The term IoT can be confusing, and depending on who you talk to they might choose to focus on one element like connectivity or another. At Forrester we believe IoT extends beyond devices and connectivity.

At a technical level, IoT encompasses those two elements as well analytics, sophisticated management and monitoring, and of course pervasive security to protect sensitive data and assets. But it’s the business impact of IoT that truly defines what it is: the insights that you can derive with analytics and the business outcomes you can achieve. These business outcomes fall into 3 big buckets with several use cases in each:

  • Design use cases to create connected offerings or environments to engage with customers. (e.g. enabling new business models with a connected product or improving customer experience)
  • Operate use cases to enhance processes and create new efficiencies or enhance customer experiences. (e.g. fleet management or predictive maintenance)
  • Consume scenarios for taking advantage of connected data from third parties (e.g. weather or traffic information to supplement your own offerings)

IoT is re-shaping how businesses are organized, including the roles and responsibilities of individuals — and how they work together. Capturing the promise of any of these scenarios requires organizations to collaborate in new ways.

Similarly, IoT touches many analysts across Forrester, and we work together to dive deeper into how an organization can harness the potential made possible by IoT. I have the distinct pleasure of working with a group of Forrester analysts that spans our research organization and collectively works together to provide a connect body of research to help individuals across roles in organizations on their journey.

We’ve assembled our 2018 list of IoT predictions that look ahead and help organizations prepare for what’s in store in the next year. For example, Forrester predicts that:

  • IoT platform offerings will begin to specialize in “design” and “operate” scenarios. Today, buyers looking for a platform to suit their specific IoT scenario face a broad landscape of platforms that include AWS IoT, General Electric (GE) Predix, and Microsoft Azure IoT Suite, only some of which can help them. In 2018, expect platforms to specialize to suit the specific needs of their audiences – whether creating new connected products or deploying a connected process.
  • New European guidelines will give the green light for commercializing IoT data. A greater percentage of US-based companies are commercializing data as compared to European organizations. Recognizing this lag, the European Commission will issue guidelines to encourage the use of advanced technology and spark the data economy. Although the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has given companies pause, a 2018 European data economy directive will promote the exchange of data and insights.
  • IoT security issues will remain a threat. Security vulnerabilities are a significant worry for firms deploying IoT solutions – in fact, it’s the top concern of organizations looking at deploying IoT solutions. However, most firms don’t consistently mitigate IoT-specific security threats and business pressures overwhelm technology security concerns. In 2018, we’ll see more IoT-related attacks like the Mirai botnet that caused havoc – except they’ll grow bigger in scale and impact.

Thanks to Michele Pelino, Jeffrey S. Hammond, Charlie Dai, Paul Miller, Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D., Julie A. Ask, Nigel Fenwick, Frank E. Gillett, Thomas Husson, and Merritt Maxim for all contributing to this report.

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