The internet of things and big data are essentially reliant on one another—having one without the other simply would not make sense. The internet of things and the data that we can collect, send, analyze, and receive are already changing the way we live, work, and play. Here are a few of our predictions for what the near future for big data and the IoT will hold:
- Greater consolidation of players: As technological innovation continues and processes become more streamlined and efficient, we expect to see greater consolidation in the internet of things market. This is likely to lead to the survival and increased success of larger, more established players. Smaller players will undergo mergers and will be acquired by larger players in order to capitalize on their innovation and highly educated, tech-savvy workforce, business intelligence, and their user data. This consolidation will also make it more difficult for new businesses to enter the market on their own, and for consumers to have many choices in the vendor or service provider that they want to use or buy from.
- Data loss from smaller failed companies: As the wearables sector also undergoes increased consolidation, smaller players will find it harder to survive while larger players like Fitbit and Jawbone see an increase in sales, revenue, and user data. The user and device data collected by smaller companies that fail to stay afloat will likely be lost unless all wearable companies cooperate to create and use a single IoT operating system. Sharing information and data between companies, brands, and product lines would ultimately benefit consumers and give players greater access to information that could help them to improve their product offerings and technologies. However, it does not seem likely that this type of cooperation is on the horizon: at present, players in the wearables sector have no real incentive to cooperate rather than compete. This also means that a consumer cannot transfer information from one wearable to a wearable by another company, an inconvenience that seems like it will be here to stay for some time. This could also lead to an increase in the use of data analytics service providers.
- Increased security, decreased trust: Some claim that the Internet of things is one of the greatest cybersecurity threats of the 2010s—while whether or not this is true remains to be fully seen, it is no lie that increased connectivity and available data can pose a threat to users. The adoption of IoT devices is accelerating at a great speed and is expected to top out at more than 14 billion units by the year 2021, according to Juniper Networks. Many of these devices are extremely vulnerable to hacking and cyber threats, meaning that device user data, personal information, and social data is pretty much widely available to whoever wants to get their hands on it. As more cases of device hacking and compromise become public, consumers’ trust in these devices and their providers will decrease. To combat this, vendors will have to increase security and secure systems and need to make it clear to users what data about them is being collected, where it is being stored, and how to access or clear that data if they need or want to.
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The IoT and big data may face some challenges over the coming years, but it is definite that they are cemented into our society and our lives. Users, vendors, and service providers will have to work with the IoT to protect us from potential threats and to use the data we have available in a successful and productive way.