Has the IoT Industry Failed? Early Predictions vs. Reality

Zac Amos
Has the IoT Industry Failed
Illustration: © IoT For All

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a term used to describe the network of devices, vehicles, home appliances, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and connectivity, enabling these objects to connect and exchange information. IoT has revolutionized the way people live, work, and communicate.

However, not all early predictions about IoT have come true. Here’s a look at some IoT early predictions vs. reality and how some things that seemed inevitable early on did not end up happening.

1. IoT Would Lead to Massive Job Loss

One of the early predictions about the IoT industry was that it would lead to massive job loss, particularly in manufacturing and other blue-collar industries. The argument was that IoT would automate many tasks, making human labor redundant.

However, this prediction did not come true. While it is true that IoT has led to some job displacement, it has also created new opportunities in areas such as data analytics, cybersecurity, and software development. Moreover, IoT has led to smart homes and wearable technology, generating numerous job opportunities.

“While it is true that IoT has led to some job displacement, it has also created new opportunities in areas such as data analytics, cybersecurity, and software development.”

-Zac Amos

The caveat here is of course that the IoT industry hasn’t reached its peak. More automation can and will still arise. However, the trends seem to indicate that even if further jobs are eliminated, new jobs will open up in their place.

2. IoT Would Be Dominated by Big Tech Companies

Another prediction about the IoT industry was that it would be dominated by big tech companies such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Apple. The logic was that these businesses had the resources, expertise, and customer base to build and market IoT products and services.

Instead, the IoT industry has seen a proliferation of smaller startups and innovative companies developing and deploying solutions across various industries. These companies are leveraging the power of IoT to disrupt traditional sectors such as health care, agriculture, and transportation.

Smaller startups are succeeding in IoT because they are more agile and adaptable than their larger counterparts. They are also not burdened by the bureaucracy and legacy systems that big tech corporations deal with.

3. IoT Would Increase Privacy and Security Breaches

One of the concerns about the IoT industry was that it would lead to increased privacy and security breaches. Although video surveillance is vital for public safety in smart cities, the argument was that IoT devices were vulnerable to hacking and would compromise users’ security and privacy.

There have been some high-profile security breaches in the IoT sector, but the situation is not as dire as predicted. The industry has responded to concerns by developing better protocols and encryption mechanisms. Moreover, users are becoming more aware of the security risks associated with IoT devices and are taking measures to protect their privacy.

4. IoT Would Communicate With Devices Seamlessly

It was predicted that IoT would enable seamless communication between billions of objects. However, most implementations needed organizational, technological, and architectural integration with legacy solutions because they were brownfield projects. Ultimately, it slowed down the emergence of cross-market standards by creating too many consortia on existing standards organizations.

Customers keep pushing vendor groups to come together around shared standards. Some industrial sectors are becoming popular platforms for creating a single set of criteria, though they still need to be fully interoperable.

5. IoT Would Lead to a World of Smart Cities

One of the most ambitious predictions about the IoT sector was that it would lead to a world of smart cities. The idea was that industries would use IoT technology to create more efficient, sustainable, and livable municipalities.

There have been some successful projects, but the reality is that creating a smart city is a complex and challenging task. It integrates technologies like IoT, artificial intelligence, and blockchain with existing infrastructure and governance systems. Besides, creating a smart city requires significant investment and collaboration among various stakeholders, including government, businesses, and citizens.

Many cities are implementing smart solutions, but we are still far away from a world of fully interconnected and automated cities.

5 Realistic Predictions for the Future of IoT

Early predictions may have been optimistic and exaggerated, but here are some realistic projections for the future of IoT:

  • More connected homes and cities will emerge: Smart homes and cities will become more popular as people adopt smart devices such as thermostats, lighting, and security systems. However, these will take a more piecemeal approach, gradually adopting more and more smart systems. Smart cities will not emerge overnight.

  • Security concerns will become more important: The increase in IoT devices means companies must invest more in securing their products and networks.

  • The number of connected devices will increase: It is predicted that over 29 billion IoT devices will be in use worldwide by 2030.

  • There will be greater adoption in health care: Remote monitoring devices, such as blood pressure monitors and glucose meters, will become more common. This will allow doctors to check patients in real time and adjust treatment plans accordingly.

  • More focus will be placed on sustainability: IoT can help reduce energy consumption and waste. Smart buildings and cities will help improve sustainability.

IoT Is Slowly Meeting up With Early Predictions

IoT certainly hasn’t failed, and because it is still in its early stages, it may still meet its early predictions — just more slowly than expected. The early predictions may have been overly optimistic, but the reality is that IoT is slowly but surely gaining traction in various sectors, such as health care, smart homes, and transportation. IoT early predictions vs. reality may have differed, but it’s exciting to see how IoT has grown and will continue to change.

However, some challenges need to be addressed, such as security concerns and the need for standardization. There will be more widespread adoption and innovation in IoT as the industry matures.

Zac Amos
Zac Amos - Features Editor, ReHack
Zac Amos is the Features Editor at ReHack, where he writes about all things tech-related, from cybersecurity to AI to IoT.
Zac Amos is the Features Editor at ReHack, where he writes about all things tech-related, from cybersecurity to AI to IoT.