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The key IoT Trends 2020

What are the IoT Trends 2020 that will change our lives? From 5G to smart homes, personalised healthcare and driverless cars.

An interview with Caroline Van Cauwelaert, General Manager @ Bagaar

In the previous article IoT Trends 2019 revisited we already established IoT is taking over the world. So what does 2020 have up its sleeve? What are the key IoT Trends 2020 that will change the way we work and live? Just keep on reading and you will find out.

Funnily enough, for something that is so omnipresent, the term “Internet of Things” still raises a lot of eyebrows. It’s too generic and confusing. Forrester Research predicts that the term “IoT” will be replaced in favor of other, more descriptive phrases. Terms like ‘connected product’ or ‘connected operations’ will rise and more specific use case terms like ‘predictive maintenance,’ ‘condition-based monitoring,’ and ‘cold chain monitoring’.

IoT trends 2020 connecting everything in the city

1. 5G, overhyped?

5G, it’s the talk of the town but what is it? In short, it’s a super fast, super reliable connection. Rather than a revolution, it will be more like a steady evolution, at least in Belgium. Apart from a lot of happy teenagers benefiting from uninterrupted binge watching, it will have a huge impact on all types of industry. Just think about remote surgery,  smart cities and vehicle to vehicle communication where decisions need to be made in a split second. Data will flow uninterruptedly without any latency issues. We look forward to having this powerful network available with our own private bandwidth section, only available to IoT. 

2. Smart homes

An important one on our list of IoT trends 2020: smart homes. Remember the Disney movie Smart House from 1999? Well an article of April 2018 from Business Insider already commented back then that a lot of this crazy futuristic technology had become a reality. From smart thermostats and smart lamps to smart assistants (like Alexa and Google home) and automatic vacuum cleaners. Our homes will only become smarter.


2.1. From furniture store to data company

Ikea might look like a classic furniture store but we believe it will develop into a tech and energy company. Nowadays, you can already buy solar panels at Ikea. Recently they also partnered up with SONOS to produce smart speakers with an smart assistant integrated. They are building a full range of smart home devices like movement detectors and smart, configurable switches. All those things run via the Ikea app, the perfect remote control for your whole home.

2.2. From selling books to running your household

Another well-known giant targeting that market is Amazon.  In 2018 they bought Ring, a company producing smart doorbells. The doorbells allow you to open your door remotely. This is another genius move from Jeff Bezos after having introduced the smart assistant Alexa into people's homes. With the doorbell it can reduce costs enormously if they can guarantee deliveries on the first attempt. And how handy would that be? No more staying at home to receive a package, no more waiting in line at the post office to collect a package.     

2.3. Smart homes and healthcare

But the biggest added value IoT has in terms of smart homes is related to healthcare. It will for example enable elderly to live in their own home for longer. Bagaar is currently working on such a project (but don’t tell anyone yet) with sensors detecting movements, monitoring a person’s health and triggering alerts. If, for example, Albert forgets to take his medicine, a voice can remind him to do so. Or if he forgets to drink, a message could pop up on his tv screen.

smart home doctors

Of course this raises some concerns about privacy. But the disadvantages will always be weighed against the advantages. In this case, the benefits are huge. Adults no longer need to worry about their parents’ well-being while they’re living alone. And the parents are not forced into homes while they can still manage. 

One of the biggest frustrations of elderly is being patronized. While the first IoT devices were like a big red panic button around their neck, the current IoT solutions are becoming ever more subtle, integrated perfectly in the surrounding.

3. IoT will revolutionize healthcare 

IoT in the healthcare industry is rolling out incredibly quickly. Healthcare will dominate the IoT development ecosystem in 2020. A report by Frost and Sullivan states that the internet of medical things could be expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 26.2% and reach $ 72,000 million by 2021. 

Graph on rise of IoT in healthcarevia MARKETANDMARKETS

That’s because the expected benefits are huge. Connecting healthcare devices will make it easier to monitor people’s health, empowering not only doctors but patients as well. They help service hard to reach areas and allow for predictive maintenance. In short, IoT will reshape the medical world.

3.1. Empowering doctors

As digital health guru Koen Kas states in his presentation Futureproof your business: "We order a T-shirt online and with FedEx we can track it 24/7 until delivery. A doctor sees a patient once a year, the other 364 days he or she has no clue about how the patient’s doing. So the FedEx package is better off than the patient."  

With the help of IoT devices doctors can get a constant flow of information tracking the patient’s health at all times. This allows him to intervene on time. Is the patient’s heart rate showing irregularities? Then the appointment can be precipitated.  

As we mentioned in IoT Trends 2019 revisited with more and more IoT sensors tracking people’s health we can evolve towards personalised healthcare. Koen Kas gives the example of an IoT device, on the market for a few hundred dollars that can map your genome in a few hours’ time. This information can help tailor healthcare. Hawaiians for example have a different genome because they have Asian ancestry and consequently require a higher dose of blood thinner. But we are all unique, with a different weight, metabolism, allergies. In the near future, we foresee pills being 3D printed containing the exact amount of medicine you need.


3.2. Empowering patients

With connected devices people will be able to monitor their own health even more closely. Smart mirrors take us back to action movies such as 6th Day and Minority Report but they might soon be a reality. They can become your personal health assistant, checking your blood pressure, stress level. It’s amazing what a quick scan can reveal.  

3.3. Predictive maintenance in healthcare

Equipment failure in a hospital does not only cost money, it is also a terrible nuisance for patients who have been waiting for a certain treatment only to be disappointed because the machine doesn’t work. IoT sensors can ensure timely and convenient scheduling of maintenance, and can prevent unexpected equipment failure.

3.4. Servicing hard to reach areas

A mobile medical IoT device also helps reach more remote areas. If doctors without borders cannot reach some faraway village in Africa, locals can run some basic medical tests to check people’s health.

4. Driverless cars

What about the driverless car? It has to be one of the IoT Trends 2020, right? It was however still notably absent from the 2020 motor show. As Techcrunch declares, the challenges of developing this complex technology have suddenly become more real and fears about safety have tempered enthusiasm. The tone of voice has definitely changed since a pedestrian was killed by a self-driving Uber. “Driverless cars” has been replaced by “safety” and “advanced driver assistance systems,” a less-capable level of automation. The idea is to introduce driverless cars slowly so people become more familiar with automated driving technology, hopefully lessening fear regarding fully autonomous vehicles.driverless cars connected with the environmentOnly a few car producers - like BMW, Renault-Nissan and Daimler - have quite optimistic plans and foresee almost completely autonomous cars on the roads in 2020. Of course the question we ask ourselves is: “What would Elon do?” Well Elon Musk must be the most optimistic of all with Tesla. He announced full autonomous cars by the end of 2020. (Source: Digiteum)

5. Drones

In 2019, drones were still the gadgets of geeks but the technology is on the rise. From costing an arm and a leg, you can now get a drone for under €100. 

Three areas in which drones will be used more and more often are organ transport, security and predictive maintenance. Organ transport, for the obvious reason that speed is of the essence. Security, because drones can quickly scan the surroundings. And predictive maintenance, well, just think about the miles and miles of railroad tracks or the windmills out in the ocean. It’s so much easier to steer a drone from the comfort of your office chair than to go out in the field.


5G, drones, smart homes, personalised healthcare and driverless cars, 2020 promises to be an exciting year. Some of these IoT trends 2020 will become mainstream faster than others. We envision the biggest leaps will be made in healthcare. IoT will radically change the face of the medical industry.

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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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