In the past year, we saw incredible growth in IoT adoption and investment.

Over 8 billion devices are connecting our world today, 60% of companies are pursuing an IoT initiative, and worldwide investment in IoT has reached a staggering $800 billion.  

And while the IoT market continues to grow, the ways in which companies are planning and delivering IoT solutions changes each year.

Tracking IoT development trends in 2018 will give us insight into how organizations are shifting focus, priorities, and methodologies in their IoT journeys. Here’s what we predict will be some of the key highlights in the year ahead:

Shift to ROI-driven development

IoT development initiatives in the coming year will increasingly be backed by firm business cases to quantify ROI ahead of investment.

Teams will plan their IoT strategy based on company objectives they want to achieve, from improving product resilience to providing value added services, and making decisions based on data.

With the end goal in mind, companies can map how their IoT system will be designed and implemented to bring them closer to these goals and deliver tangible results.

Importance of data strategy at the outset of planning

Today companies turn towards IoT to collect valuable data for improving products, getting to know customers better, and quickly identifying the root cause of malfunctions. However, PDMs consistently report an overload of data coming from their IoT products and an inability to capture the bulk of its value.

Until now, a majority of product development managers pursued IoT development without a clearly defined strategy for collecting and analyzing targeted data – at the outset of the planning phase.

We expect that this year will see more teams formulating their data strategy at the beginning of IoT development, taking into account a range of technical and business considerations, and only then choosing an analytics platform for data management and insight.

Adoption of agile development methodologies

In 2018, we expect that companies will turn to lean IoT development methodologies for reducing costs, cutting time, and freeing up resources.

In this new model, emphasis is placed on systematically and iteratively coming up with IoT concepts and conducting basic technical and financial feasibility assessment to support a go/no-go decision. Companies will then move on to develop physical prototypes for winning concepts before proceeding to engineering the connected product.

During this process, organizations will opt to bring in IoT experts and developers on-demand to supplement their existing teams, thereby reducing overhead and eliminating bottlenecks.

Modeling and simulation to reduce costs and risks

As part of the move towards cheaper and less risky IoT development, teams will leverage platforms that enable them to visually model and simulate concepts from initial planning stages to market launch.

Virtual IoT modeling will make it easier for product managers to define the behavior of their system, communicate how it will function to stakeholders, and collect feedback directly on the model for an efficient iteration process.

The IoT model will go hand-in-hand with a functional, virtual prototype to simulate events inside the system and quickly verify concepts ahead of investment. IoT simulation will not only allow teams to identify gaps in their system spec, but will also be a key tool for getting early buy-in from stakeholders and customers experiencing simulation runs.

Rise of the Chief Innovation Officer in leading IoT

Product managers and engineers are currently leading the bulk of IoT development. But as client-centricity, business growth, and product innovation come into the focus, multidisciplinary teams led by a Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) will become increasingly common.

The CIO will be more central to planning and delivering company IoT solutions by looking internally for optimizing operations and meeting objectives, externally for generating new value for customers, and cross-organization for fostering department collaboration to achieve these goals.

Closing the development cycle with behavior analytics

An important final trend for next year will be how product teams complete the IoT development loop with behavior analytics.

Traditionally, once a connected product was launched to market, organizations were met with loads of data and no clear way to analyze product usage for making informed decisions and improvements to the product.

Behavior analytics is beginning to change this reality and will continue to do so in the year ahead. This new breed of IoT analytics gives product teams direct insight into how their IoT system (including its devices, machines, apps and clouds) is functioning in the field, while comparing the behavior back to the system spec.

Companies can expect in 2018 to get continuous feedback from their products, see exactly how users are engaging with them, and where to make changes for improved user experience and increased adoption.

Interested in learning more about changing trends and best practices for IoT development? Join an IoT Strategy and Ideation Workshop led by Seebo’s experts.


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Jackie Retig

Jackie is a marketer, writer, avid coffee drinker and life traveler.