IoT in 2023: Seven trending topics
IoT in 2023: Seven trending topics
There are currently over 14 billion IoT devices installed across the globe, a number expected to soar to over 27 billion by 2025 (source IoT Analytics Research 2022).
The rapid growth of IoT is changing the way we live and work – and transforming how we generate, share, collect and make use of data.
The next twelve months promise to see IoT devices deployed even wider, drawing on new technologies and capabilities. There are also changes afoot for how we protect data and how businesses will need to adapt to meet regulatory requirements.
We’ve compiled a (non-exhaustive) list of some of the key trends in IoT that might define the year ahead.
1) Governance and Regulation
Businesses that rely on IoT devices, particularly those multinational organizations that operate in a number of different countries, face an increasingly complex regulatory environment.
There’s a growing understanding that IoT growth needs to be managed in a way that avoids conflict with privacy issues and personal rights and, as such, governments are starting to develop more robust legal and regulatory frameworks to cope. This may change how devices are developed and deployed.
In the EU, for example, it’s expected that new legislation will be introduced that requires manufacturers and operators of IoT devices to follow stricter rules around data – how it can be collected, where it can be stored, and what is needed to protect against breaches. It’s also likely to address some of the emerging issues around edge computing (more on that later).
Elsewhere, 2023 will see the culmination of a three-year plan by the Chinese government to introduce policies that allow for the widespread adoption of IoT technologies.
2) Additional focus on security
The vast number of connected devices in the world means that businesses, and data, are more vulnerable to new and varied forms of cyberattack. The burden will increasingly be on manufacturers and operators to take preventative action to keep malicious actors at bay and forefront security in the development of new devices.
Policy makers are already making moves to standardize the security requirements of IoT devices. In the US, for example, the White House National Security Council is hoping to introduce standardized security labeling for consumer-focused IoT devices in the early part of the year. The UK is also looking to formalize its own Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure bill.
Addressing cybersecurity risk in new devices will not only be a regulatory requirement, but a strength that IoT developers can provide to their clients. Expect it to be a hot topic this year.
3) (Even) more AI
The close relationship between Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the IoT is nothing new. But the scale of growth in this area, and the new opportunities it will bring, could be quite remarkable.
As recently as 2019, the technological research and consulting firm Gartner stated that only one in ten IoT projects were using AI to develop insights. By the start of 2023, they believe that this will have soared – with over eight in ten IoT projects being paired with AI.
With so much data being collected by smart devices, the need for AI to make sense of it has become unavoidable. This is particularly true across large-scale projects, such as managing complex global supply chains, or in smart cities that rely on a network of smart systems.
4) More processing at the edge
Edge processing describes how IoT data is gathered and processed ‘at the edge’ of a device, rather than it being sent via networks to the cloud, or a dashboard. By avoiding the short time lags that come from transmitting said data, it can provide even more real-time insight.
It has been a matter of discussion for some time now, but 2023 could be the year that it takes off in IoT devices.
It’s certainly on the minds of network providers. With the predicted explosion in deployment of smart devices there is a heightened risk of network congestion, and devices with edge processing capabilities will help to allay some of those anticipated problems.
5) Blast off for Satellite IoT
As network providers look to ease congestion on existing networks, 2023 will likely be the year that we see more and more IoT devices relying on satellites.
New networks are being launched, based on terrestrial cellular and LPWA technologies, but supported by systems of satellites. It will be especially valuable for providing network coverage in rural and remote areas – and it adds an extra layer of network reliability as it isn’t reliant on traditional technologies that can be vulnerable to disruption.
Expect to see it being deployed in devices for the shipping, agriculture, defense and energy sectors in particular.
6) IoT in Healthcare
Truthfully, the importance of IoT devices in healthcare is not a new trend. But the COVID-19 pandemic forced the hand of many healthcare providers to focus on an IoT-first approach to healthcare, and 2023 is set to be the year in which it becomes the norm.
We are already familiar with wearable devices that can monitor health conditions in real-time. It has changed the nature of how healthcare professionals support patients without the need for hospital or surgery visits. But 2023 will see even more reliance on IoT devices that allow for automated medicine intake, advanced monitoring and more. By deploying sensors, both through wearable devices and in the patient’s home, more of us will be treated via the “virtual hospital ward”.
It’s not only the patient experience that is being transformed. Smart devices are already being used in hospitals and over healthcare settings to improve efficiency and reduce strain on staff, by providing insight on bed availability or pinpointing potential cost-savings in energy use.
7) Energy efficiency
The global energy crisis has hastened the need to focus on energy preservation and the optimization of infrastructure.
Developers have been ahead of the curve here, providing devices and software that can monitor energy usage (or indeed of other utilities) in real-time. What we will likely see in 2023 is an even greater emphasis on efficiency from governments, industries and individual citizens – and a continued boom in deployment.
It’s not only going to be in the energy sector, though, all large-scale infrastructure projects will be looking to improve efficiency. Smart devices allow for greater insight and informed decision making, so it may be that a manufacturing plant decides to schedule their energy-intensive work during the times of the day when energy tariffs are cheaper, for example.
So while it was already a key consideration, devices that improve efficiency are perhaps even more important than ever.