It doesn’t take a crystal ball to guess that 2020 is going to be a great year for the Internet of Things. More applications, more creative products, and faster data speeds can mean more opportunities for people to enjoy themselves and businesses better serve customers. These predictions come courtesy of futurist Jason Hope, an entrepreneur, and technology expert, who expects a rapid rise in the adoption of interconnected products this year and beyond.
IoT as a Utility
IoT can be a game-changer in the home, business, even healthcare, and there are plenty of possibilities for innovation, including:
- Smart homes and buildings. Homeowners will continue to seek ways to connect their appliances and other parts of their lives. This interest, combined with useful products, can mean items like refrigerators will alert the homeowner or store when certain foods like eggs are low. Business owners can also use IoT to better track inventory and equipment, handy in larger busy places like warehouses or manufacturing centers.
IoT as an Efficiency Tool
Besides convenience and safety, IoT applications can improve efficiency, project management, and even safety, such as new ‘smart’ fire alarms from Nest that sense dangerous situations.
- Better care. Internet of Things can lead to innovations in healthcare, especially patient monitoring. Alivecor’s products, for instance, can track heart status, and other brands make it easier to detect changes in blood pressure, blood sugar and even oxygen levels for people with sleep apnea.
IoT in Healthcare
Hope believes that the healthcare industry can use IoT to offer better care, improve outcomes and provide lower costs. Better monitoring and more connected medical devices can provide a better picture of each patient.
But there are some limitations: doctors will have better access to patient records and even more thorough population data. But this needs to balanced by a focus on privacy and compliance with electronic patient record-keeping laws.
- Greater security risks. Patient records are only the beginning of the data that could lead to discovery or exploitation by cybercriminals. Whether it’s individual opportunities or organized criminal organizations, there are plenty of people seeking vulnerabilities or ways to exploit systems. Hope said criminals can potentially attack connected devices, or use compromised devices to breach larger networks. Fear of intrusion, however, could actually lead to more interest in security and privacy products.
- Municipal interest. Jason Hope is seeing more local governments discover interesting usages for the Internet of Things, everything from keeping track of equipment, books, even parking meter activity. It also can help collect data to see what services are being offered or not offered to different population segments.
- AI influence. Advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning can help businesses and researchers collect more data. Hope said one easy example is for smart homes to start ‘knowing’ optimal levels at home throughout the day. He specified metrics such as temperature, brightness, food, and music needs and more. Using past data, it will always be adjusting.
- 5G arrival. This service was initially promised in 2019. We saw it delivered to a few test markets. But 2020 is when many wireless carriers are expected to greatly expand their networks. 5G offers higher speeds, faster transfers, lower latency, and better connectivity. It is also expected to lead to an increase in phone purchases. Many consumers put off upgrades until their community is wired.
Overall, Jason Hope sees plenty of potential in 2020 and beyond as IoT expands into more business sectors.
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