The emergence of COVID-19 has inevitably affected the way we communicate, where social distancing and limited physical interaction is the best way to curb the spread. While the migration to digital operations proved to be challenging, the previous two articles in this series described how people and businesses can leverage on the capabilities of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to induce a productive, convenient, and efficient lifestyle.

This sudden and vital move towards digitalization has created a multitude of new trends that we thought were far-fetched just a few years ago.

In today’s article, we look at five global IoT trends that are shaping the digital world.

1. Estimated Market Value of USD 1111.3 billion by 2026

According to a report by Fortune Business Insights published in July 2020, the global market value of the IoT sector is anticipated to reach a whopping USD 1111.3 billion by 2026, compared to USD 190 billion in 2018. The report also suggests a Compound Annual Growth Rate (ACGR) of 24.7%.

This can be credited to IoT’s compatibility with any kind of businesses, ranging from manufacturing to healthcare. A multitude of industries and businesses are beginning to invest in IoT technologies to empower and rejuvenate their business operations to co-exist with the pandemic, which also played a heavy role in the increased demand of digital technologies.

2. 94% of Businesses will Adopt IoT Technologies

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A report released by Microsoft in October 2020 suggests that, by the end of 2021, up to 94% of businesses will be using some form of IoT technology in their operations, globally.

The report also stated that, amongst current IoT adopters, 88% believe that IoT is a vital tool in determining their businesses’ success and has the chance to project a 30% return of investment (ROI), inclusive of cost savings and efficiencies. All this in a span of two years.

According to the report, currently the retail/wholesale (90%) and manufacturing (87%) sectors are leading industries in IoT adoption.

These industries implement IoT in a multitude of areas such as inventory management, operations monitoring, and product improvement, which enables Smart Manufacturing, allowing businesses and to automatically collect and analyse data to make better-informed decisions and optimize production.

For more examples on how businesses can utilise IoT, click here.

3. IoT has the Potential to Save us Money

According to a report by Statista published in June 2020, the projected global spending in IoT technologies is valued at over USD 1.1 trillion, but Statista also suggests that the application of IoT can be cost-efficient on the long run.

Another report published by Statista in the same month mentions that the autonomous vehicle (AV) sector has the potential to generate over USD 5.6 trillion of savings on a global scale while the agricultural sector will benefit through the reduction of food prices nearly half of its value, by 2050.

One example can be seen through the Smart Tani project implemented by local farming company Pinewealth. According to its Director of Operations, Izwadi Mohd Noor, thanks to the ability to gain more insights and visibility into their business, including remote farm monitoring, they have managed to achieve a ROI of close to 15% in revenue, and almost a 50% reduction in crop rejection and costs savings in terms of manpower and fertilisers.

4. More and More of us are getting Connected

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According to a global study conducted by Cisco, 58% of the world’s population will be connected to the Internet in 2021, compared to 44% in 2016.

A person is projected to own at least 3.5 devices that are capable of networking, which accounts for up to 27.1 billion networked devices in 2021.

It is also suggested that 43% of all networked devices will be powered by mobile data, emphasizing the growing importance of connectedness.

We can already see this trend in Malaysia through the usage of smart watches, fitness trackers, and voice assistant devices, which provides key data in real-time that can be leveraged by people to enhance their daily routines. More on this can be found in this article.

5. V2X, Autonomous Vehicles amongst Top Trends in 2021 and beyond

According to Intellias’ report published in November 2020, the development of Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) technology will be amongst the top trends concerning the IoT sector. It allows a vehicle to connect and gain data from devices, buildings, infrastructure, and vehicles around it, which will then be fed to the Artificial Intelligence (AI) of the vehicle, enabling autonomous driving.

Healthcare will also be a major IoT trend for 2021 and beyond, especially considering the global effects the COVID-19 virus has caused. A report by Forrester published in October 2020 suggests that there will be a greater need for the usage of connected health care solutions such as wearables, fitness trackers, and monitors to manage illnesses and monitor health remotely.

The ongoing pandemic has already begun to demonstrate its effects to the global market, especially for the industrial and public sectors. Businesses and public service providers must be able to adapt to these changes and adopt new technologies, especially digital technologies such as IoT to stay relevant but most importantly, to ensure sustainability in these trying times.

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