Everyone who’s involved in Internet of Things (IoT)-related activities knows or feels it: the hype is over. Inflated expectations are slowly making room for disillusion and doubt. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing: it proves that the business is maturing. But this is exactly the phase in which it’s crucial to remain focused on what’s to come.
IoT, overestimated or underestimated?
We always overestimate short-term changes and underestimate changes in the long run. The reason is that when looking to the future, the human mind tends to project the impact of new technologies in a linear way.
The productivity of new tech, however, follows an S-curve: it incubates slowly and accelerates later.
This leads to a phase of overestimation first; after that comes a phase of underestimation. Right now, IoT is reaching the intersection of linear thinking and the S-curve of productivity. This evolution is closely related to Gartner’s famous hype cycle. In last year’s edition, we noticed that IoT platforms and connected homes are sliding down the steep slope of the ‘trough of disillusionment’.
What are the IoT concerns?
The main Internet of Things concerns are volume, skills, security and integration. IoT-connected device producers and IoT platform developers all agree that volume is an issue. Billions of devices are expected to be connected soon, but the margins are small and nobody seems to be able to capture a chunk that is big enough to be profitable.
IoT experts are sparse. Ever more people are expanding their IoT knowledge, but supply isn’t growing as fast as demand. When it comes to hardware, software, gateways, mobile applications, cloud and enterprise architecture, the world urgently needs more specialists.
As always, security is a point of concern, especially in Industry 4.0 applications. Integrating IoT solutions in a broader en enterprise solution architecture is challenging. This also means that IoT data only becomes valuable when integrated in a company’s information systems, such as ERP’s and CRM’s, energy and facility management systems, etc.
In other words: there are more than enough challenges ahead – but at the same time, all the above questions prove that the adoption of IoT is proceeding well. Concerns are more specific. We are moving from a Proof of Concept towards a Proof of Value attitude.
Let’s carry on and keep our eyes peeled because before we know it, IoT will move on to the slope of enlightenment, and many will find themselves underestimating an incredible technological evolution with a lot of value for businesses and consumers.