Reviewing Forrester’s Five IoT Predictions for 2020
Earlier this year, the folks over at Forrester, the American market research company, made five IoT predictions for 2020. These were aimed at helping CIOs and their organizations maneuver the ever-evolving IoT ecosystem.
Granted, the year took a rather unexpected turn. Nevertheless, as we wade our way into the second half of 2020, we’d like to recap Forrester’s predictions. They were as follows:
- IoT architects will integrate 5G into new designs, but not as a LoWPAN replacement
- Consumers will embrace smart speaker displays, driving the rise of multimodal design
- Cybercriminals will target an IoT device for ransom – from the device manufacturer
- Connected trucks will use IoT to catalyze logistics and supply chain transformation
- A major vendor shift will occur from connected products to a connected services ecosystem
But before we dig into the details, let’s go over the basics…
What is IoT?
IoT, shorthand for the Internet of Things, is one of the hottest topics in the world of connectivity. Indeed, the vision of IoT that has taken root in boardrooms across the globe and in the general imagination is that of a system of interrelated computing devices, machines, objects, animals, and people. In theory, each of these constituent parts would possess their own unique identifiers (UIDs) and be capable of transferring data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
Thus, IoT promises to be a versatile technology offering a wide variety of intriguing use cases. These include:
- Smart devices
- Smart appliances
- Smart metering
- Predictive maintenance applications
- Asset tracking
- And more!
The Big Four in tech — Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple — have all begun laying the groundwork for their presence in the sector. Each of these giants has already developed, or otherwise made substantial investments into, a variety of virtual assistants, home security systems, appliances, and more.
The auto industry, too; with help from the FCC, which laid out a plan to reallocate 75 megahertz of the 5.9 GHz band for cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) communications.
For our part, we at Pareteum have participated in numerous IoT/Smart City projects aimed at providing solutions for healthcare, smart traffic controls, sustainability, and waste management.
Most notably, our partnership with the Kyiv Smart City initiative has helped the city of Kyiv, Ukraine transform itself into a technologically developed, socially responsible metropolis with a high standard of life for its citizens.
Nevertheless, this is merely the beginning. As more and more companies, cities, and entrepreneurs invest in IoT applications, the technology will surely improve. It is not too bold to predict that, in short order, IoT will touch practically every major industry on earth.
Alas, we’ll leave our grander prognostications where they lie. Let’s turn now instead to Forrester’s IoT predictions for 2020.
Forrester’s Five IoT Predictions for 2020
1. IoT architects will integrate 5G into new designs, but not as a LoWPAN replacement
Currently, many IoT devices transmit data via low power wireless personal area networking (LoWPAN) technologies. LoWPAN is a wireless mesh network that enables devices to communicate in a cost-effective manner.
However, while the benefits of 5G mobile networks — with their high speeds and low latency — have largely been relegated to the think piece authors and opinion writers of content-starved mobility and tech publications, 2020 is anticipated to be the year that they finally reach consumers in a serious way.
Forrester predicts that the arrival of 5G networks promises not to push LoWPAN technologies into retirement, but to augment them.
“Many industries will continue using LoWPAN technologies, but use 5G solutions to backhaul information, passing data to telecommunications networks en route to destinations like the cloud,” said Frank Gillett, Forrester’s principal analyst serving CIO professionals.
2. Consumers will embrace smart speaker displays, driving the rise of multimodal design
It’s unlikely that the final numbers in 2020 will reflect early projections. Nevertheless, smart speaker displays were set to have a big year — and they may yet eke out a decent showing.
While products like Amazon Echo Show, Google Nest Hub, and Lenovo Smart Display already enjoy the distinction of being some of the most popular consumer IoT products, companies have begun to leverage them for a variety of enterprise solutions as well. Most notably: conference room management and remote meetings.
Gillett postulates that, as smart displays continue to proliferate both the consumer and enterprise landscapes, the software design will become even more intelligent. Forrester predicts that this will lead manufacturers to multimodal designs that give equal importance to voice, display, and touch.
“The software will become smarter, leading developers to create software that enables smart displays to adapt to different situations,” Gillett said. “The devices will be able to soak up the context and understand situations, for example, is someone distracted because there’s another person in the room or because they’re in a conversation? Do they have full attention? Are they even looking at [the device]? Should the video be paused because they looked away?”
3. Cybercriminals will target an IoT device for ransom – from the device manufacturer
IoT is something of a tech Wild West. While the increased accessibility of connected devices will certainly bring ample benefits to businesses and consumers, it will also create more opportunities for cybercriminals.
Gillett pins the blame squarely on IoT: “If these products weren’t connected, then the crooks couldn’t get in there and try to mess with the connection or the electronics.”
Forrester predicted that 2020 will see attackers target both consumer and enterprise IoT devices for ransom. They believe cybercriminals could attempt to exploit both regular customers and device manufacturers.
As a prescription for businesses, Gillett said: “To prevent attackers from taking advantage of IoT devices, designers must work closely with security teams in the company or hire experts that can integrate risk-mitigating techniques.”
Gillett also noted that companies ought to draw up remediation plans in the event of an attack.
“How do they minimize? How do they detect and prevent? How do they detect and recover? You have to nail everything down, and then have a disaster plan,” said Gillett.
4. Connected trucks will use IoT to catalyze logistics and supply chain transformation
Perhaps the most exciting use case for IoT is in supply chain efficiency and logistics. The trucking sector provides the most intriguing example. For instance, IoT can give trucking companies better insight into what their fleet is carrying, enabling them to reduce deadheading.
“There’ll be more communications and better visibility to who’s got capacity where and when,” Gillett said. “That can mean getting stuff through faster, as well as cheaper. Better visibility can prevent damage or loss, as well as minimizing the impact.”
Gillett goes on, mentioning that IoT will pave the way for increased truck driver assistance. One example he gave is the development of technologies that help truck drivers notice if they are becoming drowsy or inattentive.
“While fully self-driving trucks won’t be in the cards for 2020, movement toward self-driving technology on the highway will progress next year,” said Gillett.
Forrester’s report also mentions that IoT will promote efficiency and safety in the supply chain. In warehouses, for example, IoT devices can be used to safely operate machinery and move heavy items around on automated carts.
5. A major vendors shift will occur from connected products to a connected services ecosystem
Forrester’s final prediction is that many large companies that offer connected products will convert to services built on IoT data systems.
For instance, Gillett remarked that a company like Schneider Electric could potentially sell electric power management at a flat, monthly fee. This service could include power management equipment, conservation upgrades, and local utility electricity.
Moreover, Gillett observed that both Amazon and Apple already offer connected devices and services. As such, he forecasts that it’s only a matter of time until they introduce premium plans that put both components together in a bundle. For instance, Amazon Prime Premium could extend to include a set of Echo smart speakers.