Tens of billions of IoT devices are currently in operation across the globe, from well-known devices like Amazon’s Echo smart speakers and smartwatches to smart homes regulating our air conditioning and heating.

However, IoT is not only for the consumer. Industry and various businesses already utilise IoT applications. And with the global pandemic still ongoing, expect to see even more connected devices across all sectors in the future.

Which emerging trends in IoT will we see in 2021?

Post summary:

The Internet of Things will grow in 2021

Enthusiasm for IoT devices and connected products appears no signs of slowing down.

According to Statista, the global IoT market is predicted to reach $520 billion next year.

The anticipated IoT device growth is also on the rise. Research from Cisco states there will be 27.1 billion networked devices in 2021. Globally, that will be 3.5 networked devices per person.

Globally, 43% of all networked devices will be mobile-connected by next year.

IoT trends to expect in 2021

Cloud service providers are the most prominent vendors within the IoT space. Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure are two candidates already well established.

2021 will also see the rise in IoT development partnerships. Brands, who not only require cloud transformation will need a hardware partner to ensure IoT devices perform to both consumer and business needs.

Whether those IoT device applications will see use by consumers, businesses or the industry – the common concerns shaping IoT solutions for 2021 include:

  • integration
  • usability
  • security
  • interoperability
  • user safety
  • return on investment (ROI) for the business case

The below IoT industry sector trends are where the quickly expanding opportunities are.

IoT Security

When IoT was first termed, security sector experts warned about the increased risks of connecting so many unsecured devices. With the average person having several connected devices on them, and the home having tens more, it only requires one weakness to attack them all.

For each device connected, presents a vulnerability to attacks. However, attacks on IoT products are usually unsuccessful because IoT does rely on stellar security.

Nevertheless, the use of IoT products are going to continue to grow. In which case, businesses will have to prioritise security over innovation in 2021.

For consumers to adopt more IoT connected products, companies need to implement security by design.

By prioritising security, developers, engineers, and designers can build consumer and business trust for the foreseeable future.

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has shown particular promise, and investment in this sector is expected to climb to $123.9 billion in 2021.

There are numerous applications, distinctly in the area of manufacturing, supply chain management and logistics where applications can

  • allow inventory to be tracked in real-time
  • Tracking yields
  • monitoring downtime
  • digital bill of lading

To do this, IIoT encompasses modern industrial applications, including robotics, heavy machinery, and software-defined production processes.

Also, sensors mounted within the machinery allow for predictive maintenance. It is providing staff with data and concerns for a potential issue before it occurs, reducing machine downtime and possible costs to remedy the situation.

IIoT is empowering manufacturing industries to obtain better production efficiency and reliability.

Predictive Maintenance Analysis

Not only is IIoT causing a rise in predictive maintenance strategies for the manufacturing sector regarding factory machinery.

Predictive maintenance, with the help of IoT, will assist homeowners in getting information regarding any damages or leakages in their houses.

Thus, result in avoiding more disasters whilst ensuring the proper upkeep of the house.

A rise in creative house repairs will see businesses take care of your house issues (like leakages or damages), whether homeowners are present there or not.

IoT in Healthcare

Healthcare is embracing newer technologies to make patient care smarter and more efficient, with many hospitals adopting IoT healthcare technology.

It is not only robot surgeons assisting with hospital procedures; even patients can acquire more personalised treatment and care with the analytic capabilities of IoT.

Although the world is focused on controlling the spread of the coronavirus, others, like heart disease and diabetes, can be preventable with IoT wearables combined with mobile apps.

Health apps remind their users when to take their medication, take a walk, check blood pressure and provide medical readings like those with diabetes.

Even the global pandemic has seen a surge in the use of IoT medical devices. At airports and ports, there is local thermal imaging equipment that screens body temperatures.

Thermal scanners are used to check if the body temperature of a person is higher than the usual. If a high temperature is recorded, they can be transferred to a hospital for timely care or advised to self-isolate.

Automotive IoT

Automotive IoT is witnessing more connected vehicles remain in continuous real-time communication with the surrounding ecosystem.

Connected cars are utilising high-speed mobile connectivity to interact with other vehicles and sensors on the roads and motorways.

This ecosystem of connected transport infrastructure is not only making the driving experience more smooth. Automotive IoT is making driving-assistance systems (ADAS), autonomous driving and V2X (vehicle-to-everything) a reality.

Aerospace IoT

Having better flight predictability means making the aeroplane ready-for-use more efficiently. Maintenance is improved because ground crews can spot potential problems, avoiding engine issues pre and during flight.

Aerospace IoT enables engineers to transform the way they build aeroplane components. Using the same information obtained during the maintenance concerns means that aerospace businesses can make product parts that require less future maintenance.

Aerospace companies and airlines obtain so much data during a single hour, let alone a day, making Aerospace IoT appealing for consolidating and reviewing real-time data.

Airlines can provide more dependable safety, efficiency and reduce cost – invaluable during the current COVID-19 pandemic that has seen most flights grounded.

IoT in Smart Homes

Lighting, cooling and heating take up a considerable chunk of total energy consumption in the city. A significant disadvantage of a traditional lighting system is that it is managed manually.

Even fault inspections are conducted manually, making it very time-consuming and vastly inefficient.

Smart lighting systems that leverage the IoT technology automatically report operability issues due to embedded sensors within them.

These sensors aid homeowners to diagnose the potential issue, or if they have a contract with a business firm who can warn about the concern using predictive maintenance (see the section above).

IoT applications within smart home devices enable homeowners to adjust, or even automate the lighting, heating and cooling systems at their homes, based on usage patterns and energy prices.

Temperature and light fluctuations mean that smart homes can adjust the thermostat, air conditioning or switch lights on and off depending on the time of day.

Agricultural IoT

Agricultural IoT is as vital as any other, given the challenges presented by the world’s rising population, diminishing natural resources and climate change.

Research from Appsforagri indicates that IoT connected devices will skyrocket to 225 million by 2024.

Agricultural IoT has made it possible for farmers to measure the condition of the soil and local environment to improve agricultural yields.

Plus, the use of drone imagery and harvest-to-delivery machinery make it possible to monitor the entire farming process.

Logistics IoT

Within logistics IoT, the most common technology used is GPS. The entire IoT ecosystem containing logistics, shipping and transportation is built around this.

Using cloud technology, businesses can transmit data between road, rail, sea and air fleets and assets. Thus, determining where their shipping fleets are in real-time using satellite-based GPS systems to track their locations.

Combined with a network to communicate location data through a centralised platform; tasks become more automated or performed remotely with the connected vehicles.

Consumer IoT

Consumer IoT trends have seen the most significant growth because of personal IoT devices. Customers crave real-time support, continuous entertainment and expect all their mobile apps to connect and work harmoniously together.

Moreover, integrated & intuitive personal IoT devices eliminate barriers between digital and physical. The interface between the two is being reduced.

Think physical personal devices from smartphones, wearables, fashion items and smart home appliances.

The global pandemic with its governmental lockdowns has seen an increase in personal IoT devices as a form of wellbeing and entertainment, as visits to typical retail places like malls and entertainment venues, have reduced.

Demand is breeding supply.

Emerging IoT technologies are already changing our lives, yet, more challenges need to be faced and handled.

There is a gap between businesses meeting customers needs, and IoT development partners who can fully realise market requirements.

IoT trends for 2021 will see businesses increase their collaboration with IoT development partners. They will need specialist expertise to ensure that IoT solutions will be delivered with maximum efficiency and minimal cost.

Security, safety, interoperability and usability are the critical customer concerns concerning IoT connected products.

When engineering such a product in 2021, companies will need to turn to an expert IoT development partner with enough specialist experience to guarantee the proper level of product development.