I have been in this space for a while. In addition to having a podcast/blog, I get asked a lot about the current state of IoT. It may come from people in the industry looking for insight, people looking to make investments in this space or to learn more about this booming area.
I have decided to answer some of the questions in more detail and to do it in two parts. In the first part, we look at a few different aspects of the current world of IoT. In part 2, we look at the next decade of IoT.
There is a common joke among many in the space about how soon enough, we will see the “hockey-stick curve level” growth that we have heard about throughout the years.
Please don’t get me wrong, IoT has grown considerably over the past decade, but the growth never quite seemed to match the hype.
There have been some areas of growth that have helped push the industry forward.
Public Safety and Utility companies come to mind. Both of those industries had been significant users of private radio for a while, so the migration towards Internet-based traffic was not a major one. You can also put Oil and Gas exploration into that camp.
One area that I still am a bit surprised not to have seen more growth was the medical space, although they are quickly making up for it in the past few years.
In addition to the medical community that I mentioned earlier, another space that is missing in the IoT boom is the Food industry. Sure, there have been some pockets (such as automated planting, some sensor-based farming and others) but not like I would have thought. These industries work on very low margins, and it would have made sense for them to gain any competitive edge that they could have, which IoT would have provided.
In terms of ones that have overperformed, I would say the waste management area.
Many companies moved towards IoT very early on in the lifecycle of IoT, and the use of weight sensors is far more common than expected.
Yes and no.
You see a massive influx of large companies in particular spaces in the industry. Platforms like AWS and Azure are becoming formidable, but a large number of smaller players make significant strides. In terms of the services side, companies like IBM and Accenture are getting slowly into the data integration and services side, but most turn-key leaders do not fall into the mega-cap size.
I see big companies getting further into other spaces, but mainly areas with the widest appeal to their existing base. Apple and other watch manufacturers are getting more into the health side, to appeal to their older customers, but I don’t see them getting into full-blown medical solutions. Platform providers like Amazon and Microsoft have some compelling IoT solutions and building-blocks. Still, there will always be room for 3rd party players to build on their platforms to deliver their solutions to the market.
I guess it depends on how you look at the “end.” Will it curb any growth for landlines shortly? I would say that it would, but I would not expect to see millions of landlines disconnected in 2021.
The big argument in favour of 5G is its flexibility and availability. You can have it in a single device or use a 5G connection to power a home or business connectivity needs. It can work at home, in the car or at the cottage (if you have coverage). If your lifestyle is mobile, there is a compelling reason for you to go all-in on 5G.
However, you will pay a substantial premium for doing so, and I am not sure that flexibility is worth the extra cost for many.