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IoT trends 2019 revisited

IoT is on the rise, growing 20% per year. What were the biggest trends of 2019? From digital twins to predictive maintenance and ransomware.

An interview with Jannes Van De Maele, Technology Manager & Founder @ Bagaar

IoT Trends 2019 show a clear increase in connected devices with a staggering 20% growth every year. Falling prices of sensors have definitely boosted adoption. Right now, there are about 20 billion connected devices. That means that for every person on this planet there are close to 3 connected devices. So where are they and what are they up to? We have selected some interesting IoT Trends 2019 for you.

Graph with IoT units installed between 2014 and 2020

IoT is just one part of a growing technical ecosystem that’s becoming ever more interwoven: AI, Big data, machine learning, deep learning, mesh networks…  From gathering a lot of data from different channels, we‘re now letting data interact more with each other. This will improve insights, improving decisions in their turn. Great news, right? Well yes and no. As you will find out, this tech ecosystem comes with both opportunities and risks.

IoT Trends 2019 #1:
Digital Twins

Digital twins has been a buzzword for a long time now. But what does it mean? It’s about creating a digital copy of something physical. This can be anything, a brain, a person, a car, a whole city. The digital twin serves as a lab where you can run simulations to make predictions about the future. IoT is what bridges the gap between the physical and the digital realm. 

Take Fitbit, it could help build a digital twin. Its sensors monitor your activity (walking, swimming, cycling), the calories you burn and track your heart rate and sleep quality. This information can help predict your future illnesses. So digital twins can pave the road towards personalised healthcare. 

Dark smart city with connected people

Artificial Intelligence (AI) also plays an important role here. You can create a digital twin of a whole city with virtual people to experiment on. Toyota is in fact building a complete smart city, the Toyota Woven City featuring all the technology buzzwords. Imagine the wealth of valuable data that comes out of this. The impact of a new type of public transport can be tested or driverless cars, the adoption of AI and robots at home, you name it. 

IoT Trends 2019 #2:
Predictive Maintenance

The worst-case scenario for a factory: a production line collapses. Companies bleed money when this happens. Now, IoT can help prevent these horror scenarios through predictive maintenance. Needless to say that this is an increasingly popular IoT Trend.  

With the help of sensors, a company can be notified when a machine needs maintenance before the whole system shuts down or starts to malfunction. It simplifies maintenance and prevents loss of quality and manufacturing speed.

Bagaar is currently working on a (still top secret) project for a company specialized in grinding optimization. It produces machines that pulverize giant rocks into gravel. You can imagine the anvils inside are susceptible to some wear and tear. As they’re wearing down the machine risks getting damaged. So we installed sensors tracking the condition of these anvils, triggering an order for new ones so they can be replaced in time. All of that without pushing a button, handy, right?
   

IoT Trends 2019 #3: 
Security & Privacy

Everything gets more and more connected and starts working like a brain commanding body parts. One little problem though. If the brain shuts down, everything shuts down.

The maritime giant MAERSK learned this the hard way. In 2017 it became the victim of ransomware. Within only a few hours, a company responsible for 76 ports around the world and nearly 800 vessels was dead in the water.

Recently, there was a case closer to home. Picanol, a manufacturer of weaving machines located in Ypres, was the biggest known victim of ransomware attacks in Belgium so far. They were out for almost a full week. These events are part of a growing trend worldwide. In Belgium, 2019 marked the highest number of people and companies attacked by cyber criminals.   

Not only criminal organisations are committing cyber attacks, nations are also guilty of this crime. Iran, Russia, China… It is widely known that they invest in cyber armies. Now everything becomes digitized and connected, like our water supply, energy, traffic and so on, it is definitely something to be wary of.  

But in the end, it’s not technology but man that remains the weakest link in security. People impersonating colleagues or suppliers manage to win a person’s trust and coax them into disclosing their password, a practice also known as 'social engineering'. Or a toy manufacturer thinks it’s a great idea to make a doll equipped with an unsecured wifi-connection. That’s how homes are getting hacked by toasters. We know, it sounds like a cartoon but it’s happening in real life. Beware of toasters!

Privacy is definitely a growing concern for us. It’s always in the back of our minds each time we develop a new IOT project.

Conclusion

In short, IoT is clearly on the rise. Everything is becoming connected. The advantages are enormous, we can create digital twins that allow us to run simulations and build better products, services, cities. And we can conduct predictive maintenance, a true blessing for manufacturing companies. But there is a catch, privacy and security become paramount. As Gartner states, for an IOT project to be successful, it will have to take into account all aspects: social, ethical and legal. We couldn’t agree more. A project isn’t a success to us until we have ticked off all those boxes

Get ready for 2020 with Bagaar

We believe these are exciting times. The opportunities in the world of IoT are growing exponentially. Would you like to explore what it can mean for your industry?

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