Every year Machina Research makes a set of predictions for what will happen in the world of IoT/M2M. We asked some of their thought leaders to give us a sneak preview of predictions for 2015.
1. Enterprises will get cracking in IoT. Right now enterprises are wondering what this IoT thing is. Next year the rubber hits the road. We will see a lot more commercial deployments of enterprise IoT. There’s a huge amount more interest from a diverse range of enterprises. Until now it’s been exploratory. In 2015 it becomes meaningful.
2. More productised offerings. There will be many more platforms and solutions enabling out-of-the-box connected devices. This area has been somewhat overlooked up until now, with everybody focusing on industrial/ application type platforms. Just enabling lots of ‘same’ devices to communicate may be less glamourous, but the numbers involved are huge.
3. More M&A. During 2014 we’ve seen a lot of interesting M&A, not least PTC acquiring Axeda, in addition to ThingWorx, as well as recent deals that saw Kore buy RACO Wireless, and Sierra Wireless buy Maingate. 2015 should see more of the same, particularly involving two types of companies. Data analytics providers will be increasingly appealing as companies seek to broaden their service offerings to include analytics capabilities. Meanwhile full service providers such as Numerex, Aeris Communications and Raco/Kore will become increasingly attractive acquisition targets. As the primary full-service M2M solution providers in the space, these mid-tier companies provide a crucial service path to enterprises looking to build and design IoT and M2M projects. 2015 will be the year of consolidation for these agile companies.
4. Breakthroughs in smart city service deployments. 2015 will be the year when we’ll see some real commercial success stories in smart cities, especially from services that save money. Street lighting is a good example because electricity consumption is a major part of the OPEX for the city. Machina Research’s new Smart Cities Research Stream delves into this area in much more detail.
5. Major OS vendors disrupt the connected car market. 2015 will be the year that one of the major OS players makes a disruptive intervention in the connected car market through an innovative after-market device and platform play. There are a number of interesting start-ups in this area with OBD-based propositions that are sound but sub-scale. Several look ripe for acquisition or emulation by the big boys.
6. Mobile phone as the gateway for IoT. Machina Research had already highlighted the possibility back in the beginning of 2014 that the smartphone would be integral to IoT, when for example looking at iBeacons and wearables. What will become even more interesting is when data analytics uses the mobile phone as one of many processing platforms for geo-distributed analytics (which it will be able to, given the processors and memory).
7. A year for avatars. This will be a very good year for avatars – digital representations of things that are open to standards-based Web APIs, thereby obviating the need for app developers to engage with connectivity protocols. Machina Research published a Research Note on one such firm, Evrythng, last year.
8. A crunch on regulation. Machina Research launched a service looking specifically at M2M & IoT Regulation in 2014 and it’s a critical area in 2015. Regulators are set to focus much more attention on M2M and IoT. This is both good and bad. There is a quicksand of regulatory uncertainty threatening to hold back M2M deployments, in particular around permanent roaming. We’ll also see more regulators wanting to adopt a nurturing approach to IoT.
9. Segmenting for success and identifying role in IoT. It’s a function of the maturity of the sector that companies throughout the M2M and IoT value chain will increasingly realise that they can’t sell everything to everyone. Everyone selling into this sector will become more discriminating. This means all players will need to better define their role in the Internet of Things.
10. Privacy and security. Issues of privacy and security reach the top of the agenda. The complexity of IoT solutions will require a fresh way of thinking about security. Requirements will vary massively depending on the application, while the number of moving parts in any solution mean that there are a lot of potential weak links. Security will need to be considered on an end-to-end basis. Furthermore M2M and, particularly, IoT involve the widespread sharing of data. Understanding the dynamic and implications of all of that data sharing will be critical.