IoT Predictions for 2019: Less Hype, More Pragmatism
picking up, surging ahead of the competition in 2018.
All indications show the smart home market will continue to grow, said Charlene Marini, vice president of strategy, IoT Services Group at Arm. Marini expects “an uptick in the availability of IoT home products with the expansion of products available to consumers from mainstream household brands.” Potential areas of growth include lighting, irrigation, heating and cooling, Marini said, adding that the technology will bring increased automation to everyday tasks.
A Northstar survey commissioned by Arm of 2000 consumers indicates that holiday spending on smart technology will be strong at the close of 2018, with 54 percent expecting to spend more on tech-based gifts than they did last year.
If holiday spending on smart home technology does indeed surge, it will likely be a boon for the market throughout 2019.
5G Won’t Hit Its Stride in 2019
No doubt about it, 5G hype is on the upswing. And the technology, when it roles out widely will undoubtedly be a boon for many IoT deployments. But already this December, there are already signs that early 5G implementations don’t live up to their marketing. A recent demo of the technology at the Qualcomm Snapdragon Technology Summit in Hawaii was reportedly less than impressive, according to The Verge. The 5G connections demoed at the event “aren’t anywhere near as fast as 5G is supposed to be,” writes Verge Senior News Editor Sean Hollister. “They’re slower than the Comcast internet connection I have at home.”
5G won’t likely hit its stride in 2019, according to Taoglas CEO Dermot O’Shea. “Many of the 5G announcements that are getting buzz are just marketing talk,” he said. Early 5G deployments are pre-standard and the field is simply too immature too clearly predict when the technology will reach mainstream deployment. While Samsung is prepping a 5G phone in collaboration with Verizon and AT&T, Apple will likely wait until 2020 to do the same.
Gartner estimated in 2018 that 5G adoption will hit mainstream adoption within two to five years. In 2019, 5G hardware will continue being installed at base station sites but the software “is simply not ready,” O’Shea said. 5G-enabled phones “will likely be ready by mid-2019, but that doesn’t mean anything until the rest of the pieces are in place. IoT does not need to worry about 5G until at least 2020,” he added.
More Focused (and Centralized) IoT-Related Blockchain Applications Will Arrive
In terms of leading technology trends in 2018, there was something of a blockchain bonanza in the beginning of the year that steadily cooled throughout the year. In August, Gartner estimated in a report that the technology was sinking into the trough of disillusionment, and that it was five to 10 years away from mainstream adoption.
While a vocal contingent of blockchain supporters remains committed to the original anti-authoritarian promise of the technology, blockchain is starting to look a lot like a business tool for the enterprise. Blockchain has powerful support from prominent financial firms like JP Morgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway. It also enjoys backing from tech firms like SAP, Microsoft, Alphabet and Apple, as well as other notable firms such as Shell, Toyota and Walmart. In addition, companies such as Bosch, Fujitsu and Volkswagen are working with the distributed-ledger-focused IOTA Foundation to explore commercial blockchain applications. The support of such firms bodes well for the technology’s long-term commercial potential.
But as The New York Times recently captured in an article titled “The Hope and Betrayal of Blockchain,” the reputation of the technology as a decentralized trust-enabler is fading. As blockchain adoption gradually matures, the technology is becoming more centralized. There is, on the one hand, the growth in B2B distributed ledger applications based on centralized private blockchains. On the other hand, public peer-to-peer applications are “based on public blockchain networks — which are all centralized,” as the New York Times notes.