Internet of Things (IoT) platforms are set to specialise and move to a business scale, according to a new report by research firm Forrester.

Titled ‘Predictions 2018: IoT Moves From Experimentation To Business Scale’, the report details what the firm forecasts for the state of the IoT next year.

Among the predictions are that businesses will boost attempts to roll out voice-based services. According to the report, the availability of voice-based services will likely double in 2018, particularly from Fortune 500 businesses. However, it is expected that financial services and other sectors that require authentication for more sensitive tasks will fall behind in this regard.

Forrester has also forecast that the IoT will start to specialise in design in 2018. The researchers explained that designers need capabilities for remote product management, so they will require software that can allow them to focus on business management rather than having to manage each individual IoT aspect. This will likely lead to businesses choosing IoT platforms that are specifically built to serve their needs.

The researchers have also thought about the idea of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), forecasting that creators of industrial IoT platforms will abandon IaaS.

According to the report, the major industrial IoT platforms have attempted to make some of their industry- or IoT-specific capabilities available through hyperscale cloud providers. These include Amazon Web Services, IBM and Microsoft.

In 2018, it is expected that these hyperscale clouds will reach more locations, strengthen their own IoT capabilities and obtain more evidence for regulatory compliance.

Forrester has also predicted that new European guidelines will approve the commercialisation of IoT data. It stated that 45 per cent of US data and analytics decision-makers say they already commercialise their data, but just 35 per cent of French and 38 per cent of German decision-makers do so. The report predicted that the European Commission will legislate to allow the use of data for commercial purposes.

It is also thought that “a developer drive to the edge” is going to result in IoT platform consolidation in 2018. The researchers have predicted that more businesses are going to push the processing and analysis of data to the edge of the network to reduce data costs and network latency.

Businesses will therefore become increasingly intolerant of IoT platforms that have just services at the core of the network. Forrester forecast that the expense of supporting both edge and core with a consistent programming model will result in most IoT platform providers limiting their ambitions or leaving the market by 2020.

However, among the negative predictions was an increase in cyber threats. The report said that despite an increase in IoT security awareness, businesses will continue to prioritise customer experience, cost and time-to-market considerations over security requirements.

This will therefore make it challenging to implement solid security controls. It could also result in specific security functionalities being left out of final deployments. In 2018, Forrester predicted that there will be more IoT-related attacks – on both end point devices and the cloud as cyber attackers attempt to access sensitive data.

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