IoT gains traction but needs careful planning, says Forrester
By Michele Pelino, Forrester principal analyst serving infrastructure & operations professionals
More and more companies are deploying Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to bridge the physical and digital worlds and create new growth opportunities. However, as recent breaches have shown, leaders must stay up to date with this constantly changing environment. Forrester’s latest study, Predictions 2018: IoT Moves from Experimentation to Business Scale lays out the C-level priorities for the year ahead.
According to the study, IoT will move beyond proof of concept and into mainstream adoption in 2018. Forrester predicts that 10% of marketers at B2C brands will scale initiatives beyond pilots to build more intimate customer relationships and experiences.
To achieve optimum impact, CMOs should rely more on the insights of complex data sets from devices. Smartphones will also play a key role in enabling these new connected customer experiences and marketers should extend their mobile-moment strategies to include new interfaces with smart home speakers or smartwatches.”
Despite the growing concern around the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Forrester says that a 2018 European data economy directive will promote the exchange of data and insights. Early innovators will set the tone in the market and increased competition between EU and US companies will drive adoption.
In addition, voice-based services, which have until now, been dominated by smaller companies, we will see an increased adoption from larger enterprises. Pelino writes that a combination of consumer adoption; advances in artificial intelligence, such as natural language understanding (NLU); AI chips in hardware; faster processors and wireless networks; and cheaper components is making high-quality voice control of devices a reality.
Taking the action to the edge
A key trend will be IoT infrastructure shifting towards the edge. The study notes that edge IoT devices are able to act locally, based on data they generate, as well as take advantage of the cloud for secure, scalable configuration, deployment, and management.
The importance of IoT platforms will also continue to grow this year as clients look for: low adoption costs; quick deployment for prototyping; global reach; and easy integration with low maintenance – all of which are making cloud-based options attractive.
Forrester predicts that as data volumes grow, developers will push processing and analysis of data to the edge of the network and onto gateways and devices in order to cut data ingestion costs and reduce network latency.
Security and privacy still critical
Forrester says most firms still haven’t shown the required commitment to mitigating IoT-specific threats.
The firm believes many IoT devices and ecosystems are still vulnerable to attacks that could take systems offline, and cause “minor to significant disruptions (and potential loss of life) and/or data exfiltration”. The report goes further to say that in 2018, we’ll see more IoT-related attacks, both on devices and on the cloud backplane, as hackers look to breach systems and extract sensitive data.
Forrester warns organisations to have security professionals critically assess their systems, including default passwords, weak encryption implementations, and inadequate patching/remediation capabilities. The report also urges a thorough assessment of GDPR and other data protection compliance.
Blockchain will also begin impacting the performance of IoT technology as it gains traction. In fact, Forrester expects that the percentage of IoT cases using blockchain technologies will rise to over 5% among all IoT initiatives this year.
Pelino says that, while blockchain isn’t yet ready for large-scale deployments requiring reliability, stability, and seamless integration with existing technology infrastructure, companies should begin experimentation with the technology now in order to evaluate vendors against their firm’s IoT business scenarios.