Three IoT platform predictions for 2021

IoT predictions by Samuel Hale, Steve Hilton, and Josh Taubenheim

As we leave behind a tumultuous 2020 and head into 2021, we’re a bit more battle scarred, but also wiser about what is needed in the IoT world. As part of our reflection process, MachNation has been talking with our large enterprise customers and has arrived at a set of three IoT platform predictions for 2021.

1. Enterprise customers will demand high-resilience IoT solutions to support business continuity requirements. 2021 will be the year of highly resilient IoT solutions that are backed-up with strong SLAs around alarm query rates, message success rates, device reconnect rates, up-time, and more. The drama created by Covid-19 has left businesses with a heightened focus on business continuity and disaster recovery: protecting against unplanned risks is front-and-center with every IT department. It will no longer be acceptable for IoT platform and software vendors to build solutions that work for a proof-of-concept (POC) and then suffer massive performance degradation at pilot or production scale.

In 2021, every aspect of an exceptional IoT platform and IoT solution will be tested for reliability, resiliency, and performance with added emphasis on chaos testing. By testing all data- and device-related workflows of an IoT solution, vendors and enterprises can offer high-availability IoT solutions. In enterprise markets with heightened sensitivities to high reliability and business continuity, IoT solutions that test their technology will thrive. Those that choose to continue offering untested solutions will flounder.

2. Exceptional IoT vendors will provide digital twins (and other platform services) that have been quantitatively verified to scale with an IoT solution. We know that analysts and the IoT ecosystem are enamored with IoT digital twins. We like them, too. But we like them a lot more if they have been tested and can successfully scale with an IoT solution. For example, have you asked your IoT platform vendor for independently verified performance statistics about its digital twin?

Two aspects of a digital twin–the ability to get data into and out of a digital twin–lay at the heart of digital twin reliability. Unfortunately, we know far too many IoT platform and solution vendors that have never tested the performance of their digital twins, events processing, analytics workflows, and the IoT apps on the top of the stack that provide the ultimate business value for an IoT use case.

In 2021, exceptional IoT platform vendors and enterprises will provide fully featured digital twins that can meet strong performance requirements. These ecosystem players will test, tune, and improve the performance of their digital twins, events processing workflows, device management workflows, and more to ensure that enterprise customers’ implementations won’t be befuddled by poorly performing microservices. A little extra food for thought—here’s an additional article from MachNation explaining our recommended approach to testing a digital twin.

3. Enterprises will redouble their focus on IoT device management, the unsexy underbelly of IoT. IoT device management platforms are not sexy like AI and machine learning. They don’t create tons of fancy graphs, charts, analyses, and reams of amazingly insightful data. They are often the begrudgingly discussed piece of the IoT stack. But exceptional device management is fiendishly hard to provide. And every single IoT customer realizes–sooner or later–that poorly designed device management can mercilessly crush an at-scale IoT solution.

In 2021, we’re going to see vendors focused on IoT device management capabilities to support bulk campaigns, high-throughput FOTA/SOTA updates, delta updates for FOTA/SOTA, low-touch  provisioning methods like scanning QR codes that register devices to an IoT platform, IoT applications (mobile and desktop) allowing OT users to execute device management actions via UI, and bulk device provisioning with APIs that are tested and proven to handle high throughput rates. As part of this IoT platform prediction, we believe that enterprises need to place more emphasis on device management during the early stages of their IoT decision-making processes.

MachNation believes that customers will push their IoT partners to quantitatively prove the reliability of their IoT platform and end-to-end IoT solutions. The past 9 months have reinforced the importance of business continuity, disaster planning, and high reliability in all technology sectors. Exceptional IoT players will need to up-their-game to meet customers’ requirements.

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