT and AI to create digital twins to help customers leverage data for product design, production, and innovation. Being another industrial technology giant, Siemens is further reiterating that this trend toward IoT Is where the IoT is going, thanks to smart data and analytics processing.

IoT and analytics

Data alone is not that big of a benefit for IoT. What makes it useful are the analytics on top that generate insights and help businesses make smart and informed decisions. In large, that's due to the ability for the IoT to partner with AI and ML technologies to process the vast amounts of data it receives quickly. So, as the amount of data generated increases, analytics will become more important — advanced solutions driven by artificial intelligence and machine learning will improve the processing of vast amounts and varied data structures.

Take Honeywell's new Connected Life Safety Services (CLSS), a cloud platform that helps fire technicians to reduce the time needed for design, installation, commissioning, inspection, maintenance, and reporting of life safety systems. It doesn't just collect info. It synthesizes it to make smart and informed recommendations and decisions. Honeywell seeks to define a category it calls enterprise performance management (EPM) built on the data and analytics that can be collected and synthesized from an organization's environment, which was cemented through a recent partnership with Microsoft—another trend that I believe is gaining momentum. 

IoT and security

With the average person having multiple connected devices on them and their home having a few more, it only takes one vulnerability to attack them all. So, businesses will have to prioritize security over innovation in 2021 to encourage consumers and gain their trust to adopt more IoT connected products.

Here are some types of attacks that are becoming more popular and more common among attackers using Internet of things (IoT) threats:

  • AI in IoT threats

AI-based attacks have been taking place since 2007, mostly for social engineering attacks (simulating human chat) and for enhancing DDoS attacks. Over time, more refined algorithms will get better at mimicking normal users on a network to foil detection systems looking for strange behavior. The biggest recent development in the use of AI in cyberattacks is democratization of tools for building and using AI systems. Threat actors can build AI tools now that just a few years ago only researchers could build.

  • Deepfakes for IoT threats

Attackers will use the same tools behind deepfake videos for IoT threats, such as brute force attacks and spoofing biometrics. For example, university researchers have demonstrated generative adversarial network (GAN) techniques can brute-force fake, but functional, fingerprints. They do it in the same way passwords are brute-forced by trying thousands of attempts.

Today, audio and image deepfakes are basically perfected, which makes it impossible for most humans to tell if a voice or photograph is fake. However, deepfake videos still look uncanny but it’s only a matter of time they will be perfected by attackers. They could also use faked video for network breaches, extortion and blackmail.

IoT is a very large field which is evolving in a rapid pace. What we tackled are just some of the biggest trends in IoT development, but we can expect many more to emerge as the year continues to unfold.


Pin It