With 2015 drawing to a close, we can look back and see significant strides that connected technology has made. After all, most people can now be seen sporting fitness trackers, right? As 2016 draws near, I predict that there will be even greater changes in the growth of the Internet of Things than we saw in 2015, but many of those changes will happen in the business sector, not the public sector.
1. Internet of Things Will Become a Household Name (Sort Of)
Ask the average person on the street what the Internet of Things is and chances are you will get a look of confusion. While those of us in the tech industry clearly know what IoT is, the term is not yet a household name. I believe 2016 will be the year that connected technology becomes a household term, but perhaps not with the term Internet of Things.
Theo Priestley, tech guru who writes for Forbes, agrees. I asked him about his opinion on this point:
“IoT will be supplanted by another term which is grasped more easily, I think,” said Priestley. “It's a connected world, therefore ‘connected' should play a part in defining it. Internet and Thing are meaningless given just how wide and deep this new industry will touch everything.”
What that term will be is anyone's guess, but I suspect it will hit the market this year.
2. Businesses Will Embrace Data with Vigor
The Internet of Things provides businesses with vast amounts of data, but they still aren't using it effectively. As Priestley indicates, we are fascinated with numbers, but are not yet pulling any real value from the data we are presented with. In 2016, I expect to see a greater understanding of the value of this data, how to use it to make better business decisions and how to pinpoint what data from sensors and connected technology is best utilized.
3. The Rise of Printed Electronics
Printed electronics, which are sensors created on paper-thin devices, are going to become more commonplace in 2016. We already have the Johnnie Walker Blue Label Whiskey bottles, which are the industry's first “smart” whiskey bottles as they contain smart labels, and this is just the beginning.
Dr. Davor Sutija, CEO of Thin Film Electronics ASA, predicts this rise as printed electronics are integrated into everyday objects:
“[Printed electronics] is a new opportunity for retailers to engage with consumers through NFC-enabled smartphone,” said Dr. Sutija. “In 2016 we will see more consumer brands invest in technology such as printed electronics to not only leverage capabilities to engage with consumers, but also to maintain control when it comes to monitoring inventory.”
4. Healthcare and Manufacturing Will Drive the Most Adoption of IoT Devices
I don't believe that 2016 will be the year that mainstream America will adopt connected devices in their day-to-day life. I do believe, however, that it will begin to become mainstream in two specific industries: manufacturing and healthcare.
We already have multiple studies and scenarios that have shown how IoT can improve these industries. As more and more initiatives enter the market to capitalize on the cost saving and efficiency benefits these industries enjoy through connected technology, I except to see a greater acceptance of it. Consumers, on the other hand, will remain apathetic to the “smart home” and connected lifestyle, largely due to the large cost of these items compared to a slow return on investment.
The Internet of Things is changing, and 2016 is going to be an exciting year for business, analytics and growth. As those of us in the tech industries prepare, it's going to be vital to understand and embrace these changes to capitalize on the benefits of the growing interest in connected technology.
Please let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below…