The IoT landscape in 2015 and beyond
With all the hype around the Internet of Things, it’s very easy to dismiss the term as just another trendy catch phrase. But the truth is IoT is very much a commercial reality in Canada as well as around the world.

For some time now, experts in the technology industry has been saying that CIOs and CISOs need to prepare themselves for the flood of data that will be coming from millions and millions of sensors being embedded in all sorts of devices. For many organizations, the day may be sooner than originally expected.
Research firm International Data Corp. (IDC) hosted this month a Web conference titled: IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Internet of Things 2015 Predictions.

IDC defines IoT as a “network of networks of uniquely identifiable end points that communicate without human interaction using IP connectivity be it locally or globally.” The definition differs from that of networking gear vendor Cisco which encompasses human activity in what it calls the Internet of Everything.

“The Internet of Things will give IT managers a lot to think about,” said Vernon Turner, senior vice president of research at IDC. “IoT will drive tough organizational structure changes in companies to allow innovation to be transparent to everyone, while creating new competitive business models and products.”

Here’s a quick look at what IT and business leaders should be looking out for in the coming year:

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Mobile app developer

IoT and the cloud – IDC predicts that within the next five years, 90 per cent of all IoT data will be hosted on service provider platforms as cloud computing reduces the complexity of supporting IoT “Data Blending.”

In Canada, many businesses are finding out that it’s not really that complicated to incorporate IoT deployments into an organization’s operations, according to Tony Olvet, group vice-president of research at IDC Canada.

He said ease of deployment can be attributed to assistance provided by integrators. I fact, recent IDC Canada studies indicate that 24 per cent of IoT platforms and applications are managed by external providers

Mobile app developer

IoT security issues– With thousands, even millions of endpoints connecting to the enterprise network, IoT will certainly come with some security concerns. Most of them will surely be “annoying but not fatal,” says Nigel Wallis, director for vertical markets and new initiatives at IDC Canada.

Within two years, 90 per cent of all IT networks will have an IoT-based security breach, but many will be considered mere “inconveniences.”

That said, chief information security offices (CISOs) will need to adopt new IoT security policies. The big challenge will be securing and ensuring the privacy of information shared across many smart devices, whether they’re servers, sensors or televisions and appliances.

 

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IoT at the edge – Despite the term being used for some time now, many businesses are still in the verge of exploring the potential of the Internet of Things.

For example, 60 per cent of 400 network managers and executives surveyed in the United States and Britain early this year said they are preparing their networks for IoT.
According to IDC, by 2018, 40 per cent of IoT-created data will be stored, processed, analyzed and acted upon are close to, or at the edge of the network.

Business analyst

Networks overwhelmed by IoT– Many organizations are already dealing with machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, for example through video surveillance and identity badge systems.

However, only a small portion of firms are doing anything to their existing networks for IoT-related deployments.

This is about to change.

Within three years, IDC expects 50 per cent of IT networks around the globe will transform from having excess capacity to handle IoT devices to being constrayined with nearly 10 per cent of networks overwhelmed by IoT.
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New business models – At the moment many of the IoT deployments in Canada involve both IT and line of business department that are relatively straightforward.

These projects typically involve deployments meant for asset tracking and security monitoring.

However, IDC foresees that by 2017, 90 per cent of data centres and enterprise systems management will rapidly adopt new business models to manage non-traditional infrastructures and bring-your-own-device categories.
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Vertical diversification – Currently 50 per cent of global IoT activity is focused on manufacturing, transportation, smart city and consumer applications.

IDC predicts that within five years, all industries will have some form of IoT initiative. That’s because IoT has the potential to deliver on what CIOs from almost any industry want – improve productivity, automate tasks and reduce complexity.
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Smart cities – Cisco sees the Internet of Everything as a “$19 trillion global opportunity.”

Many of the activities and initiatives around the IoT in the coming decade will involve various levels of government.

The development of connected or so-called smart cities will be tied to IoT technologies.

Competing to build innovative and sustainable municipalities, local government will make up more than 25 per cent of all government external spending to deploy, manage and realize the business value of IoT by 2018, according to IDC.

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Embedded systems – Computer systems with a dedicated function within a larger mechanical or electrical system will see increasing widespread deployment in the near future.

These embedded systems are already present in many devices commonly used today, but IoT will push their adoption even further. For example, we will see more low power consuming, small sized, rugged and low priced sensors making their way to various devices deployed across different industries.

By 2018, IDC believes, 60 per cent of IT solutions originally developed as proprietary and closed industry solutions will also become open-sourced and will allow a rush to vertical-driven IoT markets.
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Wearables – Wearable devices are hot right now. However, at the moment most wearables require some form of connection to a smart phone in order to deliver the pull potential of its features.

We are approaching, however, a point where IoT technologies can allow wearables to communicate among themselves directly.

Within the next five years as much as 40 per cent of wearables will have evolved into a viable mass market alternative to the smart phone, according to IDC.
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Millennials and IoT – Steeped in technology and poised to create a huge impact on the workplace, millennials are on their way to take over the workforce. Born around the early 1980s and early 2000s and also known as Generation Y, this demographic cohort is being closely watched by many leaders in various industries.

Among the chief characteristics is their fluency and various technologies that are currently shaping a wide swath of life as we know it. Already, numerous large and small companies are altering their IT security and technology policies to cater to demand for access to new devices, social media and collaborative tools in the workplace.

IDC believes that by 2018, 16 per cent of the population will be millennials and that they will accelerate the adoption of IoT.
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Nestor E. Arellano
Toronto-based journalist specializing in technology and business news. Blogs and tweets on the latest tech trends and gadgets.