Four Predictions for the IoT in 2019

How will the Industrial Internet of Things market change during the coming year?
Published: January 27, 2019

It’s that time of year again to look into the crystal ball and imagine how the industrial IoT (IIoT) market will change in 2019. Our inspiration this year comes from the usual mix of sources, including our work on the frontlines with our industrial customers, our collaborations with tier one partners like Amazon Web Services (AWS), and the stable of bright minds that make up the Bsquare team. But unlike some of our past forecasting, many of our predictions this year have been heavily shaped by a new type of customers who know exactly what they want.

Today’s IoT leaders are becoming increasingly confident in what they need to succeed. Whether that’s through their own experience or their peers, they’re eliminating unnecessary steps, and the wasted time and budget that usually comes along with them, to get to where they want to go much faster. This means big changes are ahead from providers, from what they offer and where, to how they offer it.

Below are four predictions in how the IIoT is being influenced by this savvy, new group of customers.

Prediction #1: Initial IoT Deployments Will Replace Pilots
We predict that due to a growing confidence in the IoT across business leaders, organizations will skip pilots in favor of initial deployments. This is because IIoT solutions have been proven to work, so there is no longer a need for companies to start with a trial. In fact, doing so can raise total investment costs and delay a business’s ability to reach higher levels of maturity quickly, such as automation, at which a return on investment (ROI) is maximized.

Quick Tip: Before beginning an initial deployment, know what you want to achieve with the technology. Getting started first, and then trying to figure it out, wastes time and resources.

Prediction #2: Customized IoT Services and Apps Will Usurp One-Size-Fits-All IoT Software
The market’s first IoT software platforms were billed as a one-size-fits all solution. But what real-world customers have discovered is that these offerings aren’t always flexible enough to meet their unique needs. We predict a growing number of IIoT vendors will broaden their offerings with services and apps that fit a broader array of needs—and unlike yesterday’s platforms, these solutions will be offered through partnerships with a business’s existing cloud service provider, such as AWS or Microsoft Azure (more on this in prediction #4).

Quick Tip: If you have sacrificed goals around scale, scope or quality because your one-size-fits-all software couldn’t support them, it’s time to look at the next generation of tailor-made apps and services for better outcomes.

Prediction #3: More Industrial Companies Will Turn to IoT Cloud Solutions
Industrial companies have typically rejected the cloud and favored on-premise technology to meet their stringent security requirements. During the coming year, we predict that the tide will change, and that we will see more industrial companies trusting—even preferring—cloud solutions. This approach not only opens up new scale options, but also can reduce costs.

Quick Tip: Consider edge computing, security and TCO when evaluating your cloud partner.

Prediction #4: IoT Apps Will Be Available at Convenient Browse-and-Buy App Stores
IIoT platform vendors are realizing that a single software platform will not work for all customers, due to the unique nature of each business. As a result, these firms are embracing services and offering IoT applications through partnerships with leading cloud service providers, such as AWS or Azure. This approach offers a lot of incentive for IoT platform vendors. First, they can be faster to market if they leverage the software and R&D of cloud providers. Second, their built-in security, higher availability and greater scale matches what customers have come to expect.

With this shift, we predict that we are going to see more IoT applications become available in the app store format. Partnering with cloud providers in this way will bring IoT applications to the broader marketplace much more quickly—so much so that we predict service revenues will eclipse product revenues for the IIoT by the end of 2019.

Quick Tip: Just like your favorite app store for movies and music, IoT app stores will feature reviews. Reading these first-hand accounts can help educate you before you make a buying decision. Just as importantly, leaving a review will help others like you to confidently move along in the process.

Until now, the Internet of Things has found success in industrial verticals with high-value assets, such as manufacturing or oil and gas. With more IoT applications and services becoming available at app stores, businesses in many industries will be able to add the IoT with a click of a button. This will excitingly open the door for new market entrants, such as those from e-commerce and retail.

Dave McCarthy is a leading authority on the Industrial IoT. As the VP at Bsquare Corp., he advises Fortune 1000 customers on how to integrate device and sensor data with their enterprise systems to improve business outcomes. Dave regularly speaks at technology conferences around the globe and recently delivered the keynote presentation at Internet of Things North America. He earned an MBA degree with honors from Northeastern University.