Forrester: Key IoT trends to watch in 2019

Michele Pelino/Forrester Research

Business stakeholders and CIOs in both B2B and B2C environments are planning and deploying internet-of-things (IoT) solutions to power digital transformation initiatives to revolutionize customer relationships, enhance operations, and differentiate products.

This IoT deployment momentum brings with it challenges as firms must identify strategies and methods to secure, manage, and support the rapidly growing number of smart, connected IoT devices and solutions.

Forrester has released its annual predictions for the IoT in 2019. Below are some of the highlights:

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The vision of a “smart” home as one integrated system is failing. The “connected” value built into the devices and associated services is too narrow and siloed: They don’t work together easily or create magical experiences. Furthermore, vendors struggle to lure consumers into paying ongoing subscriptions.

In 2019, we’ll see players such as utilities, insurance, and grocery and food companies offer subscription offerings such as Verizon’s Hum, an automobile service that blends roadside assistance, maintenance monitoring, and driver monitoring using two in-car devices for $20 per month -- eschewing the upfront IoT device costs. 

IoT platforms to proliferate

No single IoT platform - whether it be Amazon Web Services’, Microsoft’s Azure IoT Suite, or any of the host of others - will be able to meet all the diverse technical and business requirements of connected products and business processes. Enterprise architects will give up on the idea of choosing one industrial IoT platform to manage across all the fleets, machinery, and buildings in their firms.

As a result, we’ll see IoT (but not cloud) platform vendors narrow their focus on specific use cases and tout their APIs and capabilities for integration with enterprise applications, analytics, and security management. However, these two hyperscale clouds will continue to feverishly compete to be the destination for other IoT platforms, in addition to refining their own.

In 2019, we expect each to deliver IoT platform partnership announcements to expand and improve the use cases they serve. We also expect Google to be more aggressive, too, not by acquisition but by courting similar partnerships.

Cybercriminals to lay siege to smart cities

Cities are becoming “smart” to increase operational efficiency and improve the quality of services, but many are failing to secure connected devices, sensors, and communication infrastructure -- and to assure citizen privacy.

In March 2018, a ransomware attack crippled the city of Atlanta for days and cost taxpayers close to $17 million, even after city employees received warnings on several occasions that their systems were vulnerable.

In 2019, more targeted ransomware attacks against vulnerable components of smart-city implementations will cause disruptions to citizen services and will force cities to invest in cybersecurity defenses to minimize the risk of further attacks.

Rise of IoT managed services

Planning, assessment, implementation, and IoT platform service offerings to help firms deploy IoT solutions across many different vertical markets and use cases are currently dominating the IoT services market.

In 2019, we’ll see the emergence of an IoT “run” market to help manage, monitor, and operate the fragmented array of IoT devices, networks, and assets. These offerings will target the ever-expanding array of smart products as well as the networks and platforms that enable IoT solutions. IoT stakeholders, primarily in the manufacturing, healthcare, retail, and utilities markets, will sign several $100 million-plus contracts with outsourcing providers for “run” offerings.

Michele Pelino  is principal analyst at Forrester Research

This article first appeared on Forrester Research website. To understand the 14 major dynamics that will impact firms next year,  download Forrester’s Predictions 2019 guide.

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