IT providers can expect to see interest in big internet of things (IoT) projects wane in the coming year, with smaller, incremental IoT tools set to become the main focus, according to Technology Business Research (TBR).
“It’s not the beginning of the end for IoT, but the end of the beginning,” BR IoT practice director, John Spooner, said in a paper prepared for the analyst firm’s 2018 Predictions series.
“Vendors and end customers are figuring out what they want from IoT, but immaturity will hold back the market as the supporting technologies still lack interoperability and ease of deployment features.
“We’re settling in for a maturation of vendors and their offerings as well as customers’ ability to consume and leverage IoT/connected operations and connected business solutions. So far, we’ve just been exploring the potential,” he stated.
According to Spooner, the “air will leak out of the IoT hype balloon” in 2018, with the term IoT itself set to lose its valence, as a new way of thinking about outcomes around connected operations and connected business takes hold among businesses and their technology partners.
Spooner suggests this trend is likely to see end customers focus on connected operations for their industry-specific operational functions and connected business tools for their horizontal business functions.
As such, Spooner expects vendors to create solutions that plug into these respective needs and focus on use cases, such as operational controls and maintenance, leading to cost savings.
Vendors are also likely to work towards creating pre-packaged IoT solutions around operations, transportation, logistics and business functions, according to the analyst.
Other trends outlined by Spooner include the increasingly important role of IT in the ultimate adoption of IoT technology among businesses, with tech teams set to make it smoother and more commonplace, while cementing small IoT projects as the steppingstones to achieving business goals.
“Cumulatively, lots of little IoT projects, along with other transformative technologies, will drive incremental transformation for customers,” Spooner said. “Small IoT projects will become door openers for IoT vendors. Vendors will benefit by making slow, steady inroads into corporate IT modernisation and business transformation efforts.”
Spooner also flagged the looming utilisation of artificial intelligence (AI) in IoT, which he expects will begin to increase as more user-friendly analysis tools become available.
Indeed, vendors such as Microsoft are developing tools with which business users can apply AI and machine learning (ML) techniques to IoT-generated data, eschewing the need for data scientists.
“As user-friendly analysis tools become available, utilisation of AI will increase. We liken AI-based and other emerging technology tools to the spreadsheet, which enabled business people to, in effect, write simple programs to analyse data,” Spooner said.