And just like that, we’re into 2016. Which presents us once again with the well-timed opportunity to take stock of the M2M and IoT market and make our best, educated guess as to what the coming year will hold. This year, we’ve decided to mix things up a little and give you, our readers, a glimpse into six things we feel are bound to accelerate over the course of the next 12 months, and six things that have a more bearish tilt to them, where we’d caution against expectation for significant advances.
There’s an old proverb, first professed by William Painter in the 16th century, that if you keep a thing seven years you’ll find a use for it eventually. A fitting reference here, as it’s been about seven years since the Internet-of-Things first entered the common vernacular. Let us start off, then, by documenting the ways we expect 2016 will prove to be transformational for the IoT becoming a practical, everyday tool.
- 2016 will be the “year of patient-centric healthcare” when it comes to mainstream IoT expression.
High-leverage devices to connect patients to their providers, including IoT-enabled wellness monitors, blood pressure cuffs, glucose monitors, scales, pulse meters, and other appliances have been growing steadily over the past few years; by the time we reach December, 2016, these will be virtually run-of-the-mill for doctors, patients and insurers alike. All stakeholders will by then have accounted for the tremendous boon these devices bring at once to quality of care, quality of life and cost-savings.
Specifically, the IoT will drive even more improvements in population health management and chronic disease care, both in terms of clinicians’ ability to collect and run vital personal health statistics through algorithms and, more importantly, by creating consistent patient engagement. Keeping patients interested in making smart decisions about their health and care has always been a difficult task for providers; the IoT gives every patient a novel, passive means to be more involved.
As a corollary, in 2016 we’ll see the IoT create and grow a host of new jobs in the healthcare industry. The act of processing and parsing all that incoming patient data requires an augmented set of skills. There will be need for employees who can be dedicated to spotting trends that are unacceptable, highlighting them to clinicians and, if warranted, connecting with patients, pharmacists, outside physicians, or social workers to handle the issue with speed and accuracy.
- Sensor-based crop management will achieve its just due this year, with climate and water availability challenges having reached an inflection point over the course of 2015.
Names like the SG-1000 Leaf Sensor, PureSense and OnFarm will become household in the farming community based on these products’ proven ability to use sensor data to increase crop yield, save on resources, and increase drought resistance.
To take it a step further, wider visibility of the concept that a plant can let its farmer know it is thirsty, and precisely how thirsty, by simply sending text message will serve as a reminder to all stakeholders that the Internet-of-Things is about bringing simplicity to complex, even heretofore inaccessible, processes. It can be easy to overthink the IoT’s utility. In 2016, the pendulum will begin a subtle but definite swing towards projects that imbue simple elegance.
*Predictions 2 of 12. Stay tuned for more Blog posts with the remaining IoT and M2M Predictions for 2016.