2017 IoT Trends and Momentum

By Chris Penrose

From global solutions to the rapid explosion of sensors, the future is bright for the Internet of Things in 2017.

We are continuing to see growing momentum in the Internet of Things, primarily driven by enterprise adoption. Businesses are seeing the value of the IoT and it's potential to provide critical insights that can be a real differentiator. In 2017, we'll connect and share more than ever before. Here are a few IoT trends that will continue to be big this year.

IoT Solutions that Transcend Country and Continent Borders Are in Demand
As the need for a global IoT continues, we at AT&T are fine-tuning our global capabilities and the relationships that will support it. We're deploying our LTE-M network nationwide in the second quarter, and in Mexico by the end of the year. That will bring deeper in-building coverage, longer battery life, lower costs and smaller modules—LTE-M will be a game-changer.

There are complexities to deploying truly global offerings, and we're positioned to make that process simple, highly secure and scalable. The move toward global standardization across connectivity, platforms and applications will help produce better, more impactful results.

Enterprise Executives Are Setting the Stage for the Future of the IoT
As IoT solutions beg for more efficient connectivity, companies are calling on their leadership to help navigate roadblocks like legal restrictions and cultural nuances. The stakes are too big, the investment too high and the security risks too grave to cobble together IoT solutions. Business leaders will have to step up to the plate and line their bench with established providers that offer enterprise-grade solutions. CEOs will have to carry this vision and push companies to adapt and create change.

It's a New Era for Business IoT—the Connected Lines Are Blurring
For the Internet of Things this year, a sizable number of solutions will ultimately lead back to the consumer. Enterprises and innovators will come together to manage and improve customer experiences through the IoT, allowing them to reach consumers in a way they never thought possible. Combined data collection will lead to new IoT technologies and real results—solidifying a revolution in the way we connect, interact and process information.

Take BD (Becton, Dickinson and Co.) as an example. This global medical technology company is advancing the world of health by improving medical discovery, diagnostics and the delivery of care. BD recently previewed its next-generation wireless diagnostic test system, which uses an AT&T Global SIM card to send test results from the platform to the BD cloud. The BD cloud then transmits the data to a laboratory information system or electronic health records system, thereby enabling clinicians to readily access the information and integrate test results into patient records. The end result: better insights for better patient care.

Millions of Sensors Could Lead to Millions of Solutions
IoT sensors are multiplying exponentially. Millions of connection points mean more available information and efficient data-gathering. Data from sensors will become richer as we combine multiple data sources to inform new insights. Near-real-time data will lead to on-demand action, personalization and enhanced service.

For example, what happens when you connect an elevator or a food waste recycling system? These aren't hypothetical situations—these are real use cases.

AT&T and Otis Elevator Co. are collaborating to enhance connectivity through the use of the IoT to better connect with customers, as well as with elevator, escalator and moving walkway equipment. AT&T's Global SIM card and IoT services, such as Control Center, M2X and Flow Designer, allow Otis to access near-real-time equipment performance data. This collaboration is exploring ways to harness the power of digital technologies and communications networks to improve performance, lower costs and deliver better results for customers.

Emerson tapped our IoT solutions to advance its innovative Grind2Energy food waste recycling system. With these new capabilities, Emerson will provide near-real-time environmental sustainability information, performance data reporting and data analytics to its customers. This will improve predictive maintenance and visibility to provide remote service. The newly developed IoT technology solution will also streamline tank monitoring analytics and pump-out scheduling coordination.

Defense Will Become the Best Offense Because Hackers Aren't Going Anywhere
Drones, autonomous vehicles, connected health devices—it's connected solutions like these that require more layers of security than ever before. Hackers are ready to exploit weaknesses, find backdoor access points and mine for profitable data. Rigorous attention must be paid to securing these new endpoints in our information and operational networks. With great innovation comes great responsibility, and companies that prioritize security will gain the competitive edge this year.

From global solutions to the rapid explosion of sensors, the future is bright for the IoT in 2017.

Chris Penrose is the president of AT&T's Internet of Things organization. He is responsible for leading AT&T's global Internet of Things initiatives across industry verticals. This includes automotive, agriculture, manufacturing, fleet management, asset tracking, health care, drones, energy, smart cities, retail and consumer electronics. Chris and his team operate on a global scale and drive the strategy and execution for highly secure connectivity, platforms, professional services and end-to-end IoT solutions. From connected cars to connected cities, Chris has led AT&T to become recognized as one of the leading IoT companies in the world.