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2018 Was Supposed to Be the IoT's Breakout Moment, But It's Not…

The Internet of Things may not yet be poised for a breakout moment, but it is providing solutions to help companies solve their IT problems and improve the way they do business.
By Anastasia Efstratios

3. The IIoT is beginning to show definitive ROI in some verticals:
Manufacturing and other industrial industries are seeing significant adoption of the IoT as Industry 4.0 moves from concept to reality—and it is changing the way a wide range of verticals do business. We're seeing smart factories use sensors to track assets, and oil and gas rigs deliver readings within seconds from rugged and remote locations where resources and bandwidth are traditionally limited. Those who adopted connected technologies early are seeing the payoff in terms of reduced equipment downtime, energy consumption, new levels of automation and better operational efficiency. During the second half, we expect to see the ROI from these industrial apps become even more plentiful and concrete as traditionally siloed IT and OT teams work together to squeeze every ounce of value out of their new Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) deployments on the plant floor.

4. Blockchain promises a new foundation to support connections:
While blockchain is synonymous with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, it's promising an entirely new way to view and manage the IoT. At its heart, blockchain enables new ways for data to be stored, recorded and distributed with a promise of better security. And for IoT applications and platforms, which are highly distributed and decentralized, blockchain delivers a foundational infrastructure that could allow devices to transfer data back and forth via a reliable, scalable and time-stamped digital handshake. While the combination of these two technologies will no doubt present a host of legal and compliance issues, we're starting to see more synergies arise as companies explore the security and tracking benefits blockchain can offer for the IoT. We don't expect big moves with this yet, as no one has cracked the security code for the IoT, let alone the blockchain code.

5. Security moves beyond data to protect against imminent danger:
In 2018, you no longer have to go to the movies to hear about a worst-case scenario. Alexa reaches out to your co-worker on her own, Cortana allows hackers to change your password, and Siri reads private notifications out loud—and that's just the personal assistants. From vehicle systems being remotely manipulated to medical devices sending or reacting to misinformation, the IoT can mean a scary world. Look for more incidents to be made public and a brand-new crop of vendors—from existing network and security companies to large and small services providers—to jockey for position to help companies get on an even playing field with malicious hackers.

So is the Internet of Things poised to have a breakout moment as we look to the second half of the year? Probably not. But it will persist steadily in its momentum, delivering solutions to help us solve our biggest IT problems while ushering in an entirely new way to do business.

Anastasia Efstratios is the VP of Boston-based technology and healthcare PR firm LPP. She has more than 20 years of industry experience consulting and leading teams for flagship brands across the technology sector.

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