The Internet of Things in 2016: A focus on services

2015 was another year of huge growth for the Internet of Things (IoT). At Jasper, we’re now working with more than 2,700 companies from 20+ industries around the world to enable them to successfully deliver innovative services via the IoT. From this unique position, we have both a broad and deep view of the ways different businesses are bringing IoT to life, launching, managing, and monetizing services delivered via connected devices in a constantly evolving and unpredictable environment. When a device or ‘thing’ is connected, businesses can enhance customer relationships with ongoing delivery of connected services that add value to the customer and create new revenue channels for both the customer and the business.

The Internet of Service

With this idea in mind, I believe that 2016 will see the industry play down the importance of the number of devices connected by IoT, and instead focus on the variety of new experiences and services those connected devices enable. Analyst firm IDC recently echoed this belief in its IoT device count forecast, stating that many of the devices installed will be “driving the development of more than 200,000 new IoT apps and services”. The true benefit of IoT is not in the number of connected things, but in the value of the services that are enabled by connectivity. The number of IoT-enabled devices could hit anywhere between 15 and 50 billion next year, but the measure that matters most will be the quality, variety and usefulness of IoT-enabled experiences.

Connected Cars

In 2016, a significant number of new connected devices will be cars. In fact, the number of connected cars rolling off production lines worldwide has begun to eclipse the number of unconnected cars. In the US for example, it has been predicted that that this will be the first year when the majority of new vehicles produced in the US will have embedded connectivity. This is following a growing trend, marked in 2015 by the announcement by GM that all of its new vehicles in the US would ship with 4G-LTE embedded. While the ratio of connected cars to unconnected ones will vary by country, the growth is likely to lead to connected cars representing the norm for new vehicles produced worldwide in the next few years.

LPWAN

Low Power Wireless Area Network (LPWAN) technologies will not come of age in 2016. LPWAN technologies have great potential but are still in their infancy, and I predict they will not enjoy widespread deployment and adoption in 2016. Instead, the LPWAN market will become a hotbed for partnerships, consolidation and marketing wars to determine which LPWAN technology and implementations will be victorious.

Categorization

As we move into 2016 and the IoT market continues to mature, we will see definition and clarification on what it means to be an ‘IoT platform.’ In 2015, the popularity of IoT gave rise to the ‘IoT platform’ label. The term was co-opted by nearly every provider trying to enter the IoT solutions market or quickly establish relevance in this hot space. In the coming year, the market will demand a greater distinction from those who claim to be IoT platform providers, and require explanation of the problems their services solve and how they are making it easier to launch, manage and monetize IoT.

With more than a decade of experience, Jasper carefully defines the capabilities of our IoT service platform, Control Center. A cloud-based platform built specifically to enable IoT services, Control Center optimizes and automates every stage of the IoT service lifecycle, enabling companies to get the most out of their devices, networks and applications. Across the board, we will begin to see providers implementing alternative terminology that further defines these differentiated offerings, such as ‘IoT application development’ and ‘IoT analytics management.’

Security

Finally, security concerns around connected devices will continue to grow and garner media and consumer attention. In fact, security is set to be at the forefront of IoT in 2016. Many enterprises and consumers are wary of trusting the cloud with their data at a time when cyber criminals are increasingly innovative. It follows that the providers who can help enterprises both deliver and secure connected services will be the most successful in 2016.

Macario Namie, VP Strategy, Jasper

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