Industrial IoT in 2020 and Beyond

As the new year and new decade of 2020 begin, all indicators point to continued growth of IoT and digital transformation in the industrial space. A recent Gartner analysis sees no slowdown in growth of Industrial IoT markets. In areas as diverse as manufacturing, natural resources, automotive, and healthcare, the rate of adoption is expected to increase.

“Economies, jobs, and personal lives are becoming more digital, more connected, and more automated,” according to CompTIA’s IT Industry Outlook 2020 report. Here are a few of the trends in data communications that the report highlights:

  • Redefining IT Architecture for Digital Transformation – “As with cloud computing and mobile devices, the groundwork has been laid for IoT to advance digital transformation.”
  • Increased Demand for Integrating Platforms, Applications, and Data – “According to CompTIA’s Tech Buying Trends Among Small & Medium-Sized Businesses, the top technology area where SMBs need the most work is integrating various platforms, applications, and data. Large businesses are focused on integration as well, but they have more internal resources that they can lean on.”
  • A Proactive Approach to Cybersecurity – “The theme of cybersecurity over the past decade was a shift from a purely defensive mindset to a proactive approach that combined technology, process, and education. … organizations are beginning to treat cybersecurity as a dedicated function.”

Another publication, IoT World Today, has published 6 IoT Security Predictions for 2020. Among these, two stand out for us as particularly relevant. On the one hand, there is a growing awareness among plant engineers and managers about the need for OT security. “Customers I talked to with OT environments are very nervous about security,” said Andrew Howard, CEO of Kudelski Security. “And I think [this trend is] likely to accelerate.”

On the other hand, IoT World Today editors are seeing the concept of secure-by-design gain wider acceptance. They quoted Hima Mukkamala, senior vice president and general manager, IoT cloud services at Arm saying, “Security will be a key factor in the decision-making process for organizations as they look at deploying IoT infrastructure in 2020.”

Looking further down the road

In past years, many IoT forecasts looked ahead to the year 2020. Now that we are here, most people are accustomed to the idea of an Industrial Internet of Things. So what lies ahead? Here are three intriguing possibilities:

Quantum Trends and The Internet of Things
Chuck Brooks, Chair of the IoT and Quantum Computing Committee of Quantum Security Alliance looks at some of the expected advantages of quantum computing for the IoT, as well as potential pitfalls.

Swarm Robotics and IoT
Swarm robotics, inspired by ant and bee colonies, is a technology that coordinates large groups of simple robots to cooperate and perform complex tasks that a single robot cannot do.

Microbiology for the IoT
Harnessing bacteria as IoT endpoints? It might not be as far-fetched as it seems. Equipped with their own sensors, processing engines, and data storage, bacteria have come under the microscope in a whole new way―as candidates for the Internet of Bio-Nano Things (IoBNT).

All of these endeavors in the near and distant future share a common requirement―secure, real-time data communication. It seems we have quite a decade ahead of us.