Let's explore seven predictions for 2020...
1. IoT emerges from the Trough of Despair. IoT projects are often portrayed as the quickest way to get yourself fired. Have you heard the “fact” that three fourths of them fail? In reality, success is the norm. Gartner’s Eric Goodness conducted a poll that 57% are achieving outcomes better than anticipated with only 3% not meeting outcomes. Ian Hughes at 451 Research says around 7% have achieved negative ROI. Either way, we’re talking single digits. Why the turnaround? Better technology for one, but also companies are scoping their projects more appropriately.
2. The pay-per-view business model arrives. Some large industrial customers track millions of data streams. Even a single wind turbine can generate more than 93,000 signals a day. Thus, traditional “by the gigabyte” cloud models don’t work; people may not need all of the data being generated, but they don’t know what they need until later. Some software companies have unleashed programs where customers can store large amounts of data in the cloud, but only pay for what they use.
3. Edge gets a sharper focus. IDC and Gartner now predict that between 40-75% of data may exist outside of cloud data centers. So what is the edge? In a word, an on-premise data center, or at least one that’s within walking distance of your facility. It’s not going to be cost-effective to send everything to the cloud and the need for low latency and resilience in some networks far outweighs the cost of running a local data center. The big difference between the data center you have now (and IT has suggested you phase out) and an edge data center is that there is a higher likelihood that it will be owned and managed by a third party.
4. More stick, less carrot. The International Maritime Organization has mandated that ships reduce the sulfur content in their fuel from today’s 3.5% to pricier ones in the 0.5% range next year. (The average tanker ship can consume 250 tons of bunker fuel a day, my colleague Matt Miller tells me, and fuel can represent 30% to 50% of their operating expenses.) To survive, many will turn to IoT to boost mileage. Onshore refiners, meanwhile, will shift to flex-processing strategies partly enabled by analytics and IoT: by micro-monitoring processes, refiners can more easily change feedstocks.
Power and water utilities are also under more scrutiny. In the US, the Food Safety Modernization Act is prompting IoT investments. The added bonus: once compliance-inspired systems are in, they can be employed for energy efficiency or other IoT applications.
5. Data is the new lettuce, replacing Data is the new oil. Why? Because data wilts fast and you have to wash it before you consume it.
6. Microsegmentation will enter your vocabulary. Break-ins are inevitable. A new wave of research will concentrate on limiting where hackers can go once inside.
7. The wireless war of words begins. 5G. Sigfox. LoRa. Class…discuss.
Michael Kanellos is an IoT analyst with OSIsoft