In these challenging times, normal is not normal anymore. But this is not necessarily bad. In 2021, many companies and organizations have scrambled to adapt to the COVID-19 crisis. Now, as vaccines allow us to look at the future with a little more optimism, industries push to resume operations, and invest in technologies that drive them to the path of sustainable recovery. The Internet of Things (IoT) is particularly well positioned on the starting grid. Fasten your seat belts.
Today, about any device we use in our lives can be connected. So, the number of “things” that continually collect data to be analyzed in order to improve products or services has broaden up. Fortune Business Insights says that there are more than 21 billion sensors connected worldwide and that the IoT industry is now valued at more than $300 billion. Moreover, this figure is likely to continue growing for years to come.
In fact, according to the IoT Use Case Adoption Report 2021, 79% of organizations are planning to invest into at least one IoT project in the coming two years. That means IoT use is set to accelerate in 2022, mainly thanks to projects in Asia-Pacific, says the study.
The businesses that are keen on hopping onto the IoT bandwagon have to do with healthcare, fitness and emergency services, retail checkout and payments, logistics and delivery, security, or autonomous vehicles. The fact that most of them have experienced an increasing demand during the pandemic is not a coincidence. Convenience is king. Autonomous vehicles are another matter. In the current climate emergency scenario, what will their role be if they’re not shared and electric? Be as it may, the IoT sector seems in fairly good health as companies are reevaluating their supply and distribution strategies.
“We have all talked about the potential of IOT for many years, but it feels like more and more organizations are adopting IOT to their everyday working practices. They move from pilot projects to deployments at scale mostly due to the benefits that have been proven through successful pilots. Reduced unplanned downtime, decreased energy usage, increased quality and yield are all metrics that organizations need to focus on”, says Stuart Bashford, Chief Digital Officer at Bühler Group and announced speaker in the IOT Solutions World Congress 2022.
“The pandemic has caused economic struggles to many organizations at a time where they look to be more efficient. IoT technologies can be where they turn to provide a step-change productivity. Why invest serious CAPEX expenditure to build a new line, when you could increase the productivity of all existing lines using IoT?,” adds Buhler’s CDO.
Similarly, Marc Rocas, Innovation, Strategy professor and Consultant from Barcelona, thinks that “IoT is one of the sectors with the highest growth projections in the coming years.” He envisages an extension of its applications.
“With the introduction of 5G, we will see how its application extends to sectors beyond mobility or agriculture. It is an excellent opportunity for companies that work as integrators, managing the fleet of devices, maintenance, and other services in exchange for a fee,” he adds.” “That will enable SMEs, which often don’t have the necessary technical knowledge, to benefit from it. The data provided by IoT is a source of value that today represents a cost of opportunity and that, once enjoyed, will be indispensable,” the expert states.
Forrester Research echoes this sentiment. It points out that the demand for sustainability-related services powered by IoT will grow in 2022 for energy efficiency and resource management, say air quality or CO2 levels monitoring, water or electricity management and supply chain processes.
No need to say that the global chip shortage that reared its head this year will impact the IoT market in 2022. It would be naïve to think otherwise. In fact, Forrester also predicts that it will inhibit the IoT market growth by 10 to 15%. Yet we live in a time where things can change in the twinkling of an eye.
What is really necessary, says consultant Marc Rocas, is “to think about how to protect consumers’ privacy when collecting massive data and information to process, and how the gathered data will be available as open and public information, especially from public entities.” Blockchain could help alleviate these security concerns. There are several examples of that in the transportation sector. However, the cost of moving from an old infrastructure to a new one is still a stopper for companies, especially SMEs.
Furthermore, Bühler Group CDO Stuart Bashford stresses that “we cannot forget about security in all of this as increased connectivity also increases your threat surface, so we can also expect more OT security solutions (IT as well, although this is already a well serviced) to protect plant equipment, hardware and networks from malicious actors.”
Change is always hard. Different stakeholders will need to work together to implement standards of safety and security so that the sector can grow. There seems to be no way around this as the new normal equals more connectivity around communication and collaboration.
The IOT Solutions World Congress will be discussing the above-mentioned issues and debating how to build the roadmap to solve some of the world’s most pressing, economic, environmental, and social challenges by displaying game-changing technologies that create a competitive advantage. The event will be back in Barcelona the 10-12 May 2022 in case you want to block off these dates…
By ANNA SOLANA.