At the beginning of any new year comes the inevitable sense of curiosity and wonder as to what the next twelve months will have in store. This phenomenon holds especially true in our current day and age where the ever expanding Internet of Things is transforming business models, enabling brand new products and services that are truly revolutionizing the world in which we live in.
Now, with a few weeks already in the books, we wanted to share our Top 7 IoT predictions for 2017.
1. 4G IoT takes center stage, 5G buzz grows louder
As many cellular carriers roll out plans to shut down their 2G and 3G networks – it’s no news that 4G LTE has evolved from a differentiator to more of a standard for IoT connected businesses to remain competitive. Now that we’re beginning to wrap our heads around the potential of 4G and the ways that these networks can be deployed – it’s expected that, despite many unknowns, the topic of 5G will become an increasingly popular discussion topic with an influx of opinions and predictions from industry thought leaders, analysts, and research firms around the future role of 5G and how it will be adopted and applied to the IoT.
2. Emergence of narrowband IoT
Taking a look at the other extreme IoT trend, we foresee greater adoption of Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) for technologies that require less robust and less frequent data transmissions to automate and simplify existing tasks. 2017 could be the year for NB-IoT to make a splash for applications in Utilities, Structure Monitoring, and Agriculture where the miles-long connection ranges and affordable price points are especially attractive.
3. eSIM matures — how will carriers respond?
Sometimes regarded as the “Holy Grail” of IoT connectivity, many anticipate the maturation of portable subscription management via embedded SIM (eSIM) cards to advance in the coming year. eSIM allows wireless IoT devices to shift from network to network in order to optimize coverage presenting the opportunity for faster, more reliable, and more powerful IoT applications. The technology is essentially already here – the real question lies in the commercial realization of the connectivity opportunities, primarily by the cellular carriers themselves.
By embracing and facilitating a wide-open infrastructure, the carriers could redefine themselves and transition from a network carrier to a true facilitator of mobile utilization.
4. IoT-managed tablets taking the reins
Tablets have been wildly popular in the consumer market for years now, but the shift to B2B adoption is set to provide a tangible link between IoT “vision” and “execution”. For deskless workers operating in industries ranging from Retail and Hospitality, to Field Services, to Healthcare; the IoT managed tablet provides many advantages over the traditional PC. Its physical makeup as a lightweight, practical device for easy transportation during a day’s work is complemented by its task-oriented usability and power to connect to the Internet by virtually every means available, extending beyond the limitations of WiFi.
5. IoT security comes to the forefront
Both wired and wireless Internet connections have introduced a multitude of IoT ingress points for hackers to get ahold of – many of which present the potential for disaster. With these concerns coming to life, 2017 should present both significant funding and attention into consumer, commercial, and industrial security of IoT. As IoT solution providers work to decrease vulnerabilities – expect to see movement on security development and protocols as new standards and devices enter the marketplace.
6. Consolidation in the IoT
With the IoT become more widely adopted across a nearly infinite number of vertical markets – a growing number of wireless companies will join the race looking for their piece of the IoT pie. With more providers comes the inevitable consolidation of the industry with smaller companies looking to provide the edge and value required to be absorbed by the biggest and best in the space.
7. Rise of “plug and play” IoT
As a fairly new area of technology – the IoT vendor ecosystem has traditionally been one of fragmentation, creating complexities for those looking to launch an IoT deployment. In 2017, all-in-one IoT partners and providers will gain increasing appeal by accelerating time-to-market, providing technical expertise and support, providing interoperable components, and enabling ubiquitous connectivity via multiple worldwide wireless networks.
This article was produced in partnership with KORE.
The author is CEO and KORE Wireless Group Inc. and has over 20 years of experience in the networking and telecommunications industry in companies all over the world, including in Europe, North America, and Asia. He has extensive experience in wireless, enterprise, and fixed-line services, and he sits on the Advisory Boards for a number of technology companies in the U.S. and Canada. In 2015, he served for a year as Chairman of the IoT M2M Council, the largest and fastest-growing IoT and M2M trade group.