Recently, we (a collective of Citrix Chris-es) posted our Internet of Things (IoT) predictions for 2017. Making predictions for the upcoming year brings out a ton of great ideas as everyone likes to unbox that crystal ball and put on their favorite impression of “Zoltar Speaks” to share their predictions in full.

Something you don’t see very often is a recap of predictions for the previous year; were our predictions on the mark or did we have a total swing and a miss?

Below, we take a look back at the IoT predictions for 2016 we made and see how prescient we were, or were not.

The Rise of IoT Fatigue

What we wrote: “I 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.”

What we saw: This is a hard one to prove or disprove, since it is based more on a feeling. However, the IoT hype machine was still in overdrive in 2016, and if you do a google search of “IoT Hype”, you get plenty of results. One reason this is particularly challenging to measure is that IoT, in reality, consists of many different technologies and markets that are at different levels of maturity, and within IoT may be some technologies that are overhyped and some that are underhyped, which is a point we have made before.

Since we are judging ourselves, I’ll go ahead and say we hit the mark here. One piece of evidence I will offer up is to look at the Gartner IT Hype cycle for 2016. On it you will see numerous IoT technologies situated at or near the “peak of inflated expectations” and ready for the “trough of disillusionment,” which speaks to potential rise of IoT Fatigue

Machine/Deep Learning

What we wrote: “The Integration of Everything mentioned above will really help drive an increased number of discussions and projects related to machine learning, distributed computing, and deep learning in 2016.”

What we saw: This prediction definitely hit the mark, although you could argue that this was an easy prediction to make. 2016 saw the introduction and enhancement of machine learning tools from the likes of Google, Microsoft and Amazon, making it easier than ever to create IoT workflows with a machine learning component. Wired wrote that 2016 would be the year that Deep Learning Took Over the Internet, and InfoWorld wrote that 2016 was the year machine learning moved “firmly into the enterprise development mainstream.”

IoT Spreads in the Enterprise

What we wrote:In 2016, we will see more and more emphasis on using IoT and the Integration of Everything to solve complex business problems. One large Enterprise opportunity is in Healthcare and another example is how IoT is going to power the smart-office in 2016.”

What we saw: This is another one that is arguably true, but is also broad enough in scope, so you could make legitimate claims both for and against it. There is no doubt that more and more enterprises are pushing IoT initiatives, and this 2016 survey from 451 Research indicates 71% of all enterprises today are gathering data for IoT initiatives. However, with broad security concerns, in many enterprises are tentative in their deployments. In conversations with our customers, we saw that some vertical markets are well ahead of others regarding putting IoT into active use, but we also saw that everyone is taking a close look. While I am giving us a pass on this prediction from last year, this is also a safe prediction to carry over into 2017.

More Momentum for Connected/Driverless Cars & Drones

What we wrote: “What we wrote: 2016 will be the year of connected, assisted, and driverless cars. While we may not see driverless cars on the road en masse in 2016, we will see significant momentum made in accepting the concept. While drones have been in the news now for a while, 2016 will see drones take on abilities more useful than spying on celebrities.”

What we saw: Chris Matthieu nailed this prediction when he stated we won’t see driverless cars on the road in large numbers, we will see momentum in accepting the concept. With Uber rolling out tests of driverless cars to San Francisco and Arizona, Google focusing on driverless cars and trucks, and Tesla adding more capabilities to enable driverless cars down the road, momentum is building.

IoT-Related Security Breaches in the News

What we wrote:I think we will hear more examples of security vulnerabilities driven by a ‘thing’ in 2016.”

What we saw: This is another one that we got right, although I think many would say that this was probably the easiest prediction to make. You have a trend that is adding billions of devices with varying levels of security built in connecting to both public and private networks, and in many cases interacting with personal data, what could possibly go wrong?

Well, plenty did go wrong, whether it was massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks leveraging compromised IoT devices or hackers learning how to use new IoT devices to gain back door entry to more sensitive components. All of these caused some to call out that the benefits of IoT initiatives may not be worth it, especially for industries, such as health care, that are hyper-sensitive to protecting personal data.

We knew when we wrote our predictions last year that this was an easy one to predict, and we followed our more obvious statement with a more precise prediction: “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.” I think we were right in stating that a more context aware and adaptive security approach to IoT will be more of a 2017 trend, however the scale and scope of the 2016 security breaches definitely pushed this conversation into the 2016 mainstream, something we discussed at the end of the year.

IT Assigns an IoT Champion

What we wrote: “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.”

What we saw: This is a tough one to discuss quantitatively as this is not an easy one to collect survey data on. Conceptually, this seems straightforward. Just like any new technology trend, once it reaches a certain mass in the organization IT gets involved. However, IoT is different because the data can live in so many different places. IoT has the potential to merge many functions that fall under the domain of IT, operations, security and business line owners. There is no doubt a champion is required, but likely you need several champions crossing many different functional areas, and often these champions may not have a history of collaborating with each other (like OT and IT in industrial scenarios).

I will say from our many conversations with customers, this is one where we have seen some promise, but there is much more to do. We have seen some of our customers that already have cross functional teams focused on user experience, and these types of customers may be well suited to incorporate IoT into user workflows. So, in that sense they have assigned an IoT champion within IT to work with the rest of the organization, and that is a positive start.

Validation of the IoT Platform

What we wrote:I believe that in 2016, we will see IoT platforms become more mature, with more examples of IoT platforms solving real business problems.

What we saw: This is an easy one to argue that we got right. 2016 saw an explosion of hype around IoT platforms. While it can be difficult to pin down a standard definition of what is an IoT platform, one VC firm’s attempt to quantify the market came up with 707 different IoT platforms out there. However, quantity doesn’t necessarily infer quality, and you can argue that that many platforms indicates a market that is ripe for consolidation. I think we can restate our prediction that 2016 was a good year for validating the importance of an IoT platform in building out your IoT ecosystem, and that 2017 may be a year of both rapid growth for IoT platforms as well as market consolidation.

To summarize, not a bad set of predictions from the IoT team of Chris-es here at Citrix.

2016 served as as a year of progressive learning year for Citrix and IoT. We started 2016 talking about the opportunity for IoT to solve complex business challenges through workflows that could tie together disparate systems and devices, and ended the year by elaborating on that concept with the introduction of Workspace IoT, which allows organizations to reimagine work by making it easier for devices, users, machines, data and applications to interact.

There is much more to come in 2017, so stay tuned. And be sure to take a look at our 2017 predictions and let us know what you think.

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