By 2020, it’s estimated there will be over 30 billion IoT devices. As the popularity of the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to rise across industries, it's important to take note of which trends could affect your business.

IoT will affect every industry, from retail to healthcare. As a marketer, you'll want to stay informed on the upcoming trends to know which ones can help you achieve sustainable, long-term growth, and which ones are more hype than substance.Unlock tips, systems & recommended resources to stay ahead of the tech curve.While there are numerous trends emerging in the IoT world today, let's take a look at the seven we believe will most affect consumers and businesses in 2018.

1. Smart devices will become more commonplace.

In 2018, smart home systems and devices are going to become increasingly connected, and much more common. Don't be surprised if next time your neighbor invites you to dinner, he grills your chicken with a smart device, or turns on the lights in his house using voice command.

If you've been curious about creating your own smart home, this is your year to do it -- by 2020, the consumer electronics industry is expected to exceed 2 trillion dollars, doubling in value since 2014. Today, smart devices can do a lot more than you might realize, including vacuuming your floors or acting as your home security system. As the popularity of smart devices continues to grow, so will the scope and quality of the products.

If you're ready to dip your toes into the IoT consumer pool, take a look at "The 11 Best Smart Home Devices & Systems of 2018".

2. IoT in the healthcare industry will grow.

According to research from Frost and Sullivan, the Internet of Medical Things industry is expected to reach $72 billion by 2021. Within the past few years, we've seen vast improvements in healthcare as the industry has implemented connected devices.

In 2018, the healthcare and IoT partnership is stronger than ever. Patients are now able to wear IoT health monitors or devices and use virtual assistants to monitor their health at home. These devices allow doctors to remotely check blood sugar levels or heart monitors, and take preventative action if necessary. Additionally, smart cars can keep track of a patient's vitals in-transit.

In hospitals, connected devices can help professionals track products from factory to floor, manage resources, and monitor equipment to prevent critical hardware from breaking. Plus, sensors on hospital beds help reduce wait times by providing information regarding when and where a bed is available.

3. There will be increased security concerns.

As the popularity of IoT devices continues to rise, so will security risks -- in fact, IBM reported that criminal IoT compromises have exploded by 600% since 2017. Unfortunately, in the race to release the coolest new IoT products, most companies put security on the back-burner.

IoT devices often don't come equipped with the kind of security features you have on your computer -- in 2018, this will begin to change. Manufacturers will need to start taking measures to ensure consumers' data and privacy are safe, or they'll fall behind in the industry.

If you want to learn more, check out "IoT Security: Why Experts Are Scared -- And What You Can Do to Protect Yourself".

4. More marketers will use IoT.

In 2018, you'll see an increase in connected devices used in marketing campaigns. As IoT shifts to mobile-first, and as more products hit the market, marketers will begin testing different opportunities to advertise using smart devices. 

A few early adopters have already begun integrating IoT into their marketing campaigns. For instance, Diageo, a leader in the alcohol industry, created an IoT campaign by embedding a QR code onto their whisky bottles for Father's Day 2012 -- when a bottle of whisky was received, fathers could scan the QR code to receive a personalized message from their son or daughter.

Additionally, in India, Allen Solly used IoT to connect social media hashtags with an interactive billboard. When a user tweeted #RainingSolly, they had a chance to win a shirt off the billboard.

Along with campaigns, IoT gives companies a chance to create more marketable products. For instance, General Motors used IoT to create a marketplace in their new cars, so drivers can order Starbucks coffee straight from the car's dashboard. Uber and Spotify, meanwhile, have teamed up to create a more enjoyable and cohesive experience for their riders.

5. There will be an increase in edge computing.

As the popularity and function of IoT increases across industries, we're going to see an influx of data-related challenges regarding bandwidth, network speed, and more. To combat these issues, you'll notice an increase in edge computing, which essentially means processing and analytics on the IoT device itself, rather than using the cloud.

An example of a product using edge computing is the Nest Cam IQ indoor security camera, which uses on-device processing tools to distinguish faces and send alerts if someone doesn't look familiar. Other IoT security cameras rely on the cloud for processing, but Nest's product sets itself apart as one that operates on less bandwidth and storage. Additionally, on-device processing can improve the speed and precision of alerts, making Nest's product more accurate than other devices in the market.

By 2020, it's predicted IT spend on edge infrastructure will reach 18% of the total budget on IoT infrastructure. This year, we're going to see the beginning of this shift.

6. You'll see more IoT in retail.

There will be numerous IoT-related benefits in the retail industry alone in 2018, including automated checkout, smart shelves, and robot employees.

IoT devices can help retail owners and employees reduce inventory error and optimize supply chain management. Additionally, IoT makes the shopping experience easier for the customer. For instance, store scanners will allow shoppers to skip the checkout line, and beacons can send alerts about discounts to a shopper's smartphone.

While IoT in retail is a long way off from being pervasive, we'll begin to see these changes in a few major retail stores, like Target or Macy's.  

Take a look at "7 Ways IoT Is Changing Retail in 2018" to learn more.

7. IoT will become more mobile-friendly.

In the early days of IoT, many devices were built primarily for desktop. In 2018 we'll see a shift towards mobile-first and mobile-friendly IoT products. Since mobile now takes the lead over desktop, it makes sense for developers to begin creating more mobile-first IoT devices.

As IoT grows into the mobile space, we're going to see consumer behavior change. Soon, consumers will expect a supplementary IoT experience from their favorite brands, such as in-store personalized discounts. To deepen your customer's loyalty to your brand as IoT becomes increasingly popular, you'll want to make sure your business is able to offer IoT solutions or integrations. 

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Originally published Sep 12, 2018 7:00:00 AM, updated December 16 2019


Internet of Things