Cisco estimates that, by 2020, 50 billion objects will be connected to the Internet. IDC predicts 30 billion and Gartner – “only” 20.8 billion.
Despite the discrepancies, market analysts are unanimous on the fact that the Internet of Things is, at present, still in an early stage,regarding development and adoption. But it will not take me too long, because more and more organizations are interested in IoT products adoption.
Motivations differ depending on the proposed gains: While some companies focus on savings and operational optimizations, some focus on improving the quality of services and products provided to end customers. There is a third category of recipients to whom IoT technology is the basis for the development of new directions of business, the vast majority coming from the category of “early adopters” who have already proved in practice the benefits of IoT.
Safety, the number one problem
Although experts credit the IoT solutions and services with a huge development potential,and in order for these solutions to materialize as expected, it is needed an acceleration of the technology readiness phenomenon.
This year, Gartner Cabinet has penciled a top of IoT technology development priorities between 2017-2018, and the security comes first. The nomination is justified in the context of constant growth in the volume, complexity and diversity of threats.
According to Citrix Labs, the security risks generated by IoT adoption in enterprise products come from the fact that they must be interconnected with traditional IT systems that are not capable of providing protection against new types of vulnerabilities. On the other hand, according to Gartner, the problem is compounded by the fact that the current generation of IoT products utilizes processors and operating systems too simple to support sophisticated security measures – software architecture and hardware of the IoT devices is not thought to go major updates throughout their lifecycle.
In the past 2-3 years, warning signs opposite the IoT risks have become increasingly numerous and critical. HP Internet of Things Study State of the Union warns that 70% of the IoT equipment used around 2014 had many vulnerabilities (med, 25 / device). More recently, AT & T Cybersecurity Insights report (presented at the Mobile World Congress 2016) mentions that attempts to detect hackers exploiting IoT vulnerabilities and equipment increased by 458% last two years.
Inherently, in front of all warnings, the market reacts – according to Gartner, investments in securing IoT products will reach this year a total of USD 348, with a 23.7% growth in comparision with the previous year. The increasing tendency will be constant in the next two years: 2017 is estimated at 434 USD Invested Millions in security, and in 2018 – 547 USD million. Specialists estimate that in the following years, the efforts to secure connected objects will focus on the management, analyzes and provisioning of devices, inclining the balance to the integration and administration platforms, capable to integrate advanced monitoring functionalities, detection, access control, etc. Another development direction is represented by the new generation of Cloud services, security services, dedicated tp IoT area, that, having the native advantage of scalability and flexibility, will register an increaseing demand.
Analysis – management – platforms
A second nomination in Gartner ierarchy is the analysis component of data flux generated by the IoT devices. The privileged rank granted to the analysis is because of the fact that it represents the main competitive advantage provided by the Internet of Things technology. To redeem it, however, companies must have the ability, skills and technological capabilities to integrate and correlate data from “smart” devices with those from other sources of business data. Experts believe that such compliance is essential for creating predictive models that can improve the activity of organizations, from the planning of maintenance operations and to detect customer acquisition intentions.
To exploit these opportunities, companies need modern tools of management and data analysis, capable of accelerating and automating operations and process large volumes of information quickly. This has led to an important IoT market niche- solutions for storage, analysis and reporting, which, according to ABI Research, it will reach 30 billion USD by 2020.
The third positioning in the IoT priorities ranking is the management area of the connected devices. Large scale use of IoT equipment force companies to adopt management tools dedicated to the functionalities of monitoring, diagnosis, analysis of faults, reporting, physical management, maintenance, update software and firmware, security etc. A specific requirement is that at this level of scalability, ie the ability of the solution to manage and monitor thousands or even millions of devices simultaneously, distributed in a complex distribution.
The management functions recently mentioned, the analysis and even the security are covered in a lesser or greater manner, by IoT platforms, and they are also nominated in the Gartner hierarchy.
Generally speaking, IoT platforms are serving three major areas:
- IoT devices and control operations carried out by them (communications, monitoring and managemen your device’s, firmware updates, security etc.);
- IoT data acquisition, processing and management;
- IoT applications development (development of connectors for integration with enterprise systems and visualization tools and analysis, creation of mobile applications etc.).
Currently, the definition of IoT platforms is very elastic, varying by producer. Currently on the market there are over 300 IoT platforms – represented by various vendors: from startups to famous players such as Cisco / Jasper or Infor – and their number is constantly growing.
One last aspect nominated by the quoted analysys cabinet is about the deficit represented by the IoT technology standards. It is a critical priority in achieving potential growth because standards ensure interoperability and communication guarantee business model based on the IoT data sharing between various equipment, infrastructures and organizations.
An important advance in the area of standardization was already noted in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) niche products, a market sector which registered significant IoT progress. IIoT products ensure interconnectivity of products / machines and systems that provide sensor data to increase visibility and performance control of the industrial equipment. The ultimate goal of the IIoT products is to transform the way people and machines interact, generating major improvements of processes, products and services and increases in operational efficiency and productivity.
To cover these requirements and provide improved decision support, IIoT products integrate advanced sensor technologies, communication solutions machine-to-machine (M2M), real-time analysis tools, “machine learning” algorithms, etc.
At present, IIoT represents one of the main materialization of the Internet of Things technology. According to a recent survey conducted by Research Institute Genpact ( in collaboration with GE Digital and Industrial Internet Consortium), 81 % of companies look at the IIoT adoption as a primary condition of their business’ future success.
A conclusion also confirmed by Automation World Report – Morgan Stanley, considers IIoT the main vector to produce the development of the industry, envisioning an investments worldwide growth, with 8 % to 18% in the coming years Although the 10 % difference can seem small compared with previous rates, we have to take in consideration the fact that IIoT market is expected to worth a 151 USD billion by 2020 (according to MarketsandMarkets).
The evolution continues
Beyond expectations, forecasts and warnings, IoT technology begins to offer more and more evidence that it is able to increase the level efficiency of organizations in various working fields. And starting this year, that is able to provide new competitive advantages by providing the opportunity to develop new business lines.
It is an important change that will become increasingly more visible over the next four years. But like any new technology opportunity, IoT brings operational challenges. But that can be overcome by appealing to real specialists with skills and experience in the field, able to adapt existing solutions to the needs and specific requirements of organizations.