The IoT in 2017: What’s coming our way next year?
Without hyperbole you could say that 2016 has been one of the most eventful years in recent memory. While bigger events on the world stage command much of the media’s attention, there has been plenty of progress this year within the Internet of Things – and there’s more to come. Here, we round up some of the exciting things that could be coming our way in IoT technology and development in the next 12 months.
Beacons: The natural successor to QR codes, beacons might take off in 2017. It’s an idea that is maturing with the public and even if many people haven’t heard the term before, everyone knows a push notification when they see one. 2017 could be the year that brands jump on the beacon bandwagon before it gets too heavy to roll, reaping the rewards as early(ish) adopters of Near Field Communication. Who doesn’t want to target consumers with a message they want about a product they care about at a time when they want to buy it? Beacons could be the ultimate CRM enabler.
Security: Everyone will be forced to pay more attention to the details of IoT security. Companies that will grow will be the ones that the public trusts with its data (and thus its time and its money). How do you earn and keep that trust? Through honesty, transparency and investment in tech. In a socially networked world, every company has to work a bit harder: Constant contact; a responsive social team; under-promising and over-delivering. These are the ways a company can gain the trust of the market, backed up by solid data security, which will result in great customer retention for your business and more public buy-in for the Internet of Things as a whole.
Fashion: With Project Jacquard, a partnership that fashion and tech titans Levis and Google improved on in 2016, it’s clear there’s unlimited scope for smart clothing to fly in 2017. What’s interesting about Project Jacquard is that it works using a new blend of fabric. Rather than just embedding sensors into the lining of a jacket for example, (although there is plenty of that happening too), the fabric IS the sensor: conductive thread woven into the denim. It’s an overused term in the tech world, but ‘seamless’ is appropriate here. Expect other innovators to follow suit in 2017, if you will.
Transport: SatNav integration, parking sensors, rain-sensitive windscreen wipers, keyless ignition. These are all well established in automotive. The exciting stuff in 2017 will be what takes place around the car as much as what takes place in it, and explains why it really is all about the ecosystem when it comes to the Internet of Things. As we gather more accurate data about our cities, so will the transport experience improve for the individual. More cities will sign up as testbeds for driverless cars, and as we’ve covered before, most manufacturers have a plan for the next five years.
Government and infrastructure: Copenhagen and Helsinki are just two cities from a rapidly growing list that will take on the mantle of ‘smart city’ for 2017. Tracking the ROI of these data-led urban experiments in improving the economy could mean that many more cities will get connected, and quicker.
Apps: They may not be as flashy as the rest of the IoT but smartphone apps are still the best bet for getting the ideas of the IoT to become part of people’s everyday lives. There are 1.5m different apps in the Apple app store, and about 165,000 different ‘mHealth’ apps available across Android and iOS. Next year the health and fitness app market will be worth about $26Bn. Do we need to say more? This is still the way into the IoT for most people.
Blockchain: Bitcoin was just the start of it. Unsurprisingly fintech will be the driver of any progress here, with smart contracts looking likely to be the real-world application of the potential of blockchain. Mortgages, insurance, bonds and other securities (and more) will all get the smart contract treatment in 2017, which will cut down on time, fees and importantly, fraud.
All the upcoming milestones will improve the profile of IoT, which can only be a good thing. Not all will succeed, but all will play a part in progress. Failure is one of the best ways to learn, after all. So as we close out 2016 it’s with a feeling of achievement but also anticipation of all the great stuff to come next year. Perhaps we don’t know how embedded in our lives the Internet of Things already is – especially at this time of year. Hands up who’s getting a drone for christmas? A fitness tracker? Geo-fenced christmas lights?
(c) istock.com/ BlackJack3D / lightkey | Project Jacquard