We’ve written a lot about the internet of things this year. But we’ve mostly covered industry news from 2017.

Now that we’re coming up on the end of the calendar year, we thought it appropriate timing to make a few IoT predictions for 2018.

Innovation is the name of the game, and as more and more devices come online, there is going to be growth in a number of different verticals.

Truly, this phenomenon is going to slice right across numerous industries. Make no mistake about it, the growth of connected devices is bringing a revolution.

We see four primary sectors where we anticipate big changes in 2018…

  • Manufacturing
  • Finance and Insurance
  • Transportation and Supply Chains
  • Energy

More connected devices means networks will need to expand and improve. That’s music to the network installer’s ear, and we therefore anticipate network installations to grow as organizations become increasingly digital.

The IoT in Manufacturing

With such a high percentage of automation already found in the manufacturing sector, it should come as no surprise that the IoT can lead to some big savings.

The more connected devices, the less waste. If you’re involved in manufacturing at all, you know that waste-reduction and efficiency are key considerations that drive business philosophy day in and day out.

Waste reduction is so important in fact, that Toyota coined a commonly cited 3M model. Muda, Mura, Muri.IoT Manufacturing

Muda – is representative of the waste caused by poor processes and unnecessary movement

Mura – is the waste of inconsistency, your flow gets bogged down

Muri – is the waste of overburden or, too much stress on one area

Targeting these areas of waste is how Toyota became an industry leader and a lean manufacturing icon. For decades they stood unmatched by American and German automakers as the archetype of lean and smart processes.

The IoT helps manufacturers track yield rates. They help get targeted numbers to match actual numbers through the use of sensors.

Cameras add yet another layer to practical transparency. And because all of this data is being recorded, line managers can even access critical information on a cell phone, reducing all kinds of unnecessary overhead.

Some specific ways IoT sensors help manufacturers make better decisions are:

  • Real-time insights tracking performance on equipment sensors
  • Lot tracking and controls across all phases–from production to customer delivery
  • Predictive maintenance for machines based on cycle time
  • Inventory turnover and reduction in carrying costs
  • Improving regulatory compliance where appropriate

Having sensors allows for much greater visibility and efficiency at every stage of production. Incidentally, Ethernet provides a low power option for installing cameras and sensors over existing copper wiring.

Expect to see this industry flourish in 2018 as the capabilities of connected devices improve and enable even greater cost savings in the manufacturing sector.

The IoT in Finance

In 2018 the financial services sector is poised to shift their role even further from 3rd-party intermediaries to peer-to-peer business models. The blockchain is one of the key driving factors behind this evolution.

In lock-step, greater connectivity will enable numerous advances and improvements.IoT Finance

The transfer of data could become more decentralized, and banking’s role may change quite a bit. Monitoring and physical security may gain importance as security risks will also be reduced.

The end-user is a highly vulnerable security point for any enterprise. Physical workstations may actually become increasingly monitored over CCTV in a decentralized environment.

The IoT will bring yet more changes to the financial sector including infrastructure investments.

IDC Financial Insights predicts that retail banks will spend over $16 billion on digital information technology initiatives, and this spending will continue to increase. In fact, according to PWC’s 6th annual digital IQ survey, financial services is one of the top 10 industries that has been investing in sensors for potential IoT innovations.

Because devices are becoming more “intelligent” and can actually talk to data gathering algorithms, traditional services like online banking are becoming highly personalized.

The resulting specificity makes customer interactions feel individualized and customer loyalty improves.

What you might not know, though, is that consumers who receive personalized messages are nearly 20 times more likely to buy.

The IDC survey data also shows that by connecting the retail banking environment, banks can increase the adoption rate of extra lines of services dramatically with personalized, contextual messages.

This type of granular specificity is available to millions of customers simultaneously because devices can “talk” to each other.

2018 is going to be a big year for these innovations, so keep your eyes peeled.

The IoT in Transportation and Supply Chains

The supply chain provides the transport and storage of materials at every stage along the purchase and fulfillment process.

With so much involved and so many disparate locations involved in each process, the use of the Internet of Things in supply chain management (SCM) makes enormous sense.

Principally, the IoT can be readily found in procurement, transportation scheduling, vehicle tracking, and customer service. Tracking inventory through sensors, labels and other proximity devices has removed the guesswork and strain from those responsible. This is especially true when products are crossing international borders.

Because tracking has become more manageable, the focus for providers can shift from orders and shipping to customer satisfaction and delivery.

Data is so much more comprehensive nowadays, that decision-makers are much more well-informed. They’re able to take a closer look at costs and are using comparative analysis to pinpoint areas where there’s room for improvement and innovation.

Look for greater advances in logistical as the insights available due to IoT continues to improve.

The IoT in Energy

No discussion on how the IoT is transforming business would be complete without proper mention of the energy industry. After all, having enough affordable, sustainable energy affects everyone.

Having data from each phase of energy production allows particularly detailed measurements to be made. These can lead to enhancements and improvements as the technology develops. Some specifics we can learn from the internet of things with regard to the energy sector are…IoT Energy

  • How to maximize energy flow
  • Where inefficiencies occur that need repair
  • What states or countries are producing the most energy and who consumes the most
  • Who demonstrates the greatest efficiency
  • Where best to spend money for infrastructure upgrades
  • Where energy crises originate and how to plan for future events

This will even spillover into other areas, like where the greatest frequency in electric vehicles occur, and how to best provide recharging facilities to meet the demands of those vehicles.

By collecting and analyzing data in real-time, better prioritizing becomes available and quality of life can improve. We’re expecting big advancements on these fronts in 2018, so stay tuned!

Business-Centric Device Management

2018 is going to be a big year for business IoT. Organizations will maximize their reach and grow profitability with the help of “talky” device tracking.

Of course, that means busier installers helping businesses meet the demands of their customers and their infrastructure.

For more information about the IoT and help you may require in putting together a business-centric IoT installation, read our report.

Be sure to check back often, we’ll keep you updated throughout 2018 with all of the latest IoT news and innovations!