IoT 5 mins read

IoT: Roadrunners, pilot purgatory and quantum leaps

Learn why Roadrunners, pilot purgatory and quantum leaps are the future of IoT this year.

Bart Schouw Bart Schouw

In 2022, there are three growing trends for the Internet of Things (IoT) that could impact the organizational aspects of your progress.

We’ve already discussed the growing importance of IoT digital twins, so here are our next three predictions:

  1. Beep-beep…how fast can you code?

Companies with a build-your-own-IoT-stack strategy will get in serious trouble in 2022. They often do it to claim a unique intellectual property (IP), or so they think. However (to paraphrase Elon Musk), it is not about owning the IP but about innovating faster.

The pressure of the market to accelerate the delivery of new functionality will increase to a point that, even if you were the Roadrunner (cartoon bird), you would not be able to code fast enough. Add to that the fact that developers are a scarce resource, and you have a toxic cocktail that is a serious threat to your strategic IoT projects – and most likely your company’s success.

The tide will shift for those reasons from buy-OR-build to buy-AND-build. Expect companies to swap out their self-built solutions and move to standards-based components.

  1. Pilot purgatory will accelerate

Another reason companies will swap to commercially built IoT platforms, retiring their first-generation self-built solutions to commercial ones is “pilot purgatory.”

This will be caused by organizational challenges, technology costs, cybersecurity, interoperability, and installation issues and will accelerate in 2022. Why? Developer-centric self-built initiatives face exponential complexities in maturing and scaling their solutions to mission-critical grade.

While the potential economic value of IoT is considerable, capturing the value has proved challenging, particularly in B2B settings. Many enterprises have struggled to successfully transition from pilot programs to capture value at scale. In 2022 companies this realization will force companies to make hard decisions.

  1. You will quantum-secure your IoT device

The quantum revolution is upon us. Although the profound impact of large-scale, fault-tolerant quantum computers may be a decade off, near-term quantum computers will still yield tremendous benefits for IoT.

From a cybersecurity perspective, while quantum computing may render some existing encryption protocols obsolete, it has the promise to enable a substantially enhanced level of communication security and privacy.

IoT allows huge numbers of devices to work together for great benefit, but large networks come with security risks. IoT system’s diverse security issues include data breach, data authentication, supply chain attacks, irregular updates, malware and ransomware.

Quantum cryptography is already possible, and you might see large breakthroughs in 2022. Quantum cryptography makes a more secure communication possible, serving as a defense against cyberattacks including data breaches, authentication, and malware, and ransomware.

QC can also speed up the verification and validation process across all the systems several times faster while ensuring constant optimization of the systems. The speed is incredibly high and IoT benefits from this speed since IoT devices generate a massive amount of data requiring heavy computation and other complex optimization.

In 2022, you can expect to see substantial investment in solving the core problems around scaling qubit count, error correction and algorithms.

  1. Proof of anything will be the mantra

The IoT world will shift its focus from the Internet of everything to the “proof of anything,” as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) take off.

There will be a lot of hype around NFT, which will be explored predominantly for public “proof of ownership” cases, especially for easily reproducible items such as photos, videos, audio, and other types of digital files. This year they have been primarily leveraged in use cases such as collectibles, art and gaming.

The market will get especially excited about the idea that NFTs can prove to a “smart contract” that you are at a specific place at a specific time, which then trigger something to happen in the digital world; a “proof of presence” in other words. This is minting an NFT that uses the real-world data as “proof.”

However, NFT will also “proof a challenge,” as everything has to happen on-chain (e.g., Ethereum). Also, NFT’s do not really provide a good standard mechanism to link to appropriate NFT metadata other than, optionally, allowing three fields – name, symbol, and URI – to be set. Hence, most use cases will need heavy additional smart contract programming.

 In the light of IOT, for IoT “identity” there are better standards such as DID (decentralized identifiers) (or X.509) which can also easily be anchored in any blockchain (not limited to Ethereum) but provide native identity resolution mechanisms in the real, off-chain world outside any particular blockchain/DLT technology. These mechanism are also independent of any ownership model.  So, while NFT tickles the imagination, real-life use cases will not prove to be that easy. 

Our 2022 predictions have been done in conjunction with our team of IoT experts below. Later in 2022, we will go back and examine them all to see just how good we were at telling the future of IoT.

The author wants to thank the crowdsourcing team: Christoph Strnadl, Phillip Hooker, Milan Petrovic, Tobias Sommer, Kevin Palfreyman and Muhammed Mokthar for their contributions.