As the internet of things (IoT) revolution gains momentum, and our homes, devices, and workplaces become increasingly interconnected, what can we expect from the market in 2020?
One certainty is that the potential is there for small and medium businesses (SMBs) to benefit as the sector evolves, grows and matures. Here’s what to look out for in the year ahead, and beyond.
Despite the sector’s rapid growth, governments around the world have been slow to respond to the IoT and its challenges, and the industry has not self-regulated. However, moves are afoot, and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has spurred action globally. With provisions applying to any company, in any country, that handles EU citizens’ data, IoT makers and users must ensure their devices’ security.
Voice control and the IoT
With sales of voice-activated devices booming – Amazon has reportedly sold 100 million Alexa units, with Google shipping 50 million units of its Home controller – we can expect to see significant conversations around voice security. We can also expect to see device sales boom, as voice-activated, internet-connected devices, such as thermostats, speakers, clocks, fridges, toasters and more become part of the modern home.
Wearables and the IoT
With the market expected to reach $6.3B by 2020, we’re on the verge of the wearables boom. Monitors for fitness and healthcare are likely to see a tremendous uptake, with devices for measuring metrics such as heart rate and blood pressure providing users with a breadth of data. Similar devices are likely to become familiar in gaming. Expect to see the rise of wearables in business, especially in industrial and manufacturing.
IoT and payments
In China, two-thirds of online payments and one-third of in-store payments are now made using online wallets. With China’s explosive growth in the sector and Sweden aiming to go cashless as soon as 2023, the world is moving to replace its cash sooner than you think. For SMBs, this is a positive development, with improvements in customer service and reduced costs associated with financial transactions.
Kids and the IoT
Today’s children will live their lives in a world of IoT. Beyond connected baby monitors and toys, we can expect to see more educational IoT tools, which are already helping kids learn languages and coding. Expandable platforms such as Raspberry Pi will develop even more modules, allowing children to develop and use the devices to make music and build toys – and whatever their imagination will create next.
What does this all mean? For SMBs, it means that the time to start investigating the IoT is now. Whether it’s to add functionality or improve business processes, develop new products or anticipate competition, three things are certain: the IoT is here, it’s big, and it’s only going to get bigger.