The Internet of Things (IoT) has grown into one of the most important new trends in the IT industry, as more and more companies realise the benefits it can bring to their employee and customer experience. 

Gartner has explained some of the top trends expected to affect the rollout of the IoT in the coming years, including security, analytics, operating systems and wide-area networks. 

The organisation explained that IoT security will be required to protect devices and platforms from information attacks, while encryption will be needed in order to address challenges including denial-of-sleep attacks that are designed to drain device batteries. 

Another big issue is that many devices use simple processors and operating systems that may be vulnerable to attacks from cyber criminals as they do not have sophisticated security approaches. 

Nick Jones, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, said: “Experienced IoT security specialists are scarce, and security solutions are currently fragmented and involve multiple vendors.

“New threats will emerge through 2021 as hackers find new ways to attack IoT devices and protocols, so long-lived "things" may need updatable hardware and software to adapt during their lifespan.”

Gartner explained that IoT business models are capitalising on the data collected by devices in several ways, including understanding customer behaviour, service delivery, product improvements and how to identify and intercept data incidents. 

However, the group believes that new tactics are necessary in order to ensure that data is safe from the hands of hackers. As data volume increases through to 2021, the needs of the IoT could change even further, causing businesses to upskill radically. 

How will wide area networks affect the IoT?

Wide area networks are another key development in the IoT market, as conventional cellular networks do not offer a sufficient combination of technical features and operational costs for IoT applications requiring wide-area coverage. 

The long-term objective for wide area IoT networks is to deliver data rates from 100s of bits per second to tens of kilobits per second with nationwide coverage. While the first low-power wide-area networks (LPWANs) were developed on proprietary technologies, emerging innovations such as Narrowband IoT are set to dominate in the future. 

What will be the biggest challenges for the IoT?

The IoT is continuing to grow across the world, though there are a number of challenges for organisations to consider, includin

Mr Jones explained: “A recurring theme in the IoT space is the immaturity of technologies and services and of the vendors providing them. 

“Architecting for this immaturity and managing the risk it creates will be a key challenge for organizations exploiting the IoT. In many technology areas, lack of skills will also pose significant challenges.”

Even though ecosystems and standards are not specifically technologies, Gartner suggests that standards and APIs will be vital because IoT devices will have to interoperate and communicate effectively, especially with companies needing to rely on sharing data across devices and organisations. 

Several IoT ecosystems will emerge and commercial and technical battles between ecosystems will dominate the smart home, smart city and healthcare. As well as this, organisations may need to engineer new variants in order to support multiple standards or ecosystems and be capable of updating products as standards change.