In 2020, we saw the coronavirus disrupting almost all aspects of our lives. While the pandemic was turning society upside down, it was also accelerating technological adoption as people and businesses implemented new, digital technologies to stay connected while staying apart. “In a world where contact between humans is, for now, more limited, contact between devices, tools, and toys can help us to remain connected,” a recent Forbes article explains.
According to a poll of organisations across the globe, emerging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) helped to keep businesses going during the pandemic, and have become a vital aspect of modern business operations. And these technologies are set to remain a priority moving forward.
What does the IoT look like in 2021?
Put simply, the concept entails connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet; this includes everything from cars, cellphones, coffee makers and washing machines to lamps, smart meters, factory equipment and wearable devices.
Below, we break down what the IoT means for different industries in 2021.
IoT in healthcare
The IoT healthcare market is predicted to be worth $136.8 billion by 2021, according to Allied Market Research. The same research highlighted that IoT patient monitoring will represent the largest portion of the market, valued at $72.7 billion. In action, this will see more self-care IoT solutions, which see hospitals and healthcare institutions giving away health monitoring devices, like Fitbits, to encourage patients to take better care of themselves and so that healthcare providers can monitor a patient’s health at home, in real time.
IoT inside the office
While work-from-home policies may be the new normal for many, for some it is still necessary to go into the office; particularly across manufacturing, industrial and logistics operations. IoT makes it possible to monitor assets remotely so that engineers and maintenance personnel can act only when an intervention is needed.
IoT in retail
Over the next year, we expect to see more innovative retail business models like Amazon’s fully-automated supermarkets, that cut down on the need for non-essential human interaction. And automation via IoT-enabled devices will grow across fulfilment centres that dispatch inventory to shops. Similarly, in 2021, we will see VR environments being used by online retailers to provide more immersive, feature-rich shopping experiences.
IoT in the city
The “smart city” concept is nothing new but a surge in the deployment of digital capabilities across cities is expected in 2021 in an attempt to tackle the various challenges facing society. For example, IoT technology is increasingly being deployed to address safety concerns on public transport and around city recreational facilities to help authorities better understand usage and plan safety measures and emergency response strategies.
Increasingly, organisations across a wide variety of industries are using the IoT to work more efficiently, improve decision-making and deliver a more streamlined customer experience. Need help on your journey? Our blog unpacks all things innovation, business strategy and emerging technology and we bring together these insights as part of our monthly newsletter. To have these insights delivered to your inbox, complete the form below.