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Every year, after the CES dust settles, I take a step back and rank the most disruptive IoT-related technology trends. This year’s list signals the approach of a significant inflection point in the IoT growth curve.
These three developments accelerate IoT’s ongoing transformation from a hodge-podge of custom solutions into a growth industry built on platforms that plug-and-play within a software continuum extending from cloud services to edge devices. Plug-and-play platforms defragmented PCs and smartphones in the 2000s. The same thing is happening with IoT platforms, but the process is slower and more complicated because of the extreme diversity of devices.
Let’s look at each trend from a business perspective to see how smarter devices, standard device platforms, and open networks remove growth barriers and make the IoT more investable across all market segments.
Typical IoT devices have surprisingly little processing power because they act as “peripherals” to services running in the cloud or on-premises. These services ingest and analyze sensor data, trigger appropriate actions, send commands back down to devices, and interface with other services. A new generation of smarter edge platforms capable of autonomously running complex application software is now disrupting the peripheral model, which has been the norm for over 20 years.
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