A more than doubling of Internet of Things (IoT) usage in 2015 has seen Verizon bring forward its projections around the segment's growth, highlighting security fears around the emergent technology with businesses only starting to take advantage of the data they are collecting from IoT devices.
“Development in the IoT space is accelerating far faster than we could have imagined or projected,” Verizon Enterprise Solutions APAC managing director for operations and strategy Robert le Busque told CSO Australia as the company released its second annual State of the Market: Internet of Things report.
The past year had seen the segment “gain significant legitimacy,” he continued. “It's no longer a mashup of technologies and devices and software being deployed by early adopters; we're really starting to see large-scale, dense applications appearing and also an incredibly healthy ecosystem.”
IoT usage in the energy/utilities market grew 58 percent over the previous year, with home monitoring (50 percent) and transportation/distribution (49 percent) market segments close behind. And while IoT market predictions are inherently quite fluid given the market's rapidly changing nature, a projected $US1.3 trillion market by 2019 will be comprised by an estimated 23 percent of modules and sensors.
The collection and concentration of large quantities of data had posed new challenges in terms of security, but Verizon's analysts were confident that those risks can be effectively managed through conventional multi-tiered security practices that incorporate practices such as partner security programs, penetration testing, application and content scanning, data discovery, machine-to-machine (M2M) security, and rapid response services.
“The IoT segment will create a significant multiplier in terms of the amount of data that is collated,” he explained. “But the security question and challenge for IoT is no different to security questions elsewhere.”
Rapidly accelerating scale of IoT environments, however, was driving the creation of consortia of industry partners around efforts like Verizon's ThingSpace – a competitor to efforts such as LogMeIn's Xively had helped focus efforts to build the IoT market not as isolated elements but as part of larger ecosystems.
“We're seeing a very rich, active environment where collaboration, integration and access are helping to drive the overall adoption of the market,” le Busque said.
“We saw similar dynamics in the smartphone market: When APIs and an application platform were made available, we saw an explosion of applications for smartphone devices.”
Indeed, the analysis attributes growing adoption of IoT to the ease of use of smartphones – which have become centres of gravity for accessing and controlling smart watches, cameras and the like.
This ease of use, in turn, was driving consumer expectations from an IoT market that has been as much about shiny gadgets as it will eventually be about smart tools for facilitating everyday government and business activities.
“In three to five years’ time, consumers will experience a much higher level of automation and efficiency in daily life,” the report notes, “thanks largely to the ability to customize “if-then” scenarios via a streamlined IoT interface” and streamlined interactions using channels such as voice, virtual reality and augmented reality.
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