The year 2016 saw the world of Internet of Things (IoT) finally realising its true potential and coming in the forefront. Merging the physical world with the digital world, the IoT industry has started on its path to glory and going at a great rate.

Here are the top 5 IoT trends of this year.

1) Drones become a part of our World

While drones have been in our sight for quite sometime now, their commercial use has been on a halt due to some regulatory barriers. But this year saw these barriers easing up to a certain extent, paving the way for these commercial small unmanned aircraft to soon deliver a whopping wealth of data.

The year finally witnessed drones taking off to deliver new data and innovative business models. The new FAA regulations released in August in regards to low-altitude operation of commercial small unmanned aircraft, unlocking the way for new data and business models founded on the base of this new data.

From this year, Farmers Insurance has started testing the usage of drones for detecting wildfire hazards and sensors to detect motor vehicle damage. These actions are a part of the company's corporate imperative to acknowledge and embrace the world's emerging technologies so that they're able to solve the claims of their representatives faster than ever.

Even Travelers started making use of drones to take live photos and videos of any property damage, thus providing the data to claims agents' devices in real-time and doing away with the way the agents used to climb the roofs themselves.

2) Say hello to a new world, courtesy IoT

This year the world saw IoT entering almost every sphere of our lives. While fitness monitors and connected cars are well-known IoT devices, this year the Internet of Things also entered into retail, utilities and municipalities etc.

IoT and Electricity generation

GE Power, the New York Power Authority, is making use of sensors and predictive analytics for the purpose of reducing unplanned downtime and making 16 generating facilities.

IoT and Retail

IoT has also revolutionised the entire retail sector by linking the physical and digital worlds together in an ecosystem of smartphones, stores, computers, wearables, vehicles and more.

IoT can transform the Cities into Smart Cities

Governments all around the world have acknowledged the great role that IoT can play in transforming cities into smart cities, thus transforming the municipal life altogether. Public safety, water management, environment, transportation and energy conservation are some of the verticals that are being seen as potential beneficiaries of the Internet of Things revolution.

IoT and Food

By making use of low-power wireless sensors and putting gateways to monitor walk-in refrigerators and freezers, Chick-fil-A has turned its focus to the 'Internet of Chicken' for the purpose of improving food safety. Whenever the temperature is below a certain threshold, the system automatically issues warnings.

IoT and Air Travel

IoT technologies are now being deployed by airport operators, airlines, airplane manufacturers and other aviation and travel industry suppliers for the purposes of increasing the experience of airline travellers, as well as improve the safety, performance and maintenance of the planes. For example, the Miami International Airport introduced a mobile app called MIA Airport Official this year so as to provide detailed information to passengers based on their location and needs.

3) IoT and Digital Transformation

Internet of things and digital transformation go hand-in-hand. The data from devices, and the analytics to crunch the derived data, is paving the way for a complete digital transformation of the enterprise.

While connecting the devices is the first step in an IoT production, the real magic takes place when analytics successfully transforms the data into business intelligence.

The General Electric is currently undergoing a drastic change because of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and digital transformation. The evolution is proving to be a great preview of things that are coming for the industrial sector.

Whirlpool is also keeping pace with the changing times and has embraced HANA software. It is also enthusiastically working with IBM on its much-hyped IoT predictive analytics platform.

Avnet, a known technology wholesaler, is currently in the midst of building an Internet of Things solution for predictive machine maintenance of machines that can pick, pack and route products around its fulfillment centers. The sensors are capable of instantly altering the employee in case of potential mechanical breakdowns.

4) Security and privacy still the biggest concerns

While IoT keeps climbing the popularity charts, the other thing which is growing at almost twice the pace along with it is the security concern associated with it.

Nowadays, personal computers are no more the only devices connected to the internet. A variety of devices embedded with Internet connectivity and functions have also joined the party. This very class of devices, known as the Internet of Things or IoT, and has ended up giving birth to a new level of security and privacy risks.

If an urgent focus is not laid on security and privacy of IoT devices, these devices have a potential of turning into weapons of mass destruction.

5) IoT leading to changes in Staffing and Training

In order to stay relevant, tech workers will have to keep their skills updated in tandem with the changes being brought in by IoT and digital transformation. IoT is currently in the midst of an explosion, but unfortunately there aren't enough people with the right skills to manage the escalating IoT project. This unavailability of talent and skills is possibly one of biggest challenges IoT is facing right now.

Via @Cio

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