IoT trends for 2017

According to Intel IoT is expected to be a multi-trillion-dollar market, with 50 billion devices creating 44 zettabytes (or 44 trillion gigabytes) of data annually by 2020. But that widely cited 50 billion IoT devices in 2020 number is clearly not correct! Forecast of 50 Billion Devices by 2020 Is Outdated. In 2017 we should be talking about about some sensible numbers. The current count is somewhere between Gartner’s estimate of 6.4 billion (which doesn’t include smartphones, tablets, and computers), International Data Corporation’s estimate of 9 billion (which also excludes those devices), and IHS’s estimate of 17.6 billion (with all such devices included). Both Ericsson and Evans have lowered their expectations from 50 billion for 2020: Evans, who is now CTO of Stringify, says he expects to see 30 billion connected devices by then, while Ericsson figures on 28 billion by 2021.

Connectivity and security will be key features for Internet of Things processors  in 2017. Microcontroller (MCU) makers will continue to target their products at the Internet of Things (IoT) in 2017 by giving more focus on battery life, more connectivity of various types, and greater security. The new architectures are almost sure to spawn a multitude of IoT MCUs in 2017 from manufacturers who adopt ARM’s core designs.

ARM will be big. Last year, ARM’s partners shipped 15 billion chips based on its architectures. The trend toward IoT processors will go well beyond ARM licensees. Intel rolled out the Intel Atom E3900 Series  for IoT applications. And do not forget MIPS an RISC-V.

FPGA manufacturers are pushing their products to IoT market. They promise that FPGAs solve challenges at the core of IoT implementation: making IoT devices power efficient, handling incompatible interfaces, and providing a processing growth path to handle the inevitable increase in device performance requirement.

Energy harvesting field will become interesting in 2017 as it is more broadly adopted. Energy harvesting is becoming the way forward to help supplement battery power or lose the need for it altogether. Generally researchers are eyeing energy-harvesting to power ultra-low-power devices, wearable technology, and other things that don’t need a lot of power or don’t come in a battery-friendly form factor.


Low power wide area networks (LPWA) networks (also known as NarrowBand IoT) will be hot in 2017. There is hope that f LPWA nets will act as a catalyst, changing the nature of the embedded and machine-to-machine markets as NB-IoT focuses specifically on indoor coverage, low cost, long battery life, and enabling a large number of connected devices. The markets will become a kind of do-it-yourselfers paradise of modules and services, blurring the lines between vendors, users and partners.  At the same time for years to come, the market for low power wide area networks (LPWA) will be as fragmented and  is already in a race to the bottom (Sigfox, said to be promising costs approaching $1 per node per year). Competing technologies include Sigfox, LoRa Alliance, LTE Cat 1, LTE Cat M1 (eMTC), LTE Cat NB1 (NB-IoT) and other sub-gigahertz options almost too numerous to enumerate.

We are starting to see a battle between different IoT technologies, and in few years to come we will see which are winners and which technologies will be lost in the fight. Sigfox and Lora are currently starting well, but telecom operators with mobile networks NB-IoT will try hit the race heavily in 2017. Vendors prep Cat M1, NB1 for 2017: The Cat M1 standard delivers up to 380 Kbits/second over a 1.4 MHz channel. NB-1 handles up to 40 Kbits/s over 200 kHz channels.  Vendors hope the 7-billion-unit installed base of cellular M2M modules expands. It’s too early to tell which technologies will be mainstream and which niche. It could be that cellular NB-IOT was too late, it will fail in the short term, it can win in the long term, and the industry will struggle to make any money from it. At $2 a year, 20 billion devices will contribute around 4% of current global mobile subscription revenues.

New versions of communication standards will be taken into use in 2017. For example Bluetooth 5 that adds more speed and IoT functionality. In 2017, we will see an increase in the number of devices with the new Bluetooth 5 standard.

Industrial IoT to gain traction in 2017. Industrial applications ultimately have the greater transformative potential than consumer products, offering users real returns on investment (ROI) rather than just enhanced convenience or “cool factor”. But the industrial sector is conservative and has been slow to embrace an industrial IoT (IIoT), but is seems that they are getting interested now. During the past year there has been considerable progress in removing many of the barriers to IIoT adoption. A global wide implementation of an IIoT is many years away, of course. The issues of standards and interoperability will most likely remain unresolved for several years to come, but progress is being made. The Industrial Internet Consortium released a framework to support development of standards and best practices for IIoT security.

The IIoT  market is certainly poised to grow. A Genpact research study, for instance, indicates that more than 80% of large companies believe that the IIoT will be essential to their future success. In a recent market analysis by Industry ARC, for instance, the projected value of the IIoT market will reach more than $120 billion by 2021. Research firm Markets and Markets is even more optimistic, pegging IIoT growth at a CAGR of 8% to more than $150 billion by 2020. And the benefits will follow. By GE’s estimate, the IIoT will stimulate an increase in the global GDP of $10 to $15 trillion over the next 20 years.

Systems integrators are seeking a quick way to enter the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) market. So expect to see many plug and play IoT sensor systems unveiled. There were many releses in 2016, and expect to see more in 2017. Expect to see device, connectivity and cloud service to be marketed as one packet.

IoT analytics will be talked a lot in 2017. Many companies will promise to turn Big Data insights into bigger solutions. For industrial customers Big Data analytics is promised to drive operational efficiencies, cut costs, boosting production, and improving worker productivity. There are many IIoT analytic solution and platform suppliers already on the market and a growing number of companies are now addressing industrial analytics use.

In 2016 it was all bout getting the IoT devices connected to cloud. In 2017 we will see increased talk about fog computing.  Fog computing is new IoT trend pushed by Cisco and many other companies. As the Internet of Things (IoT) evolves, decentralized, distributed-intelligence concepts such as “fog computing” are taking hold to address the need for lower latencies, improved security, lower power consumption, and higher reliability. The basic premise of fog computing is classic decentralization whereby some processing and storage functions are better performed locally instead of sending data all the way from the sensor, to the cloud, and back again to an actuator. This demands smarter sensors and new wireless sensor network architectures. Groups such as the Open Fog Consortium have formed to define how it should best be done. You might start to want to be able to run the same code in cloud and your IoT device.


The situation in IoT security in 2016 was already Hacking the IoT: As Bad As I Feared It’d Be and there is nothing that would indicate that the situation will not get any better in 2017.  A veritable army of Internet-connected equipment has been circumvented of late, due to vulnerabilities in its hardware, software or both … “smart” TVs, set-top boxes and PVRs, along with IP cameras, routers, DSL, fiber and cable modems, printers and standalone print servers, NASs, cellular hot spots, and probably plenty of other gear. IoT world at the moment is full of vulnerable devices, and it will take years to get then replaces with more secure devices. Those vulnerable devices can be used to make huge DDoS attacks against Internet services.  The 2016 October 21 cyberattacks on Dyn brought to light how easily many IoT devices can be compromised. I expect that kind of incidents will happen more in 2017 as DDoS botnets are pretty easy to build with tools available on-line. There’s no question that everyone in the chain – manufacturers, retailers and consumers – have to do a better job securing connected devices.When it comes to IoT, more security is needed.



  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Many IoT applications do not need continuous data streaming as in the case of playing a video. Rather, it would need a low cost, low data rate on-demand connection. The non-profit Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) Alliance was created to deliver just that. According to LoRa Alliance LoRaWAN™ is a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) specification intended for wireless battery operated Things in a regional, national or global network. LoRaWAN targets key requirements of Internet of Things such as secure bi-directional communication, mobility and localization services.

    For further information, you may download the LoRaWAN 1.0.2 specification here at no cost. LoRaWAN 1.0.2 Specification and LoRaWAN Regional Parameters 1.0.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    IoT Network Reboots Its Efforts
    Weightless SIG seeks unifying role in LPWA

    The Weightless Special Interest Group is rebooting its effort to drive open standards in low-power, wide-area (LPWA) networks for the Internet of Things. A new startup has taken up the charge for its Weightless-P specification while the SIG aims to carve out a new role as a forum to unify the sector.

    Whether either initiative gains traction, SIG chief executive William Webb makes the case that it’s still in the early days for a highly fragmented sector of LPWA networks. To realize predictions of 50 billion IoT nodes by 2020, vendors need to deploy nearly 13 million a day, but so far, market leaders in LPWA such as Sigfox and LoRa each have connected an estimated 7–10 million total to date.

    “We are bumbling along the bottom,” Webb said.

    Market watchers at Machina Research estimate that Sigfox now has public networks in the works or running in 26 countries, with LoRa following at 19 and Ingenu at 10. At CES, many top cellular carriers and module makers announced that they were ready to start trials of the Category-M version of LTE geared for IoT.

    “We project [that,] as of the end of 2017, the LPWA networks using unlicensed spectrum will collectively cover 32% of the world’s population with 11% for licensed LPWA,” which includes both cellular operators and other spectrum holders such as M2M Spectrum Networks, said analyst Aapo Markkanen.

    “The message we are hearing very strongly is that the biggest problem in LPWA is the fragmentation of the industry,” said Webb. “If you are making a sensor what wireless chip do you put in it? Most people stop because they don’t want to use the wrong one.”

    ETSI’s Task Group 28 has an informal subgroup called Low Throughput Networks (LTN) that will act as a “document rapporteur.” It expects to release a suite of LPWA specifications by the end of the year.

    Sigfox, Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute, and Weightless members such as Telensa are expected to make submissions to the ETSI process, which opens in March.

    “I suspect that [ETSI] will have a family of standards, and you can argue that that will defeat the aim of ending fragmentation, but we hope that a single-chip design could implement all of them, although not all at the same time,” Webb said.

    Startup Ubiik hopes to roll out hardware in February for Weightless-P, the Weightless SIG’s third effort at defining a spec for LPWA networks. The technology has an edge over current market leaders, Sigfox and LoRa, that will help it find traction in the still-emerging sector of IoT nets, said Fabien Petitgrand, chief technologist of the startup based in Taiwan.

    In late 2015, the SIG announced the specification for Weightless-P, which includes radio technology from M2Comm. It is a bi-directional narrowband network capable of up to 100 Kbits/second over 12.5-KHz channels in the 800- to 900-MHz band.

    “The real success [of Weightless-P] will be if we can bring on more players,” said Webb. “We’re talking to quite a few semiconductor companies, and a number of them like Weightless as a vehicle for LPWA.”

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    IoT Will Grow by Collaboration

    As with most new technologies, growth for the Internet of Things will be linear to start before we hit an inflection point that will lead to mass adoption.

    Several challenges must be addressed for IoT to reach this inflection point, which we think is still four to five years away. Areas we are exploring within the IPSO Alliance include device management, security/privacy and identity, and interoperability in protocols and semantics

    Engineers also face challenges packing more software into the low-cost hardware of edge devices. Business managers need to find a return on investment for complete IoT systems that support security, provisioning, commissioning, device management and so on.

    Device management is the missing link that will unite the two camps involved in IoT–the embedded industry developing the “things” and the IT industry/cloud providers. Effectively managing the billions of IoT devices requires that device developers and IT/cloud providers collaborate on issues such as security.

    Groups like the IPSO Alliance can provide a forum to discuss issues such as security.

    Cost is a big challenge given growing software requirements for IoT. For example, device-level security is fundamental but it can require larger microcontrollers, chips which aren’t inherently ideal for edge devices.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    10 Big Data Predictions for Automation and Control in 2017

    This year will provide increasing clarity and direction on Big Data technologies guiding the Industrial Internet of Things.

    The emergence and relevance of Big Data in the world of automation and control has been a work in progress for the last five years, but 2017 could represent a major step forward and tipping point.

    Realizing that the world of industrial automation and control has its own specific set of objectives and priorities, comparisons to general computing market trends are still valid. So here is an updated list of 10 Big Data predictions for automation and control in 2017:

    1. More data than ever before
    2. More projects and spending
    3. Cloud-based solutions vs. on-premises
    4. Rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning
    5. Growth of predictive analytics
    6. Increased focus on real-time analysis
    7. More staff with Big Data skills especially data scientists and database professionals
    8. New tools that enable automation professionals to self-service their own needs
    9. Increased focus on privacy and security
    10. More productivity

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Monitoring a growing network by tracking data trends

    Audit and compliance rules dictate data must be true to ensure processes and systems are running to the height of their performance capabilities. It can also help manufacturers predict future trends by tracking historic data.

    Whether it is a mandatory industry compliance regulation or a company-wide rule, knowing what is on the system and ensuring it is working is a must in these days of growing networks. Audit and compliance rules dictate data must be true to ensure processes and systems are running to the height of their performance capabilities.

    After all, manufacturers have an obligation to ensure they remain in compliance with the law and the data stored is accurate, secure and managed correctly. In addition, auditing and network monitoring provide historical information that can help diagnose problems and track malicious activity. It can also help predict future trends by being able to look at historic data.

    While maybe not predicting the future, one simple case in point gives a good perspective on the location of equipment and its operating status.

    This information at auditing time is critical to make sure from a cost perspective because you know where they are and if they are online and in use.

    Audit trail

    The goal is to keep the history as long as the user wants. By knowing the history of that baseline that could go back for years, it could also help in showing everything is staying within normal parameters.

    By logging network traffic and keeping it forever, it is possible to view an audit trail in an effort to reconstruct a sequence of events. This way, if the user finds something bad did happen, through the tool’s logging component, there is some history where he or she can go back and put the pieces together and figure out what happened and put some mitigation in place.

    Appraising the IIoT

    Understanding network traffic and being able to analyze it becomes all more important as the industry moves toward a more connected Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) environment. Realizing just what is on the network becomes mind boggling when you start talking about IIoT.

    Currently, numbers of sensors at typical process plants cluster around 40,000 sensors. IIoT will increase those numbers to something over 250,000 sensors per plant. Each of those sensors will produce near real-time data at an update rate of four times a minute, or 250 milliseconds per datum. That means each sensor will produce over 5,000 data points per day. That’s 1.44 billion data points per plant, per day. Each of those sensors needs to end up monitored and diagnostically checked for proper operation as part of the network.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    What does time-sensitive networking and real-time Ethernet data mean for the future of industrial systems?

    Avnu Alliance members explain how real-time communications enabled by Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) will strengthen the future of industrial systems.

    The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) brings the opportunity to create smart systems that share data between devices across the enterprise and in the cloud. As interest in IIoT and Industrie 4.0 continues to grow, more designers, engineers, and end-users are looking to Time Sensitive Networking (TSN)—a set of standards under revision from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)—to solve the need to process raw data in a timely fashion, reduce latency, increase robustness, and provide a foundation for more advanced manufacturing and product models where data can be more flexible and shared between layers of the control system. (The TSN Work Group, part of the IEEE 802.1 Working Group [Ethernet], evolved from the Audio Video Bridging [AVB] Work Group.)

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Group launches universal language for the Internet of Things

    The zigbee alliance’s dotdot is a universal language for the Internet of Things (IoT) and is designed to make smart objects work together on any network and improve connectivity on the supply chain.

    The zigbee alliance’s dotdot is a universal language for the Internet of Things (IoT) at CES 2017. dotdot is designed to make smart objects work together on any network.

    “dotdot represents the next chapter in the zigbee alliance’s continued commitment to create and evolve open standards for the smart networks in our homes, businesses, and neighborhoods,” said Tobin Richardson, zigbee alliance president and CEO.

    Most IoT devices don’t speak the same language even if they use the same wireless technology. The result is an IoT that is often a patchwork of translations, adding complexity for developers and limiting users to single-vendor systems. The solution lies in a common language between all IoT devices on any network.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    IoT Startup Rides LoRa
    Semtech manager snags $7M for OEM

    A startup will ride LoRa and Wi-Fi networks to bring the Internet of Things to consumers and businesses this year. TrackNet snagged $7 million in A-series funding from two investors who will help it build and deploy routers and sensors.

    By June, the startup aims to be in production with hybrid LoRa/Wi-Fi routers and as many as seven sensors, the first products launching at Mobile World Congress next month. They will include wearable location monitors, motion sensors for security and environmental monitors for temperature and humidity.

    TrackNet targets both the smart home and commercial users tracking assets and monitoring buildings. It aims to bring relatively expensive LoRa sensors down to the $20-30 retail prices of today’s home automation products.

    Companies are considering LoRa as a lower cost, easier to deploy alternative

    “All the major OEMs from Foxconn and Flextronics to Gemtek have major programs with various sources underway for Lora hardware,” said Schmidbauer.

    Plans for as many as 30 national LoRa networks have been announced from many Asia operators and virtually all those in Europe except for Telefonica and Vodaphone, he said. In the U.S. Comcast recently announced it will support Lora, and China has shown interest, he added.

    Rival Sigfox is said to have 7-10 million nodes deployed and at least as many announced networks, market researchers say. Another rival, Ingenu, is not far behind with a network promising higher data rates, and many proprietary alternatives also are active.

    The unlicensed players face emerging competition from cellular operators also starting field trials of LTE Cat M networks.

    The 10-person startup includes a handful of engineers, some from IBM, who developed the LoRa spec.

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Alexa: Secret Agent or Double-Agent?

    I’m now sufficiently intrigued with Amazon Echo and Google Home. But when it comes to an actual purchase, I’m still on the fence. What about you?

    Maybe it’s just me. The idea of having “machines” constantly listening to me in the privacy of my living room, bedroom, kitchen or — God forbid — the bathroom? It freaks me out.

    When Nvidia’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang introduced in his keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show something called “Nvidia Spot,” a small artificial intelligence microphone designed to “extend intelligent control throughout the house,” as he put it, I did a double-take. “Did he just say ‘Nvidia Spy?’ ”

    At CES, we also learned that Alexa isn’t just for the Amazon Echo anymore. With the help of Alexa Voice Services, any developer can now add the Amazon virtual assistant to their device; Google’s letting developers do the same with Google Assistant.

    In short, even if I don’t want a microphone eavesdropping on me, I may no longer have a choice.

    This is the new norm the industry was trumpeting at the Consumer Electronics Show.

    Hardware suppliers, software designers and service providers are enamored with the power of AI. The next big thing is AI data centers fully equipped to collect, learn and analyze data, transforming all that eavesdropped data into “information.”

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Amazon just launched virtual ‘Dash’ buttons for one-click buying from the homepage
    Just let me live in the warehouse already.

    Another day, another attempt by Amazon to make buying something as easy as humanly possible.

    The e-commerce leader just unveiled digital versions of its Dash buttons — those tiny, physical gadgets that allow for one-click reordering of your favorite products with one tap of a finger.

    The new virtual Dash buttons started appearing on the homepage and the Amazon app home screen on Thursday night. The company is automatically creating ones for items you recently ordered or order often. An order is placed with one click or tap on the digital button.

    An Amazon spokesperson said Prime members can create a virtual one-click button for tens of millions of products available for Prime delivery. “Add to your Dash buttons”

    Virtual Dash buttons are free to use, while the physical ones cost $4.99.

    Amazon Dash Button
    Amazon Dash Button makes ordering easy. With a simple click, Prime Members can order their
    favorite products.

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Lockpicking in the IoT [33c3]

    Lockpicking in the IoT
    …or why adding BTLE to a device sometimes isn’t smart at all

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    David Pierce / Wired:
    Inside Xiaomi’s Internet of Things strategy: invest in IoT firms in exchange for 10-20% stake and the right to brand and sell their products

    China’s Plan to Rule the World: Make All the Gadgets

    Instead of just making and selling smartphones, Xiaomi wants to make and sell just about everything.

    Xiaomi’s first successes came from the rise of smartphones and its early understanding of e-commerce. Now De says another wave is coming. The Internet of Things, he believes, could be bigger than phones. “Every electronic device you use in your life could also become smart,” he says. Xiaomi started exploring the idea in 2013, and quickly realized no single company could dominate the entire sector. Consumers own one phone but will have dozens, even hundreds, of connected devices.

    Instead of trying to build them all, Xiaomi went shopping. It has invested in 77 companies, giving them access to its designers, marketers, and massive supply chain in exchange for a 10- to 20-percent stake and the right to brand and sell those products.

    It has sold more than 50 million connected devices under that strategy, and seen four of its portfolio companies hit a market cap over $1 billion.

    This outsourced-but-integrated approach could make Xiaomi among the first to offer a complete portfolio of connected devices, controlled by a single app—Mi Home. It wants to be The Everything Company.


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