One thing is clear in 2018: The Internet of Things has become an everyday reality for a huge segment of the business world.
That means the hype stage is now officially in the rearview mirror.
Research firm IDC forecasts that spending on IoT solutions will grow to about $773 billion this year, up 15 percent from last year, before IoT spending is expected to surge past $1 trillion in 2020.
Modules, sensors, infrastructure and security for IoT are all seeing increased spending, according to IDC, while IoT services and software are expected to grow the fastest going forward.
“Software creates the foundation upon which IoT applications and use cases can be realized,” said Carrie MacGillivray, vice president for Internet of Things and Mobility at IDC, in a statement. “However, it is the services that help bring all the technology elements together to create a comprehensive solution that will benefit organizations and help them achieve a quicker time to value,” she added.
The growth comes as IoT becomes top of mind for an increasing number of solution providers. Many see rising IoT security threats—including distributed denial-of-service attacks and critical infrastructure exploits—as well as the merging of IT and operational technology as new opportunities to utilize their expertise.
The manufacturing vertical is expected to spend the most on IoT in 2018, followed by transportation and utilities, according to IDC. Customers in the industrial segment—including manufacturers—are becoming increasingly concerned with the security of their industrial control systems and operational technology as the systems are connected to the network.
“When I think about the risks for IoT, the risks are centered around operational technology types of systems,” said Jon Connet, senior director of corporate strategy at IoT security vendor Forescout. “The reason for that is that there’s so much value tied into these systems, but they were never designed to be connected. When you look at the WannaCry and Petya malware attacks, these had a material impact on OT systems to the point where large multinational companies were materially impacted.”
Interoperability is another major issue surrounding IoT devices. The IoT market came together as many manufacturers made their devices based on some protocols, such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, but not others.
In the future, manufacturers are expected to make a more significant effort to standardize their IoT solutions’ hardware and software around critical protocols.
Over the past year, more vendors also have started to flesh out their channel strategies for IoT as they realized that the technology essentially requires an ecosystem play.
“Customers and vendors are looking to the channel to be a trusted adviser,” Connet said.
For solution providers just getting into the IoT arena and those already building their business around the technology, CRN presents the 2018 Internet Of Things 50.
15 Coolest IoT Hardware Companies
Here is CRN's list of the top companies with the coolest Internet of Things hardware solutions, from sensors to gateways.
2018 Internet Of Things 50: 10 Coolest IoT Security Companies
Top companies in IoT security for 2018 include Fortinet, ForeScout and SonicWall.
2018 Internet Of Things 50: 10 Coolest Industrial IoT Companies
Top companies in industrial IoT for 2018 include GE, Schneider Electric and Eaton.
2018 Internet Of Things 50: 15 Coolest IoT Software And Services Companies
Top companies in IoT software and services for 2018 include AWS, IGEL, Oracle and PTC.