The Future of the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) or as we refer to it at HP – the Internet of All Things – is transforming the world around us. As it creeps toward mass adoption in everything from our personal lives to businesses to government, it’s effect is undeniable. In fact, the McKinsey Global Institute predicts IoT will generate up to $11 trillion for the global economy by 2025.

When it comes to the future of IoT, here are three major trends to keep your eye on:

Businesses will be the chief adopter of IoT solutions. The alluring promise of an improved bottom line will encourage businesses to focus on IoT. It can lower operating costs, increase productivity, and help businesses expand into new markets or offer new products.

Take insurance companies for example. According to SMA, 74% of insurance executives believe that IoT will disrupt insurance within the next five years. IoT would allow insurance agencies and carriers to gather data on their policyholders including their lifestyle habits, driving behaviors and their health. It will also allow them to mitigate risk by providing safeguards to locate stolen cars. They could use IoT to send alerts to first responders in case of home or car break-ins or even reduce the impact of human error by helping drivers avoid poor driving conditions.

43% of building managers in the US believe IoT will affect how they run their building

And they’re not alone. A recent Daintree Networks survey found that 43% of building managers in the US believe IoT will affect how they run their building, enabling them to monitor and manage the electrical and mechanical systems. IoT also helps keep building management costs down with low-powered networks and sensors.

At HP we are looking at building in Intelligence at the most discrete level across all types of products.  For example, in the future with 3D printing, electrical conductivity could be embedded at the voxel level (3D printer level of a pixel).  So, any printed 3D part would be able to send information about ware, lifecycle use and environmental conditions back to users and to the manufacturer.  This could allow for the replacement of parts before they fail or improved design for future parts.

HP also has tens of millions of IoT devices in homes around the world – printers.

HP also has tens of millions of IoT devices in homes around the world – printers. In 2010, when we started selling internet-savvy printers, we provided secure connections to a cloud-based service. HP ePrint Printers can receive print jobs from email, from mobile devices, from non-portable computers and from devices.

Nowadays, our service maintains connectivity with millions of devices. We’re able to monitor device status and deliver print jobs on demand or in response to a scheduled subscription, giving our customers time to focus on more important things.

The ability to print conveniently is just the start an IoT architecture for printers. We’re also able to offer our HP Instant Ink replacement service.  Instead of buying print cartridges, customers have the option to sign up for automatic replenishment of printing ink supplies.  Our service monitors usage and ships new print cartridges before the old ones run out of ink. This way, you’re able to pay by the number of pages used and never have to worry about running out of ink.

IoT will also play a role in the future of retail. Imagine pointing your phone at a product in store and it tells you information including what the product does, provides comparable products, and more. Then once you arrive home, you receive instructions for setting up or installing the product.

Even better, Tesco let their customers in South Korea shop without stepping foot in a store with their virtual supermarket. Using HP Latex printers, the supermarket giant created and successfully installed a hi-tech store in a Seoul subway station. Passengers “shop” by scanning QR codes of items they want, and the goods are delivered to their home address.

Security is still a big concern. As IoT connects more devices every day, security will be a major concern for businesses and consumers alike who are fearful of the increased risk of hackers and cyber criminals accessing IoT devices. In addition to the threat of major cyber security attacks, the average consumer is concerned about their privacy. Businesses and products are going to have to address security concerns first to reach mass-adoption levels.

For these reasons HP’s Security Lab has several initiatives underway to tackle the growing landscape of cybersecurity threats and how HP is designing for cyber-resilience in a Blended Reality future.

Big data will be king. Across the Internet of Things, devices create data that’s sent to the main application to then be sent on, consumed, and used. And with all the data being generated, companies are now attempting to monetize it.

IoT data is more valuable when linked to larger private or public benefits.

A well-known example is the IoT-enabled fridge that knows when you are out of eggs and reminds you when you’re at the grocery store or automatically adds them to your cart in your favorite grocery delivery app. However, IoT data is more valuable when linked to larger private or public benefits. Industries like utilities and real estate can use data from IoT devices to spot trends, saving them money and time.

Healthcare is a great example where big data, IoT, microfluidics and Hypermobility advancements will converge.  The next generation of Digital Health will allow us to move from a world where systems are centralized – where doing tests are very expensive and slow – into a world of global diagnostics, where things happen very cheaply and the power is put into the hands of the individual.

At HP, we look at Megatrends to identify new technologies and business models that will help fuse our physical and digital worlds, reinventing and creating new experiences for everyone, everywhere. The Internet of Things is an emerging technology area that we believe will be one of the building blocks for our future. It will have profound changes that will have on humanity – everything from manufacturing supply chain to security to how you track a package will change. The opportunities are endless.

What are your thoughts on the future of IoT? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

HP CTO & Global Head HPLabs. Technology futurist, passionate leader focused on 3dprinting, cybersecurity, drones, travel, and FriendsNational.

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