How will the IoT and the edge evolve within the next year, and how might businesses leverage these changes?
Edge security will become a major focus
As with any evolving technology, it is crucial that security methods change and improve with it, and the edge is no exception. So it perhaps isn’t surprising that some experts are predicting a major focus on it in 2020, particularly when it comes to sensors in autonomous vehicles.
Jasmit Sagoo, senior director and head of technology UK&I at Veritas, said: “IoT-connected sensors embedded in the body of a vehicle can stream accurate, real-time updates of the vehicle’s geolocation to overhead satellites, which in turn send back instructions that help the vehicle complete its route.
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“Once the message is received it has no further value and can be promptly deleted. However, the simple act of receiving the information ensures the vehicle and its passengers get to their destination in the quickest and safest way possible.
“Crucial decisions will increasingly be made off the back of this temporary data. That’s enough to make it a tantalising target for cybercriminals interested in causing trouble or holding businesses to ransom.
“We’re very focused at the moment on moving our data to the edge, but our attention will turn very quickly to ensuring its resilience. Operators will respond either by building a large number of secondary edge sites to keep their critical services and applications available, or by using the centralised network as a backup.”
Companies will utilise time-stamped data
Also expected to be utilised by many autonomous vehicles in 2020 is time-stamped data. This, according to Evan Kaplan, CEO of InfluxData, is not only because of the expansion of IoT, but also due to the growing trend of software instrumentation.
“Smart cars and internet-connected machines are starting to produce huge volumes of time-stamped data that companies need to collect and analyse, while new software monitoring and measuring strategies have created enormous logs of events that need similar treatment,” said Kaplan.
“These trends account for the largest portion of data growth today – and the data from these sources always has a core element of time that is crucial to any meaningful analysis.
“Many enterprises will realise they need a specific strategy for time series data to glean the full value of its business potential.”
MQTT will become the de facto messaging protocol for IoT
IoT devices are currently known to use one of a few messaging protocols, such as XMPP, AMQP and DDS.
“Fragmentation has been a barrier to progress in IoT since the very beginning,” said Stacey, “and messaging protocol is one area where standardisation would be massively beneficial.
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“MQTT has been around for over 25 years, but has gained momentum recently thanks to the onset of IoT.
“Simplicity and low-power efficiency, combined with comprehensive MQTT QoS, make it the ideal standard for IoT.
“MQTT-SN will also come to the fore. Extra features added to MQTT for the purpose of relaying data from sensor networks will allow for IoT devices to use even less power to send messages.”
Fragmentation will increase due to a rise in networks
While the language of IoT may become more standardised within the next year, the amount of networks that are now available could mean an increase in fragmentation for the space.
This is another prognosis suggested by Thingstream’s Lee Stacey.
“The evolution of 5G networks, NB-IoT and a bevy of unlicensed band networks means that there are more ways than ever to get data from the device to the enterprise,” he said.
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“While this creates flexibility, making IoT possible just about everywhere on the planet, it also makes things more complicated.
“For this reason, tried-and-tested connectivity solutions where the hard work has already been done will win the day.
“But with more 5G IoT devices connecting directly to the 5G network rather than via a Wi-Fi router, will this make those devices more vulnerable to direct attack? Security will continue to offer up a myriad of challenges.”
Industrial IoT will begin to outdo consumer IoT
Thingstream’s product evangelist continued by predicting that IoT within industry will finally get out of its rut of employee mistrust and minimal technological progression.
“The number of consumer devices has been growing steadily for a few years, but industrial IoT has until now been relatively slow on the uptake.
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“Until now, IIoT has been held up by a combination of a lack of suitable technology and trust in IoT as a whole. Important business processes such as asset tracking, data gathering and new business modelling, to name but a few, will see enhancement through the introduction of IoT infrastructure.
“The past year has seen many advances in IoT technology, particularly in security and availability of technology. These advances will be the trigger for many IIoT networks to move from concept to reality.”
The Internet of Things will become ‘Intelligent Things’
As smart devices become more and more mainstream in homes, it may only be a matter of time before these all become one collaborative system.
While the home wasn’t connected in a day, this concept could become a reality within the next year, and AI would have a part to play.
“For years, there has been much talk of the revolution of IoT and the resulting interconnectedness of smart home technology,” said Jon Wrennall, CTO at Advanced. “Now that bigger companies such as Google, Amazon, Samsung and Apple are involved, I expect to see major advancements in the next 12 months.
“Existing IoT devices will evolve and support a new phase of digital business. They will start to become smart-by-default and companies will battle to be the hub – or central controlling service – to which everything else connects, becoming very sticky and aggregating all the valuable data in the process.
“Intelligent things, seamlessly controlling and optimising our environment and systems, gathering data at every stage, will come together with digital platforms, process automation and artificial/augmented intelligence to power the next wave of innovation.”
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Edge computing will be in mainstream use within enterprise IT
While the cloud is currently a popular method of data storage for many, for those dealing in enterprise data, the edge may become more preferable.
“The first-generation model of centralised cloud computing and storage has now run its course, and most of the new opportunities for enterprise data management reside at the edge.
“Consider that a growing volume of enterprise data is created in branch offices, on mobile devices and by IoT-enabled smart devices. Gartner estimates that in five years, 75% of data generated and processed by enterprises will exist at the edge rather than in the traditional centralised data centre or cloud.
“Such data growth outside the data centre is the new reality, and it is creating a need for enterprises to deploy computing power and storage capabilities at the network edge, or in other words, edge computing.”