As the IoT matures, vendors are beginning to create application bundles to simplify deployments, but security remains a concern.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has been the subject of intense media hype for years, but the Covid-19 pandemic and the massive use of remote working that has ensued has accelerated its real use unchecked. in the business. Additionally, the IoT is maturing as vendors begin to sell fully functional applications, not just the components needed for businesses to build their own. The pandemic has already led to strong growth in technologies for which the IoT is already well known, including predictive maintenance in industry and the automation of ports and other transport facilities. In these areas, the IoT enables employees to spend less time onsite, as remotely monitored systems do not need to be serviced in person as often as they otherwise would be. Some functions, including some types of inspection and maintenance, are fully manageable remotely, further reducing the time employees need to spend on site and in close proximity to each other.
Commercial IoT apps
According to Al Velosa, vice president and analyst at Gartner, the next major IoT evolution will be a move away from traditional connectivity, where hardware vendors simply sell a way to transfer data from assets in the field. to the cloud, to turn to fully integrated applications. “The novelty of 2021, which I believe will be the dominant trend of this year, is in the level of professional applications that are much more closed,” he said. “A lot of companies have started to deploy strategies that no longer sell the IoT platform alone and now sell the application plus the IoT.” We are effectively moving from the sale of components to that of finished products, “a sign of the growing maturity of the IoT market”, according to Mr. Velosa.
In the past, a company like Sigfox could sell network connectivity to a company that already had endpoints to connect and a back-end in the cloud. Today, GE, Siemens and others sell their operational technology as an integrated service. “It’s not the end of the world for self-directed sellers, but it just means that they’re likely selling their product or service to another seller, rather than a business. What’s more, embedded apps are being sold and deployed at scale, not as samples and testbeds as they used to be,” said Michele Pelino, principal analyst at Forester. “These IoT initiatives are becoming much more real, in a much broader sense,” the analyst added. “The bottom line today is that security, scalability and other initiatives that are important to the business are addressed as they branch out.”
“The increased interest in IoT is reflected in spending,” says Al Velosa. A recent Gartner survey of IT decision makers on emerging technologies found that average IoT funding is expected to grow from around $400,000 per company over the past 12 months to $600,000 in 2022. Security remains a challenge, largely because the IoT requires security at multiple levels – endpoints, network and cloud. Attacks on devices have continued apace in 2021 and show no signs of slowing down. And since the responsibility for these different types of security lies with different stakeholders – the network provider is responsible for a secure connection, the device provider is responsible for physical security, and the cloud provider is responsible for the security of the back-end – the question of collective action arises. “Companies are trying to implement multi-layered security,” Velosa said. “Unfortunately, it is also clear that there are still problems with how these companies are actively funding this security.” Security concerns may escalate further in the near future as enterprises scale up IoT deployments, including in more sensitive environments. “When you start decommissioning critical infrastructure that connects the world, the potential impact on millions of lives or essential resources and revenues becomes serious,” Pelino said.
IoT and future sustainability
According to Forrester’s Ms. Pelino, the IoT also brings hope for the future. One of the biggest drivers of IoT spending in the immediate future is sustainability, driven, at least in part, by increased regulatory requirements in many industries. IoT technology provides a host of solutions to achieve this, from building maintenance systems that ensure lights are turned off in unoccupied rooms, to industrial facilities that monitor excessive energy consumption or toxic emissions. . “The IoT makes it possible to connect these processes and use real-time information to help ensure real-time sustainability,” said Michele Pelino.