As we look forward to a new 12-month cycle of mind-boggling technological leaps and bounds, there’s one prediction we keep hearing from sector analysts more often than any other: after something of a soft landing in consumer terms last year, the Internet of Things (IoT) is all set to splashdown hard in 2018.
As this blog has explored in various posts over the years (like this one), the main thrust of proposed IoT solutions for business-customer relations has always been geared towards increasing efficiency, improving service, and delivering a more personalized, streamlined and hassle-free experience.
For us as the end-users, the potential impact on how (and where, and when, and why) we interact with the companies we do is simply huge – genuinely life-changing stuff, as this infographic neatly summarizes.
And now, it seems, we’re finally approaching a point where we’ll be able to start reaping some very tangible benefits from it all: a new report from global research and advisory firm Forrester (titled, appropriately enough, Predictions 2018) states that the coming year will see the widespread movement of IoT plans ‘from experimentation to business scale’.
If 2016-17 was all about stakeholders and CIOs batting a bunch of new delivery concepts around, the Forrester report claims, major corporations in 2018 are now primed to start implementing IoT solutions across all vertical markets, ‘bridging the physical and digital worlds of their organizations to create new opportunities for growth’. In short, we’re about to enter phase two: moving from a largely industrial IoT to the inevitable rollout of a more cohesive consumer version.
As buyers, of course, we’ve already a few taken tentative steps down this road – slightly faltering ones in the case of wearables, perhaps – but those strides are growing more confident by the day, especially with the likes of Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant now speaking to us from a rapidly broadening range of household devices. As the expected forge ahead really takes hold over the coming year, it’ll be fascinating to see what sorts of products and services are best able to harness this exciting new tech.
It will also be interesting – and important – to watch how businesses, along with the various legal and political frameworks that support them, adjust to new opportunities and challenges in the race to fully commercialize IoT data. After all, if furnishing our chosen suppliers with previously unimaginable quantities of data is the ultimate trade-off in all this, we’ll all want to keep a close eye on who’s using it most effectively.
Written by Garrick Stanford, freelance editor and blog contributor at RS Online