1. IoT as a descriptor will begin to disappear
Even toward the end of this year, we saw less and less use of the term ‘IoT’ in favour of more descript ‘connected’ products, devices, wearables, etc. The reason being is that the Internet of Things is a really broad term that actually refers to the full network of IoT devices – not the devices themselves.
When the IoT was first talked about, it was referred to in this way – and as companies began to develop for the IoT it was the best way to describe it. IoT vendors are moving away from that term and focusing more on their specialization, as opposed to the whole ecosystem.
2. Security will continue to dominate conversations
It’s no secret that security breaches this year dominated many IoT conversations. While the most recent security stories focused on older IoT devices like routers and DVRs, it was definitely enough to get the whole industry talking.
While these conversations weren’t enough to shake consumer confidence or affect business decisions to offer connected products, it certainly pushed security up to the top of the priority list.
In 2017, these security concerns will push standards forward and regulations may increasingly pertain to privacy and data sharing. There will also be security solutions introduced specifically for the IoT.
IoT brings with it a whole new set of security challenges and security needs to be purpose-built for it (i.e. you can’t just retrofit current security solutions). This is a big opportunity for competitive differentiation for platform vendors, as well as an opportunity for the entire security industry.
3. Customer experience and engagement will become a lead business driver
Up until now, many companies have focused their IoT initiatives on simply getting a product connected to the internet. It’s trendy, modern and distinctive as a competitive advantage, but it’s so much more than that. And as more and more companies get connected businesses up and running, the true benefits have begun to emerge.
It’s certainly still about revenue, but the difference is how that revenue is coming in. Traditional product companies rely on that initial sale with the hope that customers will continue to upgrade over time.
IoT product companies, on the other hand, rely less on the initial device purchase and more on recurring revenue opportunities, subscriptions, upsell opportunities, etc.
The key to making this happen is providing a killer customer experience and using the device data to better understand the customers’ needs and wants.
Having deeper relationships with customers allows companies to provide a more personalised and delightful customer experience – leading to customer loyalty and additional revenue opportunities.
System integrators will become key partners for the vendor community in 2017. Alexa, or something like it, will emerge as the iPhone of the IoT, and standards will be developed for networking interoperability.