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50 Predictions for the Internet of Things in 2016

Earlier this year I wrote a piece asking “Do you believe the hype?” It called out an unlikely source of hype: the McKinsey Global Institute. The predictions for IoT in the years to come are massive. Gartner believes IoT is a central tenet of top strategic technology trends in 2016. Major technology players are also taking Big Swings. Louis Columbus, writing for Forbes, gathered all the 2015 market forecasts and estimates here.

So what better way to end the year and look into the future than by asking the industry for their predictions for the IoT in 2016. We asked for predictions aimed at the industrial side of the IoT. What new technologies will appear? Which companies will succeed or fail? What platforms will take off? What security challenges will the industry face? Will enterprises finally realize the benefits of IoT? We heard from dozens of startups, big players and industry soothsayers. In no particular order, here are the Internet of Things Predictions for 2016.

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Photo Credit: Sean Creamer via Flickr

Nathaniel Borenstein, inventor of the MIME email protocol and chief scientist Mimecast

“The maturation of the IoT will cause entirely new business models to emerge, just as the Internet did. We will see people turning to connected devices to sell things, including items that are currently "too small" to sell, thus creating a renewed interest in micropayments and alternate currencies. Street performers, for example, might find they are more successful if a passerby had the convenience of waving a key fob at their "donate here" sign. The IoT will complicate all aspects of security and privacy, causing even more organizations to outsource those functions to professional providers of security and privacy services.”

Adam Wray, CEO, Basho

"The deluge of Internet of Things data represents an opportunity, but also a burden for organizations that must find ways to generate actionable information from (mostly) unstructured data. Organizations will be seeking database solutions that are optimized for the different types of IoT data and multi-model approaches that make managing the mix of data types less operationally complex.”

Geoff Zawolkow, CEO, Lab Sensor Solutions

“Sensors are changing the face of medicine. Mobile sensors are used to automatically diagnosis disease and suggest treatment, bringing us closer to having a Star Trek type Tricorder. Also mobile sensors will ensure the quality of our drugs, diagnostic samples and other biologically sensitive materials through remote monitoring, tracking and condition correction.”

Zach Supalla, CEO, Particle

“2016 isn't the Year of IoT (yet)- It's A Bump in the Road. The industry has been claiming it’s the year of IoT for the last ​five years - let’s stop calling it the year of the IoT and let's start to call it the year of experimentation. 2016 will be the year that we recognize the need for investment, but we’re still deeply in the experimental phase. 2016 will be the bump in the road year - but at the end of it, we’ll have a much better idea of how experiments should be run, and how organizations can “play nicely” within their own walls to make IoT a reality for the business.”

Borys Pratsiuk, Ph.D, Head of R&D Engineering, Ciklum

"The IoT in medicine in 2016 will be reflected in deeper consumption of the biomedical features for non-invasive human body diagnostics. Key medical IoT words for next year are the following: image processing, ultrasound, blood analysis, gesture detection, integration with smart devices. Bluetooth and WiFi will be the most used protocols in the integration with mobile."

Brian T. Patterson, President, EMerge Alliance US Representative, International Electrotechnical Council

“IoT to Enable an Enernet 2016 will see the IoT starting to play a major role in the evolution of a new, more resilient, efficient, flexible and sustainable 21st Century electric energy platform. IoT connected sensors and microcontrollers will enable the effective and efficient management of a true mesh network of building and community level microgrids, which in turn will enable the greater use of distributed renewable energy sources like solar, wind, bio fuel micro-turbines and fuel cells. The convergence of data networks and physical energy grids will give rise to what will become the Enernet, a data driven transactional energy network.”

Chris Rommel, Executive VP, IoT & Embedded Technology, VDC Research

“PaaS Solution Evolution to Cannibalize IoT Platform Opportunity: The landscape of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solutions is changing rapidly. In 2015, leading PaaS providers IBM, Oracle, and SAP threw their hats into the “IoT platform” ring. As quickly as the value of PaaS solutions had been placed on the consumerization and user experiences of development platform offerings, premiums have now been placed on the ease of back-end integrations. However, the value associated with time to market in the Internet of Things marketplace is too high. IoT solution development and engineering organizations still want the flexible benefits offered by PaaS development, but they also require a breadth of out-of-the-box integrations to mitigate the downstream engineering and deployment hassles caused by heterogeneous IoT systems and networks topologies. The desire and need for enterprise organizations to tightly integrate deployed systems' operations with enterprise business functions are reshaping PaaS selection. The need for tight, out-of-the-box integrations extends beyond the back-end, however. Bi-directional integration is critical. The heterogeneous nature of the IoT and wide range of device form factors, components and functions is too complex and costly to rely on bespoke integrations. As such, we expect the aforementioned PaaS leaders to accelerate their ecosystem development efforts in 2016. Although we likely won’t see any real winners yet emerge in the IoT PaaS space, I do expect that the investments made by the aforementioned large players to threaten the market opportunity available to smaller IoT-focused platform vendors like Arrayent and Carriots.”

Laurent Philonenko, CTO, Avaya

“Surge in connected devices will flood the network – the increasing volume of data and need for bandwidth for a growing number of IoT connected devices such as healthcare devices, security systems and appliances will drive traditional networks to the breaking point. Mesh topologies and Fabric-based technologies will quickly become adopted as cost-effective solutions that can accommodate the need for constant changes in network traffic.”

Lila Kee, Chief Product Officer and Vice President, Business Development, GlobalSign

“Prediction: PKI becomes ubiquitous security technology within the Internet of Things (IoT) market. It's hard to think of a consumer device that isn't connected to the Internet these days - from our baby monitors to our refrigerators to our fitness devices. With the increase of connected devices of course comes risk of exposing privacy and consumer data. But, what happens when industrial devices and critical infrastructure connect to the Internet and get hacked? The results can be catastrophic. Security and safety are real concerns for the Internet of Things (IoT) and especially in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Regarding security, the industrial world has been a bit of a laggard, but now equipment manufacturers are looking to build security in right at the design and development stages. Unless the security challenges of IIoT can be managed, the exciting progress that has been made in this area of connected devices will slow down dramatically. PKI has been identified as a key security technology in the IIoT space by the analyst community and organizations supporting the IIoT security standards. In 2016, we expect that PKI will become ubiquitous security technology within the IoT market. There will be an increased interest in PKI, how it plays in the IoT market and how it needs to advance and scale to meet the demands of billions of devices managed in the field.”

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David Oro is the Editor of IoT Central.

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