IoT appeared recession-proof during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to keynote panelists at the first major US expo held in more than a year.

Chuck Martin, Editorial Director AI & IoT

June 29, 2021

2 Min Read

Device security, the impact of COVID-19, and the realities of 5G connectivity were top of mind at the IoT Evolution Expo and TechSuperShow last week.

The in-person event, held at the Miami Beach Convention Center, drew nearly 4,000 attendees to tackle a range of IoT topics.

In an IoT keynote roundtable discussion, a major conclusion was that COVID-19 “woke people up” to the power of technology and proved the Internet of Things (IoT) was recession-proof.

The panel agreed that the primary concern moving forward was attracting sufficient skilled IT talent to build and operate technologies that will fuel digitization.

“The lack of skilled workers is the No. 1 issue,” said James Brehm, chief technology evangelist at James Brehm and Associates.

Brehm was joined by Ryan Martin, research director at ABI Research, as well as John Pelson, author of “Wireless Wars,” and Akshay Sharma, chief technology officer at 5G industrial IoT enablement firm Motivitee.

Securing IoT Devices Remains Vexing Challenge

As might be expected, the discussion turned to IoT security. While panelists agreed IoT security today comes ‘baked in’ to many devices, the assumption should be that all connected entities are vulnerable.

In today’s connected networks, every interaction is a zero-trust interaction, the panelists noted, and “Everyone is exposed, no matter what you do.”

Analysts concurred that connected intelligence is coming of age and said they anticipated company consolidations lay ahead.

“Finally, the word ‘smart’ is real,” said Akshay Sharma, who is also principal analyst at industry digital tech consultancy Next Curve.

Promise of 5G Remains in Future Tense

Throughout at the conference, 5G’s promise was mentioned in relation to numerous industries, though some, such as retail, are likely to see impact sooner than others.

“In manufacturing, 5G is not happening,” said ABI Research’s Martin, “Historically, the cellular device ecosystem has lagged two to three years behind the development of new standards. The first set of 5G standards pertaining to manufacturing and industrial applications were solidified in 2020: The earliest the market will see 5G at a meaningful scale is 2022 to 2023.”

Panelists also suggested 5G would eventually develop to the stage where it supports businesses in moving from asset monitoring to remote control.

This was the first major in-person IoT expo held in the U.S. in more than year, and the advice imparted at the keynote was bountiful.

Panelists urged enterprises to lean harder on system integrators to deliver and seek turnkey enterprise applications custom built to their needs.

Cutting through the noise is also crucial, they agreed, to identify device vendors that strive to solve real-world problems.

About the Author(s)

Chuck Martin

Editorial Director AI & IoT

Chuck Martin, author of "Flying Vehicles," New York Times Business Bestselling author and futurist, is Editorial Director at Informa Tech, home of AI Business, IoT World Today and Enter Quantum. Martin has been a leader in emerging digital technologies for more than two decades. He is considered one of the foremost emerging technology experts in the world and his latest book title "Flying Vehicles" (The Emergence of Personal Air Travel, Flying Cars, and Air Taxis) followed "Digital Transformation 3.0" (The New Business-to-Consumer Connections of The Internet of Things).  He hosts a worldwide podcast titled “The Voices of the Internet of Things with Chuck Martin,” where he converses with top executives from the companies driving the adoption of emerging technology.

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