By Suraj Nair, Director of Technology and COE Leader (IOT & Telematics), Quest Global
The Internet of Things (IoT) as seen today, has shaped a landscape far beyond its initial purpose of collecting data from essential devices. Initially designed for connecting basic devices for data collection and reporting, IoT has metamorphosed into a sophisticated network seamlessly integrating the physical and digital realms. This evolution has broadened the scope of IoT, extending its influence beyond just consumer devices to a plethora of industry use cases, heralding the concept of the “Intelligence of Things.” Modern connected devices exhibit enhanced self-learning capabilities, that can adapt to user behavior and environments without explicit programming.
Key drivers towards adoption today
While IoT has captivated the industry for some time now, enterprise adoption has been gradual. However, a combination of pull and push factors are driving a renewed urgency to transform.
Changing consumer demands- With an increasing demography of smartphone users, consumer demand for other consumer products to be as connected and intelligent as smartphones, has peaked. Today, smartness and connectivity in modern cars, wearables, glasses, home devices, etc., are default consumer expectations as such sophisticated devices increasingly become part of daily life.
Operational efficiency – The benchmark for achieving operational efficiency and streamlining processes is an ever-moving target, as organizations focus on enhancing productivity, reducing costs, and improving overall efficiency. Adopting IoT is an essential lever in the process.
Environmental sustainability – Today, IoT adoption in enterprises is being considered for its pivotal role in advancing environmental sustainability. IoT adoption helps optimize energy consumption and waste generation, helping align enterprises to global sustainability metrics. Given that one cannot optimize what one cannot measure – IoT provides the relevant technological interventions for measuring environmental state and wastage.
Technology innovations and lower cost of adoption – Rapid innovation in hardware (semi-conductor innovations enabling AI), miniaturization of hardware, ubiquitous connectivity with 5G, constantly improving public cloud IoT service offerings a steady reduction in the cost of hardware and connectivity – enable an ecosystem favoring IoT adoption.
Need to Retrofit legacy systems or rebuild – Aging infrastructure in various industrial deployments create opportunities for IoT adoption with the need to retrofit sensors to existing infrastructure to improve operations. Organizations are also modernizing by investing in modern connectivity enabled infrastructure in industrial deployments.
Competitive pressures – With early adopters of IoT based solutions reaping the benefits of technology adoption, more and more organizations are evaluating and adopting IoT based solutions in order to keep at par and ahead of competition.
Regulatory compliance – Constantly evolving regulations and compliance demands in various industries cause a push for IoT adoption as organizations seek to align with global privacy standards to avoid legal consequences.
Impact of ecosystem vagaries – Increasingly unpredictable climatic conditions, complex political and business alignments, shortage of labor are constantly disrupting supply chains and production. In such an environment, data acquisition for tracking and tracking and insight generation and sharing of data across players becomes important improve certainty.
Current trends shaping the future
Pandemic’s impact: Lockdowns and social distancing have accelerated the adoption of solutions enabling remote management of assets, especially in manufacturing and healthcare.
Rapid strides in hardware: The semiconductor industry is witnessing a rising demand for AI enabled chipsets and modular multi-model IoT connectivity, enhancing the range of connected smart products across sectors.
5G-driven IoT: 5G technology is pivotal in connecting the growing number of IoT devices, offering unmatched speeds, reduced latency, and expanded capacity for novel applications.
Privacy considerations: With the increased adoption of IoT in the consumer industry, privacy regulations like GDPR and PDPL have become crucial, requiring IoT solutions to prioritize functionality that enable consumers to control privacy related features.
Generative AI and IoT: The launch of Generative AI opens possibilities in the context of IoT, providing additional foresight with data from sensor-connected devices. An example would be where, patient data can be consumed from wearables and other sources and analysed using Gen AI to generate personalized healthcare plans, including dietary recommendations and exercise schedules
IoT in the present and immediate future
The post-pandemic era has seen a surge in demand for smart and connected solutions, especially in healthcare with personalized health insights using wearables. The automotive industry aims for Level 5 autonomy, focusing on connected vehicles and EV-related IoT solutions.
Governments globally invest in Smart City infrastructure, connecting city services for better citizen experiences. The marriage of IoT data with Generative AI is of immediate interest, and hybrid cloud-based solutions for IoT are gaining traction as the industry moves towards Cloud-Smart deployments instead of Cloud-First.
Navigating challenges in the IoT landscape
Navigating the expansive realm of IoT poses enduring challenges, with data security and privacy standing out as critical concerns due to the massive volumes of sensitive information generated. Cybersecurity threats, lack of attention to privacy regulations and potential impact of quantum computing on data security, are areas of concern. Integration and interoperability hurdles because of diverse device origins emphasize the need for strategic device selection and middleware solutions.
Given IoT’s cross-jurisdictional nature, legal and regulatory compliance requires meticulous research and policy implementation. A comprehensive and adaptive approach is essential to navigate the complexities of the IoT landscape responsibly and securely.
As we progress in the IoT landscape, it is crucial to embrace emerging trends and address challenges collaboratively. This approach ensures the responsible and secure progression of IoT technologies, paving the way for a more interconnected, intelligent, and efficient future.