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The future of IoT promises to be boundless as it proceeds to significantly transform the way we interact with tech. IoT is changing industries and has become widespread in every field from consumer electronics to manufacturing lines, and very soon it will become an integral part of many processes. 

Let’s take a look at the latest Internet of Things trends that show a strong potential for 2021.

State of the IoT Market

While IoT technology is quite new and considered by many to be simply a buzzword, it is a technology that is actively used in business and personal lives. The number of IoT-connected devices worldwide is forecast to almost triple from 8.74 billion in 2020 to more than 25.4 billion in 2030. 

Despite the ongoing pandemic, the market for IoT devices continues to grow. In 2020, for one, there were more IoT connections—such as connected cars, smart home devices, and industrial equipment—than there were non-IoT connections such as smartphones, laptops, or computers. 

The Top 7 IoT Trends in 2021

While IoT impacts a lot of different industries, there are some trends to look out for over the course of 2021.

AI and IoT

For many years, experts claimed that artificial intelligence algorithms applied to the IoT data streams unlocked IoT’s real value. Hence, it is not unusual that 2021 created a new buzzword that became mainstream: AI + IoT= AIoT.

AIoT creates intelligent devices that model innovative behavior and help make decisions with little or no human intervention. While IoT works with devices interacting over the Internet, AI allows devices to learn from their data and experiences. IoT provides large amounts of data and AI analyzes the data provided by the sensors helping businesses to make more informed decisions.

Voice User Interfaces

Voice user interfaces (VUIs) such as Siri and Alexa enable user interaction with a system through voice or speech commands.

Voice-enabled virtual assistants can accelerate workflow and make it more efficient by providing a hand and an eyes-free way to interact with a product. For example, users can receive traffic information while driving and change their routes for quicker ones, or construction workers can have access to relevant knowledge on-demand and hands-free. In combination with IoT and AI, VUIs can provide real-time translation to any language while removing barriers in business and improving the overall quality of life.

Voice user interfaces are one of the biggest IoT trends

Voice technology continues to become more widespread in our lives. While these interfaces are critical for vehicles, people have started to rely on them to an ever-larger degree for smart home tasks. 

Recently, Amazon has presented a Voice Interoperability Initiative, which allows users to communicate with multiple voice services securely by simply saying their names.

Data Analytics

AI powers data analytics by drawing information out of pictures, voice recordings, and videos to turn data into valuable insights. 

IoT is transforming our lives through devices and sensors. Smart lights know when we are home and what room we are in. Smart refrigerators know when and what food to order. The smart home has become a bottomless source of data about a person and it allows manufacturers to get actionable data about habits and preferences. 

With AI and data analytics, these IoT trends will make each individual’s life easier and foster enhanced decision-making among market strategists and industry specialists. Data analytics and IoT help manufacturers gain new knowledge to optimize and speed up product development and predict product lifespan based on sales cycles and repeat orders.

Industrial IoT

The industrial internet of things (IIoT) is a combination of IoT technology and data with industrial processes to improve automation, performance, and productivity.

Industrial IoT is transforming the way businesses operate

Predictive Maintenance and Monitoring

Due to real-time monitoring and predictive maintenance, work processes are not interrupted, which allows business processes to stay intact. Collected data helps foresee when the exact equipment that needs maintenance and what part of the machine will be at risk of collapse. Also, it can provide recommendations, like how to increase production efficiency or how to optimize it in a particular unit. 

The ability to get an early alert about the problem helps troubleshoot and fix an issue even before it can lead to a serious malfunction. Moreover, workers normally need to perform manual maintenance checks, which is time-consuming. Hence, IIoT leads to improved maintenance procedures, reduced costs, enabled real-time monitoring and enhanced customer experience.

For example, in mining, large conveyors transport blocks from one place to another over long distances to extract valuable minerals. If equipment goes down, mine owners can lose millions of dollars. IoT sensors installed into conveyors gather and send data using a radio device to a remote monitoring app, which ensures that conveyors work without interruption.

Process Automation

Automating processes that eliminate human interference is one more reason to deploy IoT-connected apps in the industrial field. IIot techniques bring enhanced performance, reduced costs and minimized risk.

For example, IoT soil moisture sensors implemented in wireless modules, which transmit sensor data to the cloud or locally, allow farmers to control growth. Watering process automation ensures efficient use of water resources and sensors established on the farm can help remotely monitor the status of livestock and even identify at-risk animals sooner, which is crucial in this market.

IoT helps organizations leverage the power of data and detect and avoid issues that may cause delays. Moreover, it enables better allocation of resources and enhances worker skillfulness.

IoT in Healthcare

Allied Market Research reported that the global share of IoT in the healthcare market would reach $332.672 billion by 2027, with a CAGR of 13.20% from 2020 to 2027. 

IoT devices can significantly impact people’s health and overall well-being worldwide with a smart approach to healthcare. Sensors built into wearable devices such as smartwatches help track a person’s blood pressure, heart rate, sleep patterns and even receive insights into psychological attributes. Wearables can also monitor patient-specific symptoms and automatically alert physicians when there is a need for immediate medical attention. This helps save lives and live longer and healthier.

Smart healthcare is an IoT trend that can enhance patient care

Telemedicine powered by IoT will minimize unnecessary contact in cases where there is a risk of viral contamination, for example, care homes and infectious disease departments within medical institutions.

The ongoing pandemic has accelerated the adoption of tech-driven healthcare—original estimates for the number of online appointments with doctors in the US was 36 million. Still, in reality, it’s close to one billion. IoT trends in healthcare will inevitably continue during 2021, with more and more healthcare providers adopting innovative technologies for enhancing patient care.

Smart Cities

IoT ecosystems integrated into cities will provide sustainable development and enhanced security. Singapore, Dubai, Boston, New York, London, and other cities are already developing IoT ecosystems—smart sensors in waste containers to manage garbage pickup, digital kiosks to provide real-time information on buses, monitoring systems for bus drivers using AI to reduce traffic accidents, and more.

Traffic Management

A combination of IoT sensors gathering data and machine learning algorithms can enable real-time analysis and monitoring. IoT sensors installed in a city will allow traffic monitoring on road networks and driving pattern tracking to provide risk alerts, navigation recommendations, and optimize traffic in real-time in case of accidents. 

5G Networks

The deployment of 5G networks is dramatically improving data connectivity and speed for citizens worldwide. IoT devices will benefit from these speed boosts regardless of their locations, whether in standalone devices or in smartphones and tablets. 5G networks offer cell site densification, which provides increased network capacity and higher mobile data speed, enabling advanced analytics for decision-making in real-time. 5G networks will also extend connectivity to areas currently inaccessible.

Edge Computing

5G and edge computing work in combination. While 5G increases the data volume, edge computing utilizes data to run predictions locally instead of sending it elsewhere for analysis, enabling faster and more efficient processing.

Edge equipment like nodes and gateways connect to IoT devices and help them communicate with data centers and reduce traffic to the network. This allows the management of a vast amount of data that each device transmits.

Edge computing with IoT enables management of huge amounts of data

Smart Vehicles

IoT-based monitoring and management of commercial vehicles will empower companies with better insights regarding the health of their fleet and driver behavior—for example, the ability to view trucks’ performance statistics like fuel and mileage, track traffic conditions on the road, and manage routes. Some intelligent transport systems can use weather forecasts to alert drivers about weather conditions or accidents on the road.

Self-driving vehicles, with large companies like Tesla or Ford investing in them, blur the lines between reality and magic for the rest of the world. Imagine the number of reduced car accidents as there will be no room for human error. Or you can leave your car anywhere and use your smartphone to automatically deliver the car to your doorstep.

Moreover, some exciting initiatives have appeared, such as urban delivery robots implemented by Amazon or Nuro vehicles for transporting goods. 

Smart Home and Building Management

Smart home devices are now commonplace—IoT-powered software like lights, speakers, cameras, locks, and smoke detectors allow the automation of individuals’ routines using simple commands.

For example, sensors, cameras, and doorbells can send alerts on your smartphone when a visitor or package arrives. Your morning alarm clock can turn on bedroom lights, adjust the living room thermostat, open all window shades simultaneously, and even start your coffee machine. 

A smart home with IoT devices allows automation of routine tasks

IoT building management allows maintenance staff to monitor critical systems and services in real-time and even perform some maintenance remotely.

Many organizations now reinforce their systems with IoT to significantly decrease maintenance costs, as maintenance staff can manage multiple buildings remotely using sensors. For example, Cisco Systems manages over 300 buildings worldwide from four locations, which saves money and engineers’ time. 

Furthermore, IoT sensors can dramatically impact energy consumption and utilization by detecting motion and heat. Smart meters can monitor energy use in homes and business facilities, balancing supply to optimize use during peaks and avoid waste. This can help automatically reduce the usage of lighting and heating and cooling, helping businesses save thousands of dollars every year and minimizing equipment runtime with maximized energy savings.

IoT in Supply Chains

IoT inventory systems allow for monitoring supply levels in real-time, informing managers, and preventing shortages. Moreover, businesses can analyze the data from these systems to predict future inventory needs and monitor any item at every step in the logistics chain from raw materials to the final product at the retail location. 

IoT in supply chains ensures visibility and real-time tracking

IoT devices with GPS can track everything from a shipment’s location to its current temperature, providing real-time data to enhance tracking and monitoring of the products during transportation. Moreover, such systems can send critical activity alerts to enable proactive management of every shipment anywhere in the world.

IoT-powered supply chain management can help to identify any issues with goods early, and enhance inventory visibility and tracking—for example, monitoring specific indicators such as temperature, humidity and even predicting whether the products will exceed the permissible limits during transportation.

The combination of IoT and blockchain can ensure traceability across the chain and reduce risks. With a unique blockchain across the different supply chains, stakeholders can ensure that exchanged wares are authenticated, thus preventing potential fraud. 

IoT in Education

IoT devices provide students with better access to everything from learning materials to communication channels, enhancing the learning process significantly. Students can learn how to code using visual code blocks representing real-world programming concepts before moving on to popular languages like JavaScript and Python. For example, the innovative SmartGurlz IoT app for smartphones and tablets helps girls learn basic programming and code their Siggy Robots. This can enhance students’ engagement and allow a better comprehension of difficult topics through IoT technology.

IoT can also improve learning process conditions. IoT temperature and lighting systems control allow customization of settings and provide better and more energy-efficient conditions. They also can provide accommodations for students with disabilities or special needs, and provide additional safety by sending alerts in case of dangerous substances in the air, which may be especially relevant for chemical laboratories.

As for security, the school administration can use sensors in door locks and create a security protocol to coordinate buildings in case of different kinds of emergencies. This can include different actions and programs triggered on various IoT devices, providing protection in the event of a fire or other threats. Student smart cards can be presented to an authentication reader and connected to an access control system via IoT—card types include cards for physical access to facilities, photo ID, time and attendance, medical records, and more.

In a Nutshell

IoT trends that make individuals’ lives easier and safer—along with transforming the way businesses are operating— are shaping the future. IoT is transforming more and more industries, infiltrating everywhere—from large corporations to everyday life. This adoption gives us access to new, actionable data. Combining IoT with other cutting-edge technologies gives us more opportunities to automate and optimize routine processes, increase efficiency, and enhance performance.

This sector and market are poised for explosive growth and you need to have the right partner in your corner to help you be successful. At NIX we understand the technology and can help you understand how best to adapt it to your business. Contact us and let us guide you into the future of IoT.

Julia Zelinska
Julia Zelinska Software Solutions Expert

Julia is a high-skilled IT consultant using her vast experience as a project manager and sales expert to help CEOs and founders of tech companies assemble and scale engineering teams to build quality IoT solutions and drive business growth.


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