In his very interesting book The Medici Effect: Breakthrough Insights at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts, and Cultures, Frans Johansson (@Frans_Johansson) writes about the value of creating a space in which people from diverse fields of expertise can gather to exchange ideas. The exchange of information is a time-proven way of making things better. That is the basic premise behind the Internet of Things (IoT) — getting machines to exchange information so things can improve. That is certainly the case for the supply chain. Zakhar Shapurau, Vice President of Research and Development at Xeneta, writes, “To say that the internet of things is taking supply chain management by storm is something of an understatement. In a crunch to collect real-time information and improve operational visibility, almost every object imaginable is being embedded with sensors, processors, software and other technologies that enable the exchange of data with other devices and systems over the internet. They’re also helping supply chain managers to better understand their operations.” Of course, the supply chain isn’t the only place where the IoT is playing an important role. IoT operations are finding their way into a number of economic sectors. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has funded research into how the IoT can be used in the public sector federal, state, & local) and nine key industries. Those industries are: agriculture; construction; energy/utilities; financial services; healthcare; manufacturing; retail; telecommunications; and transportation and logistics. Below are a few of the trends affecting how IoT technology is changing.
Internet of Things Trends
IoT and Edge Computing Convergence. Forrester analyst Abhijit Sunil (@abhijitsunil20) asserts, “The union of IoT, edge and networking technology will make some real results possible in the market.” Journalist Umme Sutarwala (@umme_sutarwala) agrees with that assessment; however, she also predicts the combination will have a big impact in the public sector. She writes, “As IoT devices become more common in the workplace and at home, edge computing will become more prevalent, which will benefit the public sector in particular.” The value edge computing brings to the IoT space lies in reducing the amount of data that must be transmitted. Data that is transmitted from the edge is of greater significance. Sutarwala also insists it helps improve IoT security. She explains, “Edge computing allows data to be maintained locally for real-time decision-making, which is why it has the potential to be a game-changer. It can mitigate some of the security risks involved with moving data to the cloud or another data center by limiting the distance traveled. Since data is extremely confined, there is a narrower window in which anything might be disturbed or damaged.”
Growing Cybersecurity Concerns. With malware and ransomware threats on the rise, concerns about IoT cybersecurity are also growing. Gabriel Aguiar Noury (@Gab_A_Noury), robotics product manager at Canonical, explains, “The IoT market is in a defining stage. 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. … 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.”
Support for the Hybrid Workplace. Journalist Pahi Mehra predicts, “In the near future, IoT will power the real estate market with smart office features for employees who must work remotely. Smart monitoring will make this possible.”
Explosion of IoT Devices Requires Switch to IPv6. Most IoT devices to date have used IPv4 addresses; however, with over 10 billion devices currently connected to the IoT and more being added every day, more addresses are needed. IPv4 is 32-bit binary number address while IPv6 is 128-bit binary number address, which provides much more room for expansion. Pete Sclafani (@PeteSclafani), Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of 6connect, insists, “IPv6 adoption plays a key role in the continued growth of the Internet that will power IoT in the coming years. … IPv6 adoption will also lend a hand by making our increasingly complex networks more stable and reliable, reducing the potential for slowdowns.”
Rise of the Metaverse. Tech writer Sayantani Sanyal writes, “Virtual and augmented reality with IoT can bind together the physical and the digital worlds. It brings in an opportunity for the application of IoT data in AR and VR technologies. Implementing IoT in these technologies brings economic benefits like reduced costs and several new and increased profits and opportunities. Combining these technologies might help companies educate employees about the virtual prototypes of products, types of equipment and can also help contemplate various strategies to determine business growth.”
Virtual Healthcare. Almost every expert looking at the future of the IoT sees it playing a significant role in the healthcare field. Miranda Romero, Marketing Manager at OptConnect, notes, “The healthcare industry has been tinkering with IoT technology for years now. Healthcare now uses wearable sensors and devices, tracking, and indoor navigation tech. Like factories, healthcare facilities are enormous and utilize countless pieces of state-of-the-art equipment. IoT’s ability to improve light and temperature control will improve these locations.”
Smart Cities Advancement. Another widely discussed topic is the use of IoT in the advancement of smart city projects. Romero writes, “IoT adoption will result in the continued growth and establishment of more smart cities. This early, some US cities are using IoT to connect utilities, parking meters, and traffic lights. Smart city projects are now in the pipeline, a development that will spread globally.” Sanyal adds, “The establishment of smart cities will be the result of IoT and edge computing technologies. Experts are discussing the next innovations in smart digital connectivity. Some cities in the United States are already contemplating connecting utilities, parking meters, and traffic lights to IoT networks. The IoT market is expected to grow up to US$639.74 billion by 2022. Smart cities will not only improve the social living standards but will also benefit citizens from economic aspects.”
Leveraging 5G and Satellite IoT Technology. Journalist Shelby Hiter writes, “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.” Sclafani explains that the IoT will demand an ever-increasing access to bandwidth. “The only way to increase bandwidth,” he writes, “is through physical infrastructures such as fiber lines or cell towers. We expect the continued rollout of 5G networks to help alleviate the need for speed by offering ultra low latency and greater network capacity. As they expand their footprint, other technologies like satellites may also play a role in providing diverse data paths.” Tech writer Brandon Vigliarolo (@bviglia) adds, “Forrester predicts that 85% of satellite internet users will be in rural locations. If accurate, companies offering wireless 5G internet or mmWave service for edge access will need to step up their game in 2022 or risk becoming the DSL of remote wireless internet service: Good enough, but not as good as the competition.”
Clearly, the Internet of Things is going to play an essential role in the economic future of the planet. The greatest concerns about this development involve privacy and cybersecurity. Vigliarolo reports, “Weak IoT device security continues to be a plague on the internet, and Forrester said 2022 will bring with it a botnet so large that its ‘level of traffic will successfully cause economic pain by denying some critical communications infrastructure.'” Let’s hope that prediction doesn’t come true. Even without an unprecedented botnet attack, cybersecurity will remain an issue. Sclafani concludes, “Device and IoT network hacking will become more prevalent, and security maintenance will fall onto network operators.”
 Zakhar Shapurau, “Where Supply Chain IoT Is Today, and Where It’s Headed,” SupplyChainBrain, 19 November 2021.
 Brandon Vigliarolo, “2022 will be the year of convergence between edge, IoT and networking tech, Forrester predicts,” TechRepublic, 4 November 2021.
 Umme Sutarwala, “How Can Edge Computing Help IoT Reach its Full Potential?” Enterprise Talk, 23 September 2021.
 Shelby Hiter, “Top Internet of Things (IoT) Trends for 2022: The Future of IoT,” Datamation, 29 November 2021.
 Pahi Mehra, “Look out for these IoT trends in 2022!” TechGig, 28 November 2021.
 Pete Sclafani, “Top 10 IoT Trends for 2022,” Nibbles & Bits, 30 November 2021.
 Sayantani Sanyal, “Top IoT Trends and Predictions to Look Out for in 2022,” Analytics Insight, 23 September 2021.
 Miranda Romero, “IoT Trends for 2022,” OptConnect Blog, 27 April 2021.
 Hiter, op cit.
 Vigliarolo, op cit.