Whether you are a business owner or just a thoughtful consumer, the Internet of Things is changing the way we live and work. This is a rapidly expanding technology with leading authorities predicting that the number of active consumer and business IoT devices will reach 25 billion by the year 2021.

IoT devices are already a staple in our everyday lives, whether you are using your smart wireless speaker to listen to music or installing a massive security infrastructure in your commercial facility. Because IoT is such a big part of our modern lives, it is vital to understand how it may shape our lives in the future. Here are some of the most important trends that are likely to gain steam soon.

Data Analysis

With the number of IoT systems growing at a breakneck pace, data is also being created exponentially. Humans can only do so much, so corporations are focusing on artificial intelligence to help them sort through, analyze, and make sense of vast quantities of data.

IT vendors recognize the importance of being able to keep track of astounding amounts of data and are investing heavily into artificial intelligence and analytical aids to help keep organizations and large companies competitive.

Companies like Google and Tesla already recognize the importance of this autonomous data analysis technology because their self-driving cars depend on it. Both companies employ advanced software algorithms in their self-driving, which allows the vehicle to make decisions in real time.

It will, therefore, be crucial that any organization is hoping to understand the importance of this IoT trend that deals with data analysis for them to have any kind of hope of thriving in the coming years.

Security Trends

Security may be the most crucial issue to address if IoT systems are to continue to be functional in our society. IoT devices and systems are among the most vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Entire cities can be held for ransom by a crafty enough hacker who hijacks valuable information through weak IoT security. In fact, it is estimated that system hacks, including those from IoT infrastructure, costs the United States $100 billion annually.

As more and more cities are beginning to rely on IoT to manage everything from traffic lights to utility distribution, it is more important than ever to beef up security. This is why one of the most essential IoT trends is mobile device management. Mobile device management allows for specific security vectors to be protected when transferring data from one device to another.

This trend will also shape the way companies train their employees. Knowing how to use or manage an IoT system safely will become a point of emphasis in training programs as the human risk factor is significant.

An Emerging Market

As data collection and analysis becomes more advanced through IoT, a fledgling market will bloom in full force. Data as a commodity will be a significant factor for businesses and corporations. They will have to be very careful about what data is being sold about their organization and fiscally plan for the purchase of strategic consumer and product data.

This trend will lead to a new kind of market wherein data can be bought and sold, and new services will emerge to act as data vendors.

This trend which is being called “Infonomics” will have vast implications for various industries and markets as it can be used to collect information about how a product works or doesn’t work and use that data in a marketing or ad campaign. Likewise, a company can collect data from their manufactured products to see how they can be improved upon.

The Homes and Cars of the Future

With Smart homes and self-driving cars, the future really is now. Smart appliances can be connected to a single operating panel where the homeowner can control pretty much every aspect of function from automatic washers and driers to temperature as we see with Nest smart thermostats.

Manufacturers who specialize in appliances and home products like windows and blinds are chomping at the bit to make their products IoT connectable so we can expect this trend to keep going strong which will have a profound impact on the way we live our home lives.

Tesla has been one of the pioneers of self-driving car technology which utilizes IoT sensors to safely traverse roads and IoT connectivity for things like navigation and traffic analysis.

Customer Service

The way companies interact with and service their customers will be affected more and more in the coming years as well. As more products are able to feed data to a central control system, companies will know when one of their product is not working or need maintenance immediately even before the consumer recognizes it.

This kind of software is called Customer Relationship Management software and is being integrated into sales and maintenance software already.

Regulation and Ethics

Perhaps one of the most socially significant impacts that IoT will have in the future is the ethics of data collection and use. It is a real challenge for any organization to govern the way they handle user data and to train their staff on how to do so ethically.

The ethical way in which data can be collected, generated, used and even destroyed will be the hot topic of debate very soon and implementing a sort of universal governance for these protocols will be a daunting task that will require significant efforts from various industries.