Nerdery: Four vertical sectors primed for IoT expansion (Reader Forum)
Global IoT spending is predicted to reach $745 billion this year, a 15 per cent increase over 2018 – and this double-digit acceleration is expected to continue.
Growth can be attributed in part to the manufacturing behind core IoT technologies. Processing speeds have increased, physical size has decreased and costs have dropped. Barriers to adoption have also been broken – senior leadership teams understand the value of IoT to their core businesses, and millennials, who grew up immersed in technology, are moving into key decision-making roles.
The most impactful business changes will emerge at the intersection of IoT and artificial intelligence (AI). As smarter, learning-oriented systems gain more data, more meaningful analysis will be generated, ultimately creating better-informed business decisions and employees. This complexity will come hand-in-hand with more opportunities for emerging third parties to provide managed IoT services platforms.
Here are the top four industries where IoT will make the biggest waves in 2019, with implementation and learnings serving as a primer for the future of IoT.
Healthcare will be one of the most meaningful areas of growth for IoT in 2019, due in no small part to the breadth of stakeholders it affects. Providers have a clear set of goals attached to IoT enablement: improving cost, quality and population health, both for inpatient and outpatient care. Embedded digital tools like catheters and timers are already being piloted to mitigate infection risk around replaceable medical instruments.
Meanwhile, smart threads and patch sensors track everything from cardiac readouts to body chemistry and sleep patterns. At the Cleveland Clinic, for example, remote device monitoring allows patients to maintain a follow-up schedule for their consistent defibrillators or pacemakers without the hassle of visiting a doctor’s office.
Among payers, IoT presents a pathway to better population risk management and reimbursement rate adjustments. It also will allow long-term care facilities to negotiate better rates by leveraging sensor data that supports the mitigation of fall risk and infection likelihood. Wearable consumer fitness devices also are being leveraged by insurers to identify members who take steps to actively change their individual risk.
IoT technologies supporting patient medication adherence, along with IoT devices that communicate with electronic health records (EHRs), will bring both parties together toward a shared goal of major cost-savings and health improvement.
Discrete and process manufacturing are expected to be the world’s biggest IoT spenders in 2019 at a predicted $119 billion and $78 billion, respectively. Their budgets largely will be focused on solutions that support operations and production asset management.
Manufacturers will increasingly look to leverage IoT to bring whole facilities online as fully connected factories, warehouses and distribution centers. End uses for this data include pilot programs around blockchain ecosystems that improve production and tracking. Whole facilities can leverage AI’s learning capacity in their quest to moderate energy consumption and improve efficiency by identifying hidden trends in production data.
Despite well-founded hesitations around driverless car technology, IoT and its real-time data will continue to shape the relationship between users and traditionally driven (and driverless) vehicles. A vehicle’s display panel is the most obvious example of basic IoT dashboarding, but typical engine, oil and gas tank indicators haven’t really evolved in decades.
That’s about to dramatically change. While just 35 per cent of new cars sold in 2015 were connected to the internet, nearly 98 percent of cars sold in 2020 will be connected. Not only will more of the indicators mentioned above be available in dashboard readouts, but they will interact more actively with users’ phones (and concierge voice apps), making the total management, control and overall inner workings of a vehicle immediately available. When it comes to external infrastructure, IoT will allow fleets of vehicles to communicate with smart grids about traffic conditions and accidents.
MUNICIPAL / PUBLIC
Federal and local governments are expected to be among the sectors with the fastest IoT compound annual growth rate during the next five years, at 16 percent annually. Like healthcare, there are innumerable ways IoT can be applied in the public sector.
Future-looking cities will look to increase their IoT usage beyond popular water and electrical smart grid implementations that have appeared in the past decade. AI-driven grid management will manage systems proactively as alternative energy is woven into communities.
More local initiatives will connect residents with their surroundings, redefining smart cities as also being comprised of smart neighborhoods. In cities like Atlanta and Toronto, governments are investing in IoT connectivity to help residents engage with local traffic, school buses, outages, walkability, weather or trash collection, among others.
The question no longer remains if IoT is relevant to any particular sector, but when key players in that area will choose to harness its power. Future-minded leaders will learn from others, take risks and pioneer new ways of harnessing the power of IoT to increase efficiency, profit and quality of life.