The New Year is traditionally a time for taking stock and, for some, committing to focus on improvements to our lives in the form of resolutions. The IoT could stand some improvement, too – so here are just 7 resolutions that the IoT industry might think of making for 2018.
#1 – Develop enough humility for interoperability
The IoT is still young and this means that standards, protocols, network functions and all points of interconnectivity may still be forming. All vendors need to exhibit enough humility to appreciate and perceive the place their technology could ultimately have in the total IoT universe. This means never assuming interoperability will be a given. Keeping an open mind and an open approach to open standards will be among the most crucial resolutions for 2018.
#2 – Move towards a higher purpose
All IoT technologies should be built with a higher purpose for society. This imperative is not simply related to IoT tech that goes towards building ‘smart cities’ where the higher purpose is our motive to create a better living environment for all – although it does absolutely include that work too. Companies should be focussing on resolutions around their contributions to social initiatives, philanthropic causes and environmental protection.
#3 – Appreciate quality more
As we enter 2018, we know that business margins will be tighter and company-wide operational systems will be increasingly precision-engineered. This means that, where IoT devices are implemented, the quality of the software code they run will become even more important. We are entering a new era of accountability where software makers will need to provide evidence for functional efficiency like never before. The IoT needs both device (physical) and software (code) ‘build’ quality to up its game.
#4 – Buy into blockchain, with caution
We knew that the immutable ledger technology behind blockchain could soon prove to be particularly useful for the handling of payments and guaranteeing the integrity of transactions across IoT systems. We must now work to understand what blockchain is, but, at the same time, we must also remember that immutable does not mean unhackable. Even blockchain can be reverse-engineered through log file analytics. We must go forward, with cautionary caveats depending on the use case.
#5 – Embrace the subscription-based business model
As the IoT grows, connectivity embedded within products will increasingly disrupt the idea of ownership – with connected autonomous cars for instance, consumers buy the journey, not the car. This is the view of Mike Bell, executive vice president of devices & IoT at Canonical, an Ubuntu operating system services specialist. Bell suggests that we’re moving towards ‘outcomes over assets’ and ‘consumption over capital investment’ – and this will go way beyond cars into all products.
#6 – Make services first-class IoT citizens
Our first years of IoT development have been characterized by a fascination with devices, sensors, gadgets and gizmos. Our next responsibility is to look below the surface and appreciate the data that moves through the IoT. This is not just about bolstering IoT data security (although it is that too, obviously), it is about the need to appreciate how we weave a new fabric of software-based services out of the IoT data lake and start to understand where we can use the applications that will feed on those services to live better and work better.
#7 – Understand automation
Automation will now become increasingly important to all technology and the IoT is no exception. As we look ahead to 2018, we must understand what automation means. On the one hand it means automated updates for IoT devices. At a deeper level, it also means automating code and process workflows (that serve the software on our devices), based on defined reference templates and best-practice playbooks.