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    Top 9 IoT trends for 2022

    Our annual forecast for all things IoT in the year ahead


    It feels like we’ve been living with uncertainty forever. Since the beginning of 2020, when COVID-19 upended life globally, the near future has seemed especially hard to foresee. One thing that has remained remarkably consistent, however, is the explosive growth in IoT-related technologies. While the pandemic has brought many challenges—intense burdens on healthcare, chip shortages, supply chain disruptions, radical upheaval in industries from travel to hospitality and beyond—it has also demonstrated the importance and the viability of connected and data-driven technologies.

    Here, then, are nine trends to keep an eye on throughout 2022.

    1. IoT for sustainability


    Global initiatives like the EU Green Deal and the Build Back Better Framework in the USA promise to make sustainability the most important IoT trend in 2022. Driving interest and investment in IoT are commitments to retrofit buildings for energy efficiency and regulations requiring all new construction to be carbon neutral over the next several decades. Because zero carbon construction and operations depend on an integrated smart systems approach, the IoT will play a central role in sustainability initiatives in 2022 and beyond.

    2. IoT for operational efficiency


    True sustainability requires a holistic approach to decarbonization—that is, measures taken must address both embodied carbon (the amount of carbon emitted during construction or renovation) and operational carbon. IoT for operational efficiency, therefore, ranks as the number 2 trend for 2022, closely related to and arguably an aspect of the top trend, sustainability. IoT applications that use real-time data to improve operations and prevent unplanned downtime will be in demand in 2022, especially in industrial settings. Fortunately, operational efficiency measures can help business lower costs and improve employee and customer satisfaction at the same time.

    3. IoT for business transformation


    Several studies have demonstrated that the IoT can reduce energy usage and improve productivity for businesses. Now, more and more businesses are looking to transform their operations with end-to-end automation and embedded intelligence. Companies of all sizes will start to move beyond pilots and proof of concept projects to proper IoT implementations that integrate data, machine learning, and predictive analytics. This trend even has a name: Digital Transformation 2.0. But it’s early days yet, and the journey from the fragmented technology landscapes of today to fully integrated solutions that deliver measurable value promises to be a long and challenging one. 

    4. Bundled IoT


    To cut through the complexity and the time needed to research, validate, and integrate technologies from multiple vendors, many businesses are turning to bundled IoT solutions. Cloud and data management company Oracle surveyed 800 IoT decision-makers and found that “75% of respondents want connectivity to be ‘baked-in’ or bundled by the solution provider, and 70% want providers to include data and analytics tools as part of a comprehensive solution.” Look for off-the-shelf IoT solutions to drive business adoption throughout 2022.

    5. IoT and smart infrastructure


    The year 2022 promises to be not just about smart applications, but also about smart infrastructure. More specifically, Forrester expects significant convergence between edge computing and devices, IoT, and networking technology. This shift will likely have a major impact on supply chain, resource management, connectivity, mobility, and more. An open systems approach that can ensure interoperability between vendor solutions will be seen as an essential element of converged systems.

    6. 5G and IoT


    With speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G (up to 3 Gbps for high-band), latency of only 1 ms, and substantially higher bandwidth capacity, 5G promises to make IoT access more widespread, secure, and able to support new apps that require massive amounts of data—such as AR, VR, and Li-Fi. As Bjorn Andersson, senior director of Global Industry Solutions Marketing at Hitachi Vantara, puts it, “With commercial 5G networks already live worldwide, the next wave of 5G expansion will allow organizations to digitalize with more mobility, flexibility, reliability and security.” 5G will also enable the deployment of massive numbers of edge devices, putting “cloud-based compute capability close to users and data sources, no matter where they are.”

    7. IoT and AR/VR


    Augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) will really take off when combined with 5G-enabled IoT. While gaming might be the best-known AR/VR applications to date (think Pokémon GO and Oculus), AR/VR offers enormous promise and potential in more sober settings as well. With VR headsets, for example, business meetings and training sessions can take place between colleagues located on different continents without losing any of the advantages of face-to-face collaboration. And AR-enabled applications allow shoppers to virtually “try on” clothes or furniture without having to leave home.

    8. IoT and healthcare


    Healthcare will continue to lead in IoT adoption. Wearables, asset tracking, indoor navigation, bio-adaptive lighting,—all have significant and potentially valuable applications in healthcare settings. According to Forbes, more than half of all hospitals in the US now offer remote patient monitoring. The COVID-19 pandemic has driven the adoption of telehealth—remote appointments and consultations using videoconferencing to minimize the risk of contagion. When combined with remote patient monitoring, telehealth has the potential to entirely transform the way that healthcare is administered. Highly secure data collection and analytics enabled by cloud-based IoT platforms will make real-time and historical patient data available wherever and whenever needed, streamlining care while ensuring patient privacy.

    9. IoT advancements will be stressed


    IoT is poised to take off in 2022. But challenges lie ahead, including ongoing chip shortages, botnets to challenge weak IoT security, lack of regulatory standards, and the sheer complexity of solutions. Nevertheless, McKinsey estimates that the IoT “could enable $5.5 trillion to $12.6 trillion in value globally” by 2030, with B2B applications accounting for 65% of that total. According to McKinsey and other industry experts, it’s essential to go all-in, despite the risks: halfway measures will almost certainly fail to realize the potential value of IoT implementations.

    About the author

    Jonathan Weinert, IoT Lighting, Signify
    Award-winning writer Jonathan Weinert has been been researching and reporting on LED lighting, connected lighting, and the IoT since joining Signify in 2008.

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