“The Internet of Things (IoT) already has a robust technology and a thriving ecosystem poised for exponential growth in 2022. Although the Internet of Things has been fully constructed in the smart home field and rapidly expanded to smart cities; the innovative application of the Internet of Things in the commercial, industrial and medical fields will promote the vigorous development of early-stage companies with a first-mover advantage.
By: Ross Sabolcik, Vice President and General Manager of Industrial and Commercial IoT Products at Silicon Labs
About the Author: Ross Sabolcik leads Silicon Labs’ Industrial and Commercial IoT business and has extensive expertise in applications such as metering, industrial automation, commercial lighting, building automation and retail chains. He holds a master’s degree in computer and systems engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Penn State University.
Content overview: The Internet of Things will be widely used in various new industries in 2022. Ross Sabolcik, vice president and general manager of the Industrial and Commercial IoT Products Division at Silicon Labs, shares his vision for the future.
In this article, you will learn:
• Why IoT is ready for market expansion
• How the commercial, industrial and medical markets will use IoT solutions
The Internet of Things (IoT) already has a robust technology and a thriving ecosystem poised for exponential growth in 2022. Although the Internet of Things has been fully constructed in the smart home field and rapidly expanded to smart cities; the innovative application of the Internet of Things in the commercial, industrial and medical fields will promote the vigorous development of early-stage companies with a first-mover advantage.
From retail to healthcare, energy management to manufacturing, Silicon Labs will bring more advanced IoT solutions this year to improve the sustainability, productivity and safety of operations.
Retail becomes smarter in the post-pandemic era
The widespread adoption of IoT solutions such as Electronic shelf labels (ESL) and asset tracking systems has prompted retailers to take swift measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. electronic shelf labels provide retailers with a centralized price management solution that eliminates the need to manually update prices, freeing up valuable staff time to improve the in-store customer shopping experience.
Asset tracking is another IoT solution that assists store supply chain management by helping retailers track inventory. With IoT-based asset tracking, managers can easily confirm the quantity of items in a store and/or warehouse, an invaluable capability due to current global supply chain constraints. This data can provide important insights to better meet customer needs and improve the efficiency of inventory management. Asset tracking provides better insight into customer behavior, optimizes staffing, and further improves the in-store shopping experience for employees and customers in 2022.
IoT expands from business to industry
The industrial market can seamlessly adopt the same asset tracking system as the commercial sector, which can significantly improve operations.
Labels, such as Trackunit Kin products, can be placed directly on equipment in warehouses, manufacturing facilities, or construction sites. These wireless tags enable standardized workflow management by tracking item location, usage time, fuel consumption and maintenance time. They also prevent theft and help ensure proper use of equipment.
The adoption of these tags and other IoT tools represents a dramatic shift in the widespread adoption of this technology in the industrial market. Many companies have been hesitant to adopt wireless technology, opting for wired products that were previously considered more secure and mature. Wireless technology is no longer a new technology—it has matured, been deployed for over 20 years, and has become more secure. Companies that embrace wireless technology will reduce downtime and increase productivity — setting themselves up for long-term success and improved operational efficiency in the new year.
IT and OT will continue to converge
As industry begins to embrace IoT-based solutions in 2022, engineers must focus on integrating heavy machinery automated operational technology (OT) systems using wired technology into information technology (IT) systems. Many industrial companies are enhancing their IT systems, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, and the logical way to improve overall operations and efficiency is to further apply operational technology. In the coming months, we will see more industrial companies merging their IT systems with new OT systems with wireless technology. This massive technological shift brings enormous benefits to industrial companies that can successfully integrate the two systems.
To get to this point, engineers will need to be more educated about specific IT technologies. This will help create synergies in IT and OT technologies – until eventually machines that fully integrate wireless technology are developed.
Machine Learning Towards Edge Devices
Advances in machine learning (ML) are enabling all industries to move towards an exciting new future. Edge devices with machine learning have many benefits; ML algorithms can train models, evaluate their own performance, and make predictions.By 2022, we can expect ML applications to expand into tiny devices that facilitate living applications—from predictive building maintenance and automation to vision and motion detection that can operate on their own
As more industries adopt IoT devices, they will begin to experience the benefits of machine learning. For example, construction foreman can optimize the use of expensive equipment, prevent maintenance problems caused by overuse, and be more aware of when maintenance is required.
IoT will be a platform, not just a device
This year we will see more emerging trends: the sales process of IoT device products will continue to be simplified, and companies will be able to deploy products at scale and rapidly expand their user base. Equipment manufacturers and developers understand that long product life cycles and quality service are the keys to winning and retaining customers.
Developers are now moving from selling siloed products to offering integrated products and services that deliver value over the life of the product. With the introduction of edge-to-cloud computing, IoT devices can continuously feed back usage and related information to manufacturers, who can leverage this data to provide proactive maintenance and better product functionality. Insights from the deployment of IoT can be used to understand user information and introduce new products.
Device manufacturers are adopting new ways to securely perform remote product updates using the latest software and firmware in the field. Wireless programming allows manufacturers to instantly add new software features and additional functions to all smart devices, however this also requires more advanced security services.
As more and more IoT products are deployed in home and mission-critical industries over time, developers are responsible for protecting against evolving cyber threats, and trusted security hardware and software solutions are a key success factor .
Information security teams need to manage the entire lifecycle of devices. Having advanced security with Root of Trust, Secure Code, and Secure Boot to ensure that end-user private data is always fully protected is critical.
The Internet of Things strengthens security and opens up new opportunities in the market
As the security of IoT products increases, we can expect wider adoption of IoT. In healthcare, there are many use cases for IoT, but adoption is still slow due to regulatory hurdles.
In the near future, standard hospital identification wristbands used by patients can also be retrofitted with asset tracking devices. From medication management and physician consultations to bed and room locations, asset tracking components can help optimize monitoring of every aspect of care. This application model will provide hospital administrators with an important tool to streamline their workflow, especially as they face staffing shortages, and provide a higher standard of care for patients.
Being able to track assets such as patients, wheelchairs and medications, and even staff, can provide hospital management with valuable tools and data to optimize day-to-day operations.
This year will be a turning point for chip suppliers. The technology is sound and the market is mature. Even amid a global shortage of chips, the IoT market presents a huge opportunity for the semiconductor industry. Worldwide microcontroller shipments are expected to reach 30 billion by 2023, and show no signs of slowing down.
No industry will be immune to IoT, edge, and networking technologies in the near future—providing security remains a top priority for all technologies.
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