The Internet of Things (IoT) in 2015 will be about trying to tackle standardisation, bandwidth and security challenges, according to analysts.
The applications or use cases for the IoT continue to grow, but standardisation has yet to coincide with that, said Gartner analyst Kristian Steenstrup. 2015 could be the year where industry starts to tackle this issue, he said.
“There are a couple of standard sets that could emerge. For example, GE is leading the Industrial Internet Consortium in the US.
“In Germany, there’s an initiative called Industry 4.0. It is a government-sponsored initiative with participation from industry to try and improve the application of the Internet of Things technology, mainly in manufacturing, but I think it’s spreading out to areas like smart cities and transportation and other areas.”
Industry-specific standards could also emergence next year, Steenstrup said. “They have got different needs, so it’s very hard to have one standard that suits everybody.
“But we are not going to see any standard emerge that’s a winner in the next 12 months,” he added.
On the consumer side, Forrester analyst Tim Sheedy sees slow adoption of the Internet of Things in the consumer space. He said this is because devices or ‘things’ still don’t fully interconnect with each other – it’s still a one app for one device model.
“I thought we would be further along in developing standards so all the different devices would interoperate with each other,” he said.
“A year ago I had probably thought by now a leader would have emerged, that there would be a company that you would go to that would sell you the controller for your smart home that would connect to everything.”
Alistair Leathwood, executive director at TNS Australia, said the IoT is still struggling to find its “killer application” that will help it achieve widespread, mass adoption in both the consumer and industry or enterprise space.
“You can see the possibilities, it’s just not clear what we’ve been crying out for that we need this all to do for us. Maybe it can order you more milk when you run out of milk. But that’s not really a question of it being Wi-Fi enabled, that’s a question of it having a good milk sensor.
“It’s struggles a bit with the application. But we might get to that [application] when we come to driverless cars,” he said.
As more and more devices connect to the Internet, more and more bandwidth gets eaten up. Bandwidth constraints will also be a focus for many companies next year, Steenstrup said.
“Gartner conferences are sometimes really challenged with bandwidth because everybody there is always on. If you extend that to each person having six devices that are connected in some way, then that’s going to be really constrained.”
However, there is some mitigation to this, he pointed out.
“These devices, even if they are always on, are not going to be uploading and downloading large files all the time. A lot of them are going to be using a very small amount of data in their normal state, and then there might be bursts of data in the exceptional state.
“Not all Internet of Things, despite the name, are going to be connected all the time. You might have disconnected autonomous things. If you have an autonomous vehicle, for example, that the mining companies are dealing with, they are not really connected to the Internet."
New security threats that leverage the IoT may also come next year, Streenstrup said, with organisations looking at how they can secure wearables and Internet-connected devices.
“There have already been rumours of Internet-enabled refrigerators being hacked, not for any hostile act, because there’s not much they can do with my two-day old bread or bottle of milk. But they are able to use, for example, for bots so that they can use the processing power for doing other activities.”
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