This article originally appeared on Forbes by Gil Press.
In a new report, Predictions 2018: IoT Moves From Experimentation To Business Scale, Forrester Research predicts that the IoT will become the backbone of future customer value, the IoT infrastructure will shift to the edge and to specialized IoT platforms, developers will have a significant impact on platforms and initiatives, and security will remain a key concern.
Here’s my summary of what Forrester predicts will happen to IoT in 2018:
Enterprises will ramp up their efforts to pilot and roll out voice-based services to consumers.
The complexity, breadth and quality of voice-based services from the Fortune 500 will grow in 2018 with available services likely doubling. Financial services and other industries that demand authentication for anything more than a simple task will lag.
New European guidelines will give the green light for commercializing IoT data.
45% of data and analytics decision makers at US enterprises say they already commercialize their data, whereas only 35% of those at French and 38% at German enterprises do so. Recognizing this lag, the European Commission will issue guidelines to encourage the use of advanced technology and spark the data economy.
Marketers will wake up to the IoT opportunity, while wearables remain a niche.
The hype and growing adoption of intelligent agents like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant in more and more devices will open marketers’ eyes to new ways of interacting with customers. Building more intimate brand experience, they will extend their mobile moment strategy to include new interfaces with smart home speakers or smartwatches. Despite incremental sales of more than 12 million smartwatches in the US alone by the end of 2018, Forrester expects wearable usage to remain a niche.
Key use cases will drive a spike in deployment of edge solutions.
Today, IoT-enabled business processes primarily occur in on-premises data centers or in the cloud. In 2018, we will see significant momentum among firms deploying business processes requiring local data analysis close to the connected devices that enable these processes. The edge IoT devices can act locally based on data they generate, as well as take advantage of the cloud for security, scalability, configuration, deployment, and management.
Builders of industrial IoT platforms will exit the IaaS business.
Over the past twelve months, all of the major industrial IoT platforms have worked to make at least some of their industry- or IoT-specific capabilities available through hyperscale cloud providers including AWS, IBM, and Microsoft. As these hyperscale clouds extend their geographic reach, acquire further evidence for compliance with strict regulatory environments, and strengthen their own IoT capabilities, this trend will accelerate.
IoT platform offerings will begin to specialize in design and operate scenarios.
Product designers building IoT into products and experiences need capabilities for remote product management, monitoring, and control. IoT business operators need orchestration software that integrates their diverse set of IoT-enabled business assets into cohesive business process they can focus on running the business, not manually managing IoT bits. They will increasingly choose IoT platforms that are built for their needs.
A developer drive to the edge will precipitate IoT platform consolidation.
More enterprises will push processing and analysis of data to the edge of the network in order to cut data ingestion costs and reduce network latency. It will become increasingly unacceptable for an IoT platform to only have services at the core of the network. The expense of supporting both edge and core with a consistent programming and analytical model will pressure all but the most committed of IoT platform providers to reduce their ambitions or exit the market over the next 3 years.