It is that time of year for technology predictions impacting the upcoming year. In this article we are sharing Citrix’s Top 7 Predictions for the Internet of Things (IoT) in 2016, with insights from Chris Fleck, Chris Matthieu and Chris Witeck.
It is that time of year when holiday traditions start to take over. Pumpkin spice lattes, holiday decorations at every corner and technology predictions for the upcoming year all start to appear. So here I am with my holiday latte in hand, holiday decorations up at my desk and some Internet of Things (IoT) predictions to share for 2016. Rather than just share my own insights, I've asked Chris Fleck, VP of Emerging Solutions for Citrix and Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering for Citrix and Co-Founder of Octoblu to also weigh in. Between the three of us (consider it a triple Chris latte), we are presenting our Top 7 predictions for the Internet of Things in 2016.
In 2016 you will start to see more and more commentary crushing the IoT hype bubble, and perhaps more and more illustrations of IoT products and solutions that don't have a clearly defined business model.
1. The Rise of IoT Fatigue (Chris Witeck)
With all of the public buzz associated with the latest IoT devices and solutions, the question is being asked over and over again if perhaps there is too much hype and too little substance when it comes to IoT solutions. It doesn't help that there are dizzying arrays of IoT predictions and every time you turn around the number of IoT devices increases by a billion here and a billion there. Add to this that Gartner has quite a few IoT-related technologies sitting on the precipice of the trough of disillusionment in the near future, indicating that we have reached the stage of the hype cycle peak and at some point in the near future that bubble will burst.
I asked a similar question this year when I asked if the Internet of Things is overhyped or underestimated? That article stated the belief that IoT is being underestimated if you set the opportunity in the context of the Integration of Everything. I still stand by that, however I also believe that in 2016 you will start to see more and more commentary crushing the IoT hype bubble, and perhaps more and more illustrations of IoT products and solutions that don't have a clearly defined business model.
2. Machine/Deep Learning (Chris Matthieu)
The Integration of Everything that Chris Witeck mentioned above will really help drive an increased number of discussions and projects related to machine learning, distributed computing, and deep learning in 2016. Google just open sourced its Tensor Flow library for machine learning. Businesses such as PreLert are building machine learning platforms on top of big data stores such as Splunk. IBM Watson is now being used in cancer research laboratories, universities, and corporations to aid in deep learning exercises. Microsoft also recently released their machine learning platform accessible through Azure.
These examples will facilitate real examples where more and more IoT products and vehicles can stream real-time sensor data into IoT and social networking platforms allowing this data to mined in real-time for patterns related to trends and anomalies that can be applied to automation. Machine learning can be used in identifying objects in photos (or cameras), in cars and drones for autonomous driving and flying, and can also be used in customer service chat conversations, IVRs, and online/offline retail shopping.
Machine learning won't just be valuable in the enterprise, soon my home will be able to tell me that every time I arrive, I routinely do the same x number of things and ask me if I would like them automated. I personally would love to build Jarvis out of the Amazon Echo and Citrix Octoblu! Stay tuned…
3. IoT Spreads in the Enterprise (Chris Fleck)
In 2016 we will see more and more emphasis on using IoT and the Integration of Everything to solve complex business problems. While this won't grab as much public attention as deflating a hype bubble, as Chris Witeck mentions above, it will really start to build momentum behind the Enterprise business model for IoT.
One large Enterprise opportunity is in Healthcare. IoT will gain visibility and credibility by Healthcare providers that leverage the technology to connect "Things” like Bluetooth thermometers and Heart rate devices to Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems. This will reduce errors and time to collect vital signs while increasing productivity and time better spent with patent engagement.
Another example is how IoT is going to power the smart-office in 2016. Companies will accelerate the transformation of real estate offices from traditional assigned offices and cubicles to cool new shared workplaces that increase occupancy and collaboration. IoT will help enable this transformation with meeting room automation, workflow orchestration and facilities optimization.
4. More Momentum for Connected/Driverless Cars & Drones (Chris Matthieu)
2016 will be the year of connected, assisted, and driverless cars. Tesla just released its new AutoPilot feature enabling self-driving capability to all of its new cars via an over-the-air update. While Tesla’s update is targeting human-assisted driving, Google has been working on a true driverless vehicle technology. Many states have already passed legislation allowing driverless vehicles on their roads.
And it is not just cars, Yamaha also recently released a rider-less racing motorcycle called MotoBot for testing high-performance race bikes. While we may not see driverless cars on the road en masse in 2016, we will see significant momentum made in accepting the concept, with plenty of hype as different car manufacturers and companies like Uber jump on board. And for a really cool use case: LocalMotors, IBM, and Octoblu recently partnered to develop the first 3D-printed, connected car. This car was unveiled at the IBM Insights conference and SEMA!
While drones have been in the news now for a while, 2016 will see drones take on abilities more useful than spying on celebrities. For example, Intel’s RealSense cameras (and other depth perception cameras) are now readily available and small enough and cheap enough to add to drones and robots. These cameras allow drones and robots to now navigate through obstacles and around crowded areas and paths without bumping into anything.
Drones and robots are now being introduced into agriculture to take photos of plants and using deep learning to detect unhealthy plants and recommending nutrients. Amazon, Google, and Matternet are all talking about one-hour shopping deliveries via drones. Construction companies are using drones and robots to 3D model old and new buildings and terrains. Sporting events are now loaning drones to athletes to film video of their ski runs, races, games, etc.
5. IoT Related Security Breaches in the News (Chris Witeck)
I don’t think you can have any type of technology predictions without mentioning security. When it comes to IoT security where does that stand? I think we will hear more examples of security vulnerabilities driven by a 'thing' in 2016. In reality, this has been happening now for quite some time, but the hype and increasing numbers of things around us will make the frequency and ease of covering this story more pronounced. The real trend will be when our security posture becomes much more adaptive and context-aware, using machine learning and the increased number of data collection points driven by IoT to take access control to the next level. This is absolutely a necessary step in our security evolution, and one I think will be more of a 2017 trend and beyond, so stay tuned for more on that one.
6. IT Assigns an IoT Champion (Chris Fleck)
We discussed above how 2016 will see IoT spreading in the Enterprise as well as more attention being paid to IoT related security breaches. This will require IT to assign an IoT champion, as IT management will recognize the business opportunity presented by IoT as well as the recognize potential for IoT to impact infrastructure like networks, facilities and phone systems. Additionally, IT will recognize the relevance IoT has to security, both network security and physical security. This will present both opportunities and challenges as IT measures how IoT can open up new areas to compromise security as well as open new opportunities for detecting and responding to cyber security threats. This will require the IoT champion to continually view and manage projects in a new light, as they consider new business opportunities that IoT may bring to the Enterprise while at the same time they look at risk assessments with IoT in mind as well.
7. Validation of the IoT Platform (Chris Witeck)
The market for IoT platforms is already a crowded space. I'm not suggesting that in 2016 that this market will get even more crowded (although it might). I'm suggesting that in 2016 we will see IoT platforms become more mature, with more examples of IoT platforms solving real business problems. This will serve as a counter to the IoT fatigue I anticipate, but won't collect as many mentions in the press as IoT platforms perhaps more quietly providing real examples on how you can derive real business value in complex, heterogeneous environments.
Who will be the IoT platform leaders in 2016? I don't think we will see any one platform rise to dominance, but I do think we will continue to see consolidation and alignment as large technology vendors tout IoT platforms as way to help build IoT solutions that enhance their overall core strengths. For example, Microsoft will use their IoT platform to encourage development of IoT solutions that leverage Azure, Amazon's IoT platform, will be all about leveraging Amazon Web Services and IBM's platform is focused on leveraging their big data and analytics services.
There will still be room for standalone independent platforms, but increasingly I expect to see the IoT platforms aligned with technology vendors that have a key stake in the IoT ecosystem. So where does that leave Citrix Octoblu? I think a core business proposition for the Internet of Things is simplifying within a complex environment the delivery of data, applications and services to people, places and things, back to concept of the 'Integration of Everything'. That aligns well with the core Citrix value proposition on the secure delivery of apps and data, leaving plenty of room for Citrix to innovate.
Summary: Reaching through the IoT noise to find real business value
To summarize, we believe in 2016 we will start to hear more public examples of IoT fatigue as we hear story after story of novel consumer-based IoT solutions that are either ahead of their time or in reality just not solving real problems. But through the noise, in 2016 there will be authentic IoT success stories where we see real world examples of IoT providing business value in the Enterprise. This will be driven by IoT platforms and machine learning that enable organizations to solve complex problems, letting IoT start the climb towards the “Slope of Enlightenment” (to borrow another Gartner expression).