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The future of IoT miniguide: The burgeoning IoT market continues

Billions of IoT devices are already connected, with 75 billion due to arrive in the IoT market by 2025. What does the future of IoT look like?

The proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT)-connected devices has had impact on so many facets of daily life, and this growth is expected to continue.

From connected cars to traffic lights, home security systems, connected toys and smart speakers, the IoT market has grown for some time and is due to reach 31 billion connected devices by 2020 and 75 billion devices by 2025. The future of IoT devices certainly signals more connected things—billions more.

But IoT devices function in an entire ecosystem of technology advancements—technologies that will continue to fuel advancements in these connected devices themselves. The Fourth Industrial Revolution—a confluence of technologies such as 5G networks, artificial intelligence, robotics, and cloud and edge computing—will usher in new benefits with IoT devices, including more immersive experiences via virtual and artificial reality, even faster, more contextual decision making using real-time data, greater automation and more human-robotic interaction as well as reduced costs, greater operational efficiency and more.

With increasingly more connected things, enterprises also have to face the threat of an expanding attack surface. How enterprises secure things and the infrastructure that connects them will become increasingly important to the security of the IoT ecosystem and to successful Internet of Things adoption.

In this guide on the future of IoT, we explore applications of connected devices today, and in the future, and in various industries and applications. Experts say that while the future of IoT is burgeoning-but that doesn’t mean enterprises should adopt with abandon.

“I don't think the progression of the Internet of Things is gonna be linear,” said Kevin Ashton, who coined the term Internet of Things in 1999. “We're gonna see more and more Internet of Things, applications, more and more Internet of Things value every year. So, although we're 17 years in, we're not 17% done yet.”

Experts such as Ashton say that enterprises should proceed by testing IoT pilots, learning, and implementing limited deployments. Test-review-iterate is the kind of cycle that IoT technologies still require for successful adoption and a promising future of IoT technology.

“A lot of CIOs, CEOs, people, ask, ‘What do we do about the internet of things?’” Ashton said. “My answer is always, ‘Start gradually.’”

Check out our additional stories on the future of IoT in retail, in smart city technology and more below.

Smart city technology is helping to solve urban mobility challenges such as traffic congestion and traffic safety. But when will smart city technology become integral to city projects rather than a novel experiment?

Smart city infrastructure is enabling efficiency, cost reduction and improved living for city occupants. But it needs edge networks to create these efficiencies.

AI in the workforce is often discussed in light of displacing human jobs. But AI is about displacing certain tasks, not jobs.

Smart city initiatives flourish when they are directed by a data-driven approach that focuses on pilot projects.

Falco is the first ferry to operate with no captain. This autonomous ship signals the future of maritime transport—on the intelligent edge.

IoT devices are becoming part of a smart city infrastructure that can combat the strain of city growth, from traffic control to environmental issues.

Industrial IoT devices are proliferating, as is the data they generate. Edge computing can boost the usefulness of analytics in these environments.

IoT edge devices are finally bringing cloud capabilities directly to the users and devices that need them. Here are the five elements of IoT edge devices.

The intelligent edge enables data to be processed without the latency of the cloud. This speed and performance is opening up the possibilities of IoT devices.

Successful IoT projects start with understanding these seven components of an Internet of Things-based system.

The convergence of three retail technology trends—AI, 5G connectivity and IoT-connected devices—is poised to change the customer experience. 

From 5G to the Internet of Things to AI and edge computing, the infrastructure is now up to the task of boosting consumer digital experience.

Retail trends in 2019 already suggest that chatbots aren’t all that, online and in-store experiences matter, and intelligent personalization is the key to long-term customer relationships.

Managing the supply chain can feel like rolling a rock uphill—only to watch it tumble down again day after day.

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Lauren Horwitz is the managing editor of Cisco.com, where she covers the IT infrastructure market and develops content strategy. Previously, Horwitz was a senior executive editor in the Business Applications and Architecture group at TechTarget;, a senior editor at Cutter Consortium, an IT research firm; and an editor at the American Prospect, a political journal. She has received awards from American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), a min Best of the Web award and the Kimmerling Prize for best graduate paper for her editing work on the journal article "The Fluid Jurisprudence of Israel's Emergency Powers.”