Each year we like to go inside FreeWave and ask our team what the Industrial IoT forecast looks like for the upcoming year. Throughout 2017 we were hard at work developing some of our industry-leading Edge intelligence and industrial Wi-Fi products, so this year, instead of looking inward, we decided to take a peek around the world at 2018 IIoT predictions from some of the leading experts.
Based off a Forrester report, three immediate trends spring to the forefront: specialization, security, and Edge infrastructure. Taking a bird’s eye view, as the market proliferates, many Industrial IoT providers will no longer need to be a one-size-fits-all solution, instead being able to double down on proprietary technology that has a highly specific and specialized purpose. Edge Infrastructure, already one of the hottest sectors of IoT, will possibly determine the future of big data and predictive analytics, in turn driving machine learning and beyond. And then, of course, there is the security element.
As the domains of Operational Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT) converge, the traditionally more vulnerable standards and practices of OT will take on more of an IT flavor, incorporating more hardened cybersecurity elements as IT managers (with security ALWAYS on their minds) take on more prominent roles in industrial operations and implement the next generation of IoT-ready devices and systems.
In early November, IDC put together a list of 10 predictions for IIoT covering myriad facets of the industry, including:
- As much as a 25 percent increase in security spending
- 10 percent growth in IoT sensors on Blockchain distributed ledgers
- In three years more than $1 trillion of enterprise IoT project investments will be built on net new technology spending
These are interesting predictions and fall in line with the general trend of the industry over the last five years. But there was one prediction that caught our eye:
- “By 2020, IT spend on Edge Infrastructure will reach up to 18 percent of the total spend on IoT Infrastructure, driven by deployments of converged IT/OT systems that reduce the time to value of data collected from their connected devices.”
Essentially, IDC is predicting that in two years Edge intelligence will use nearly 20 percent of the industry’s total IoT spend. This Edge intelligence will be driven by IT/OT convergence that enables faster data transmission via Fog Computing, enabling predictive analytics and real-time data monitoring. This is a significant note, as many companies are focused almost exclusively on figuring out how to transmit data from the Edge in usable packets.
Maciej Kranz, vice president of strategic innovation at Cisco
Kranz wrote the book on IoT (literally, check it out: Building the Internet of Things), and he tends to view it from more of a business standpoint. However, as more companies attempt to jump into the IoT fray, taking a strong – and long – business perspective could be the difference between success and failure.
In his ten predictions, Kranz finds similar footing with many analysts and thought leaders (paraphrasing):
- IoT will become the key security domain as organizations ‘finally begin to take IoT security seriously.’
- IoT will revolutionize data analytics as technology shifts to dynamic or real-time analytics and streaming data using AI and machine learning
- The focus of IoT will move from driving efficiency to creating new business value as companies use IoT to create new value propositions: in manufacturing mass customization, and more mass personalization.
To us, however, the most interesting prediction offered up by Kranz has to do with standardization:
- “We will see an industry-wide, accelerated move to open standards, open architectures and interoperability.”
At FreeWave, we have been huge proponents of opening up architectures to make the creation of IIoT software applications easier and more accessible to critical industries. Currently, many IIoT software needs require sophisticated and complex development chops. But, with the rise of NODE Red – and with the growth of language agnostic hardware – development and interoperability opportunities are opening up for everyone.
2018 could be a watershed year for the Industrial IoT. We highlighted three analyst and thought leader predictions here, but many carried the same tenor: security, analytics and proliferation will drive the growth of the industry over the next few years.
We’d love to hear from the community as well: what predictions do you have for IIoT in 2018?