Following up from last week's first two predictions for the New Year for IoT and M2M, here are two more predictions to help you in your 2016 plans.
3. Field service technicians and engineers will be big winners with emerging IoT tech.
Field service has long been considered a job where people find a high degree of meaning in their work, and we believe the IoT can bring even more satisfaction to those already employed in the sector, and push net new job seekers to the calling in 2016. Connected tools such as smartglasses and watches simply make the job more fun and productive for travelling technicians. Diagnostic sensors placed in the products to be serviced themselves will make field techs more responsive and allow them to reduce equipment downtime and provide faster, almost magical, issue resolution. There’s real value and job satisfaction to be gained from showing up to fix something an owner didn’t even know was broken, or was about to break.
Connected to that trend, the IoT will bring real value in helping utility and public works crews respond to storm-related emergencies. El Niño and La Niña climate patterns in 2016 are likely to set new marks in size and scope for severe weather, with anticipated precipitation, landslides and hurricanes more powerful than average. A mixture of geo-sensitive analytics from devices in the field, historical data collected for modeling, and connected technicians, dispatchers and executives out in the field will prove its mettle this year. We will all bear witness to how connected components can come together to reduce lag time in getting the right resources to the right places and to cull information—the keystone for situation management—to update customers like never before.
In short, the IoT will become a game-changer for storm response this year.
4. Clarity around the near and long-term role for LTE in the commercial M2M landscape.
Many organizations that currently use 2G and 3G networks for M2M deployments are still only in the exploratory phase of developing a path forward, but 2016 will bring distinct clarity to this issue because 1) 2G GSM will sunset at the end of the year, and 2) we will begin see the first commercial deployments of LTE Category-0 and significant development advances for LTE-M modules. These new devices push LTE into realms of lower bandwidth use and will likely cost less per device than 3G and 4G devices being sold today. In addition, the superior speed of LTE networks, even for low-use M2M, will incur less airtime than 2G (and 3G) network connections on a going forward basis.