15 IoT Trends to Look Forward to For 2021

Did you know? Every second, 127 new things are connected to the internet. 

The Internet of Things (IoT) was in the works for the last three decades, but it wasn’t until the research giant Gartner included it in the list of emerging technologies that it picked up popularity. IoT is no longer a trend or a buzzword but a major component of the modern tech ecosystem. 

IoT mobile development is leading the charge in the development sector, with more devices connecting to the internet via apps on our phones. By the end of this year, the IoT industry is estimated to be worth $520 billion

So what are the latest trends in this technology driving the change forward?

Top 15 IoT Trends for 2021

Here are what experts are predicting to be the top IoT trends of this year:

1. IoT Security

The IoT is all about data, and data needs to be protected. Cybersecurity is already a top priority for both the tech sector and the governments around the world, so it’s no surprise that security for IoT will take precedence this year. 

Any IoT agency working on devices and applications will need to work extra hard to ensure that they are equipped with the necessary security protocols. 

As more consumers embrace this technology, more devices will add to the internet. With so much data being recorded and shared, the threat to people’s privacy and identities increases. As a result, IoT mobile development needs to prioritize security over everything else. 

The security features may include biometric authentication and machine to machine authentication. This ensures that no malicious entities can gain access to the devices or the information they carry, such as login credentials or personal information. 

2. Smart Home Devices

The trend of smart home devices will continue to rage on even in 2021. Although these are no long novelties in the tech world, they still lack the omnipresence that computers and smartphones enjoy. However, that’s about to change. 

Smart home devices have proven over the years that they are capable and not just a showpiece of high-tech. Now, they will be even more intuitive and can help you streamline common chores around the house. 

Of course, it also depends on the overall smart design of the home. But a smart home device acts as the central unit and communication tool. It can control virtually all the smart devices and appliances in your home, such as lights, washing machine, TV, and thermostats for climate control. 

Smart home applications will dominate both IoT iOS development and IoT Android development. The apps would have to be even more user-friendly, so these devices are accessible for the masses. 

3. Public and Workplace Safety

With the Covid-19 pandemic still raging on into 2021, it’s clear that we’ll see more devices monitoring and tracking people’s movement and behavior to prevent the spread of the virus. 

As people go back to work after a whole year of constant lockdowns, the workplace will no longer be the same. We’re likely to see monitoring devices to check people’s health conditions in order to detect any potential cases early on. You can expect devices to enforce safety precautions taken by public places, schools, and offices. 

Gartner has coined the term ‘Internet of Behavior’ for this application of IoT. It involves collecting and processing data to determine behavior. Businesses would have to adopt this kind of technology at least to some extent to ensure safety. 

The question of privacy and regulation looms when it comes to this application of IoT. However, with governments prioritizing public health, it’s likely not going to be a big issue. 

4. IoT in Healthcare

IoT has helped transform healthcare tremendously, and with the pandemic, its implications will only grow stronger. It’s easily the most advantageous application of IoT as it can help hospitals and healthcare systems run more efficiently, and ultimately, save more lives.

Medical equipment equipped with WiFi and sensors can help collect and process crucial data.

Think of its benefits in the current climate where hospitals are at capacity in many virus-stricken cities and regions of the world. Smart devices can help indicate and predict where more equipment or staff is required. 

IoT app development will churn out more health monitoring apps that can help track the health of patients recovering at home. Similarly, wearables like watches and bands can track vitals in real-time and make emergency calls when push comes to shove. 

Even the ambulances can benefit from IoT, recording vitals and important data about patients in transit. 

5. Edge Computing

For those unfamiliar with the term, ‘edge computing’ is the approach of transferring data from IoT devices to a closer device first, which then sorts and transmits data to the cloud. 

You see, IoT devices independently transfer data they collect over to the cloud. Now, with millions of devices collecting billions of data points, the data pool can put a lot of load on the cloud. Edge computing can help resolve that issue. 

With one device collecting, sorting, and filtering the data, then sending a meaningful data subset to that cloud, applications can process the information faster. As a result, they will run better and process requests faster. 

What does edge computing mean for IoT app development? Well, developers and designers will have to consider how the data is shared with the device and then the cloud. 

6. Smart Eco-friendly Cities

Smart cities will heavily rely on IoT, collecting data to improve services for their citizens. If there’s one place where there are endless applications for IoT, it is an urban center. With rapid urbanization, there will be even more need for efficient planning and running. 

The biggest driver behind smart cities is climate change. Congested cities need smart technology to control emissions and reduce their carbon footprint. Smart devices with sensors can play a big role in reaching desired levels of emissions. 

7. Better Retail Experience

How many times have you had to walk around aisles aimlessly or apprehensively ask a salesman where you can find a specific product? Probably many times. Well, IoT will also impact your retail experience in 2021 and the years after that. 

This is not just limited to in-store shopping but also online. The smart devices, including your smart home device, will make it incredibly easy to order something online. We already know how easy it is to order something on Amazon with Alexa. 

Again, it’s worth mentioning that the use of IoT in retail spaces will be tremendously influenced by the coronavirus pandemic. IoT app developers working in the retail sector will have to take lessons from the pandemic to also make the safety of customers a priority. 

8. Artificial Intelligence in IoT

Both Artificial Intelligence and IoT thrive on data, so it’s no surprise that we’ll see more AI incorporated into smaller devices. It’s not something limited to fancy labs or manufacturing plants, AI’s applications are growing fast, and IoT can easily benefit from it. 

Both these technologies will shape how humans and machines interact in the future. The people behind these technologies must take into account all the aspects, including security, safety, and sensitivity. 

9. Predictive Home Maintenance

Consider this an extension of the smart home devices, as new houses may be equipped with sensors and devices that exclusively monitor the maintenance needs and schedule of the home. 

Smart maintenance devices are already popular in industrial infrastructure, but with IoT, they are entering homes as well. In the near future, your home will inform you of timely maintenance tasks, saving you money and all that trouble. 

As this trend grows, it will become a very part of the building plans for homes and apartments. Things such as plumbing, heating, power consumption, and even the house structure will be connected to the internet, informing you when there’s a need for repairs or general maintenance. 

And how will these things tell you that? Through IoT apps!

10. More Integration and Common IoT Frameworks

At present, the IoT sector isn’t quite unified. The technology developed by one company doesn’t readily integrate with that of others. The lack of a common framework or shared central platform is a big challenge for IoT development companies. 

The IoT technologies that are succeeding are based on a unified framework. So it goes without saying that those working on this technology will have to work on creating a uniform framework so that other technologies can easily integrate with them. 

11. Blockchain for IoT

IOTA is a public ledger that records transactions between IoT devices. In other words, the blockchain technology of IoT. More companies are taking notice of IOTA and working along the lines of blockchain technology, which indicates that this will be another major IoT trend to look forward to in the coming years. 

When IoT has penetrated into every field, such a technology will create more transparency and trust from the public. 

12. Agriculture and Food Security

Just how tractors and plows transformed agriculture in the last century, IoT will help transform it once again. This is also termed territory monitoring, where smart devices measure and monitor the conditions of the land and the crops. 

With food security becoming a growing concern in developed and developing economies alike, if there was ever a time for more smart farming, it’s now. 

Global warming has negatively impacted agriculture and food supply immensely with unpredictable rains, droughts, and other weather extremities. Smart sensors on-sight connected to cellular networks can help farmers plan better and prevent losses. 

Similarly, monitoring devices with internet connectivity can also prevent wildfires that are becoming more frequent and widespread every year. In 2020, the Australian wildfires, as well as those in California, served as a big wake-up call for the world. 

13. Sophisticated Data Analytics

This trend is more about what goes on behind the scenes of those flashy smart devices in your home and work. Data analysis is at the core of the IoT universe and we’re seeing constant improvement in how data is processed and analyzed. 

IoT mobile development is at the center of this as mobile applications handle the data and often analyze it. Developers will use the latest technologies in data analysis to ultimately make IoT devices even better. That’s obviously good news for the end consumers. 

14. Efficient and Safe Commuting

Commuting needs some serious overhauling if we’re to get to places on time, keep our health, and reduce emissions. IoT mobile applications dedicated to commuting will be one of the top tech trends this year and the subsequent years. 

And frankly, it’s high time public transportation improved in many cities that desperately need it. 

If you’ve ever taken the Subway in New York City or the Underground in London and used Google Maps to catch a train, you’d know how beneficial an app can be. 

Google Maps, in particular, has seen major improvements in these two megacities with the world’s largest public transit networks. 

Other smart technologies like smart street lights and data-driven parking lots can make commuting so much better. 

15. Energy Management

While energy conservation has been a popular theme in IoT, it hasn’t been that impactful. The change needs to happen at every level, from the companies producing energy to the consumers using it. IoT can help both the companies and consumers use energy efficiently. 

IoT trends like the use of AI, powerful data analytics, and predictive maintenance can all consolidate to help with better energy management.

Mobile apps can send notifications about power consumption, as well as tips to reduce energy use specific to the house. We’re talking about things like which lights to shut and which devices to use less frequently. 

Wrap Up

One thing is clear that IoT is here to stay. Technology, no matter what kind, doesn’t always get a warm welcome, but IoT seems to be an exception. The consumer adoption of this emerging sector of the technology industry is surprisingly positive. 

2020 is the year that has fundamentally changed how we live and work. There’s no doubt that IoT will play an even more prominent role in shaping the way we live in the future. 

Ken Vermeille
Ken Vermeille
The founder and CEO of Vermillion Sky. Ken Vermeille has 15 years of experience in product design and development. Creating his first website at 12 years old, he continues to build his talents by leveraging his ability to learn and implement any technology. In the past he's worked on mobile and web apps, video games, augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, business model generation, and anything to keep Vermillion Sky at the cutting edge of product design and development.

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