Technology research company Gartner predicts that there will be 20.8 billion connected things in the world by the year 2020, which would equal almost triple the number of humans on our planet. Clearly, the Internet of Things is on the verge of radically changing the core fabric of our communities and the manner in which people live.
Although IoT has the potential to make our lives much more efficient and enjoyable in a multitude of ways, many industries are going to have to weather the storm as the disruption takes hold, and there may be sectors that are unable to remain relevant within the rapidly changing landscape.
Virtually every industry will feel the effects of the proliferation of IoT in our communities, but there are five sectors that are expected to be hit the hardest by these changes in the short-term.
Most experts agree that the healthcare industry stands to benefit the most from adopting IoT. However, to date, it has proven to be one of the most delayed industries to put connected technologies into practice. At the same time, the increased prevalence of IoT will be impossible to avoid for much longer, and it is expected that new methods of data sharing will expand significantly over the next few years, including patient-reported health outcomes and data collected from medical devices or wearable hardware.
Energy and Utilities
Sensor-based communication has been a central component of this sector for years, including smart-meters, which allow companies to read meters via sensors to access real-time usage information. The next logical step will be a “smart-grid” concept, providing customers with the ability to switch between customer-owned renewable energy systems and traditional energy supplies. IoT technology will be critical in developing a smart grid that is adaptable to a variety of energy sources, which is essential in order for the sector to survive the evolving landscape.
The incredible growth of e-commerce and online shopping has posed a threat to traditional retailers for approximately a decade. Conversely, the application of recent IoT innovations to traditional brick-and-mortar assets provides the potential for a radical transformation of the retail industry. Combining real-time analytics with RFID and beacon-based technologies carries a wealth of possibilities for the retail sector, such as allowing companies to send push notifications to customers as they walk by the store to tell them about current sales, promotions and special deals, or even make automated checkouts when they leave the store.
There is no question that efficient transportation of both goods and people is a key aspect of the smooth running of any economy or society, with a massive impact on productivity, health and environmental preservation. IoT is poised to disrupt this sector through the creation of transportation systems that are able to sense and respond to changes in real-time, thereby broadening operational efficiencies, improving public safety, and increasing fuel efficiency through capacity analytics.
IoT technology provides the foundations for the concept of “smart cities,” a term used to describe ways in which technology can be used to create more efficient solutions for communities of people. Fujisawa in Japan is an excellent example of this concept being put into practice. The brainchild of Panasonic, Fujisawa has deployed IoT to use sensors to monitor buses, garbage bins, and automate transport. It is expected that a growing number of governments will start integrating IoT into the core services of cities, thereby utilizing the technology in an increasing percentage of city-run business.
Virtually every industry either already has been or is about to be disrupted in one form or the other by the proliferation of IoT in all aspects of our communities, leading to an increasingly efficient and safe world for the future.