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What’s Next for the IoT in 2019? Seven Predictions by Alice Gillam

As hard as it may be to believe, in under two weeks it will be 2019. As the new year approaches we’re gazing into our crystal ball and squinting at our tea leaves, hoping to see what will happen next year. The IoT moves rapidly and, come December 2019, this list will probably look woefully misguided as the coming year twists and turns in ways no one predicted. However, for now, before I’m proved unequivocally wrong, here are my predictions for 2019.

1. Getting Serious About IoT Security

a security camera, surveillance impacts on our privacy

An awareness that the repercussions of IoT data breaches will reach far beyond IoT devices will grow. IoT security has ramifications far beyond the IoT world. Currently, many consumers decide to buy products based on cost rather than security functionality. After all, they may reason, this is only a smart thermostat or a fancy pedometer, what do I care if it’s hacked? Better to pay less and simply throw it away if its security is breached.

DDoS attacks like Mirai prove that this is untrue. Hackers hijacked huge numbers of connected devices and used them to attack servers, shutting down sites like Spotify, Reddit, the New York Times and Wired.

Many IoT devices don’t have the capacity for sufficient security. They don’t have the power to process traditional firewalls or anti-malware and often aren’t able to manage software updates. Our security solution, Pod Protect, works on your network and filters data, allowing healthy network traffic to pass through, and alerting you to anything suspicious. Because it is on the network even legacy IoT devices can be protected.

It must be kept in mind that it is not just the IoT device that you are buying and using that is at risk if its security is subpar. It is every single connected device in the world that may pay the price. That smart refrigerator with a hardcoded, easily guessable password doesn’t seem so harmless when you take that into account. In 2019 consumers and governments will begin to take note and we may see laws about the minimum necessary level of security being drafted.

2. Privacy Laws Increase

deleting facebook

In reaction to the hearings of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and revelations around Cambridge Analytica and election tampering the public has a growing awareness of privacy issues and how their data is being used without their informed consent. This increased pressure will lead to more countries passing legislation around privacy.

It may also lead to people being more selective about what, if anything, they choose to share about themselves online. Already, social media is less popular with ‘Generation Z’. The number of Facebook users aged 18 to 24 in Britain was expected to decrease by 1.8% in 2018. We predict this trend will continue in 2019.

3. Smart Healthcare Will Kick up a Gear

a laptop and a stethoscope

Many industrialized nations have an aging population. This comes with numerous problems, including the high cost of healthcare and a deficit of home care workers.

With many more people now living with chronic illnesses and an increase in degenerative mental disorders such as Alzheimer’s medication compliance is a growing problem.

Connected healthcare devices can improve the quality of life of people with chronic illnesses. It can enable elderly or unwell people to continue living independently. Connected healthcare devices can measure a wealth of different metrics using ingestible sensors, connected pacemakers, and glucose monitors. These devices will allow a doctor or relative to confirm whether someone has taken their medication and whether their blood pressure or glucose levels are within acceptable parameters at a distance.

Some are predicting that by the end of 2019 87% of healthcare organizations will have adopted IoT technology.

4. Edge Computing Will Become Widely Deployed

Golden Gate bridge in the fog

The use of edge computing, which allows decisions to be taken much closer to the device or even on the device (and therefore faster) will rise. A low latency rate will be particularly important for applications like self-driving cars. It also has benefits for IoT security.

According to a study conducted by IDC, by 2020 45% of all data created by IoT devices will be stored, processed, analyzed and acted upon close to or at the edge of a network.

5. Smart Neighborhoods

paper lanterns

Although there’s been a lot of excitement around smart cities the complications of upgrading or replacing legacy infrastructure and the limited budgets of most municipal authorities means that we have yet to see widespread deployment.
In 2019 we can expect to start seeing smart neighborhoods appearing here and there. Smart neighborhood projects have already sprung up in Toronto, Barcelona, and Denver. In the future, these patchwork deployments may begin to join up into smart cities but, for now, this is the most we can expect.

6. Privacy Issues, Again

graffiti that says, 'Big data is watching you'

Issues around the ownership of data will come hand in hand with the rise in connected city infrastructure. Until now smart devices have mostly collected data from those who have bought the device, tacitly agreeing for their data to be collected. However, when it comes to smart city infrastructure there is no such agreement. Surely a city won’t be able to assume that we agree for our personal data to be recorded simply because we have chosen to live in a certain area?

What’s more, for those well versed in the literature of George Orwell and Aldous Huxley, the idea of our government collecting personal information may be rather alarming, whatever good intentions they espouse. Expect to see protests and legal battles over connected cities.

Privacy expert, Dr. Ann Cavoukian, left a consulting role at Toronto’s Sidewalks Labs project to “send a strong statement” about data privacy issues in the project.

Some are also concerned that this rise in connected cities will come with an increase in threats from cybercriminals, particularly if it doesn’t come hand in hand with an increase in IoT security.

7. More Companies Will Move to a Subscription-Based Model

blank notebook

With lower upfront costs and promises of ongoing support, a subscription-based model could tempt some wary customers into trying smart products. Add to that the decline in ownership and the rise of the sharing economy and we’ll definitely see more companies offering a subscription-based model for their products.

One of the benefits of this model will be better quality and more secure products coming to market. When companies rely on recurring revenue and are responsible for maintaining and updating the device, they have more of an incentive to produce a quality product rather than rushing something substandard to market so they can obtain a one-off payout.

A subscription-based product which you can’t easily and effectively bill for is worthless. Find out about Pod Billing, our easy-to-use hierarchical IoT billing platform. It allows you to bill and manage infinite subsidiary accounts with custom invoicing at every stage.

Check Out Our Roundup of What Happened in the World of IoT in 2018.