Five IoT trends to watch for in 2021

Several trends are expected to continue to gather momentum, fueling IoT’s prominence in 2021.
8 December 2020

Five IoT trends to watch for in 2021; Source: Shutterstock

  • Among the emerging technological wonders, the Internet of Things (IoT) has been the most hyped technology for the future.
  • IoT for businesses can improve processes, boost earnings, and reduce overheads.
  • Several trends will continue to gather momentum, fueling IoT’s prominence in 2021

As we approach the close of a whirlwind 2020, connected devices will continue to define numerous industries in the coming year. The Internet of Things (IoT) adoption has remained a gamechanger for businesses this year and inevitably will continue to redefine operations as industries evolve from the pandemic-induced challenges and step into 2021.

Several trends are expected to continue to gather momentum, fueling IoT’s prominence in 2021, from data-intensive experiences that use IoT devices such as self-driving cars or wearable devices, to basic health-and-safety needs as Covid-19 continues to take center stage.

At the same time, the IoT landscape remains fragmented, and the fragmentation will continue, predicted Forrester Research and connectivity options will be diverse rather than standardized. While 5G has been touted as the holy grail for IoT, “there will be a variety of connectivity options,” said Forrester senior analyst Michele Pelino.

Connected healthcare 

There has been a greater need for connected healthcare solutions to manage illnesses and monitor health, given that the pandemic keeping many people at home in 2020.  Forrester expects this will drive a surge in the adoption of wearables and sensors to help patients keep track of things like chronic conditions and cancer. There will also be greater interest in digital health devices among consumers due to convivence and more affordable prices.

“Consumer interest in digital health devices will accelerate as individuals appreciate the convenience of at-home monitoring, insight into their health, and the reduced cost of connected health devices,” it said.

Smart office initiatives

A trend that would drive employee-experience transformation, beginning next year, some firms will ditch expensive corporate real estate. However, Forrester expects at least 80% of firms to develop comprehensive on-premises return-to-work office strategies that include IoT applications to enhance employee safety and improve resource efficiencies such as smart lighting, energy, and environmental monitoring, or sensor-enabled space utilization and activity monitoring in high traffic areas.

Connected machines disrupting traditional business

Manufacturers, distributors, utilities, and pharmaceutical firms switched to remote operations in 2020 and began connecting previously disconnected assets. Covid-19 led to a difficult year for manufacturing businesses in 2020, but those difficulties led to remarkable innovations and adaptations that Forrester said are likely to stick around in 2021.

“As they plan for 2021 manufacturers will learn the lessons of 2020, doubling down on technology-enabled strategies to deliver flexibility, resilience, and innovation,” Forrester said in its smart manufacturing report.

Improved business insights & customer experience

Companies are gaining much greater insights into their business operations and how their customers use their products or services with connected equipment as it creates more data streams and analytics potential. In many cases, this has been enabled by cloud platforms provided by the likes of Microsoft Azure, AWS, IBM, and Google, but there is also now a shift towards edge computing in some industries, in an effort to reduce the latency and other drawbacks introduced by relying on remote, third-party data centers.

In fact, the future of retail lies in connecting with the customer and reducing friction for them. The ‘need it now’ mentality of today’s shoppers sees convenience take precedence over brand loyalty, with many customers favoring online shopping. Even those with a stake in physical stores must innovate too. Predictive recommendations and smart fitting rooms are now a reality – with AR, the IoT, and AI set to transform the industry further.

Green IoT

Refers to the reduced energy consumption and moving towards a safer environment, the green IoT devices are designed in a way to improve energy-friendly nature. It brings up solutions that save resources at home and work via smart production techniques producing less waste. 

As the novel advances in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) have totally revolutionized numerous areas, their utilization at the same time possesses a negative influence on human health and the environment. Therefore, green networks in IoT will contribute to reducing emissions and pollutions, exploiting environmental conservation and surveillance, and minimizing operational costs and power consumption.