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How The IoT Industry Will Evolve Over the Next Few Years

Dianna Labrien, Freelance Writer and Content Strategist, @DiLabrien

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It is now estimated that by 2020, 20.8 billion things will be connected to the Internet across the globe. From appliances, home and business security systems, health monitoring devices, driverless cars, etc., devices are communicating with one another and over networks without the need for human intervention. They are sending data to software and receiving instructions in return, and changing the very definition of computing. As this revolution continues, here are five trends that will emerge over the next few years.

Common Services Will Evolve

The more IoT devices hit the mass market, the more services will be required to manage them. And data will have to move across networks securely and efficiently. Smart cars, and driverless cars, and ultimately driverless public transport, for example, are constantly sending data, all of which must be analyzed and sent back. And if we intend to prevent such things as collisions, that data will have be in real-time. Higher levels of bandwidth will be required to move all of this data from a thing to a data center and also between data centers. Clearly, investments in data centers will become critical.

Intelligent software will also lead to far better service. Consider, for example, a disconected cable on a metro train system. Locating the cut would require human investigation and result in perhaps hours of downtime. Software can now determine the location remotely, allowing for traffic to be re-routed and the repair to be accomplished quickly, because the fiber is communicating the location.

Medical Tracking Devices Will Become More "Communicative"

By 2020, it is forecasted that there will be about 4 billion tracking devices for patient care. And according to Medical Alert System Reviews, the consumer demand for more advanced tracking solutions already outweighs the supply of current options provided on the market.

IoT elements can enhance the patient care even further. Imagine that physicians can monitor patient conditions remotely, modifications in medication and other therapies can be made. Such monitoring can also alert patient and doctor when a crisis occurs, and an EMT emergency vehicle can be remotely ordered. All of this will occur from wearable devices sending data to a data center where it is analyzed and sorted before moving on to the physician's office. Of course, this is only one aspect of what we will see in the biomedical field in years to come.

Cloudlets Are on The Rise

Given the rapid growth of OTT services and the proliferation of IoT devices, there will be a need to improve UX by caching content closer. Small data centers, termed "cloudlets" will be placed closer to the user at designated stations.

In a nutshell, cloudlets can be described as small, separate, virtual data centers in a box. As part of the cloud infrastructure, they can help supporting data-rich, resource-intensive applications with added security. Just the type of container IoT providers need to store and operate all the customer accumulated data and diminishing the online hazards. Speaking of which...

IoT and Security Still Have a Lot of Problems To Solve

According to a recent research conducted by security company Sophos, the security threats for IoT devices are more real than ever. The company's professionals managed to reveal a great deal of security failures within different devices including outdated password protection methods, unpatched versions of OpenSSL, which can be easily breached, low-level of protection against DDoS attacks among others.

There's no point in denying that manufacturers need to invest in new security models to protect all the personal data customers entrust them with. One of the possible solutions is bulk encryption at the optical layers as it enables advanced end-to-end security regardless of the data format or type of traffic coming through the network.

Remote Control and Monitoring Will Go Onto The New Level

This is not new, of course. Consumers have been adopting IoT technology to smartify their homes and create easy-to-control and program environments. But remote control and monitoring will occur in far more areas than just those that satisfy consumers. Already, heating elements are being embedded in highways and roads. When snowy, icy weather strikes, these warming elements will be activated, not by human control, but by analysis of data that will trigger that activation.

The same goes with street light controls. Twilight - a startup based in Groningen, has been working on a dimming street light system, which will switch on and off as anyone move about. Currently, a test project is being implemented in a few German, Irish and Dutch cities.

There is no turning back from this era of IoT. Soon, every person on the planet will be impacted by some form of this technology. The challenge now becomes one of how all of the data will be captured, curated, analyzed, shared, transferred, and stored while still providing the security and privacy that is required. Software will be the key to this, and innovators who can provide those software solutions will be in high demand for certain.

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