The Future of IoT: Hardware Bites Back   

Jon Darley

Director of Things


While tech entrepreneur Marc Andreesen once said that software was ‘eating’ the hardware world, the amount of data processing required for IoT devices means that 2020 will be the year that hardware bites back. 

Despite early predictions, there would be 50 billion ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) devices deployed globally by 2020, it seems IoT has fallen short. Currently, there are around 9 billion connected IoT devices – so where are the rest?  

Over the next few weeks we’ll be exploring ten reasons why IoT may have fallen short of analyst predictions, including the changes needed to get IoT back on track.  

Capturing data at the edge: hardware is relevant again 

Consider this: an IoT device is a custom piece of hardware running an application that is linked to thousands of sensors which all use different protocols. In addition, delivering seamless and reliable cellular connectivity is much more complicated than just inserting a SIM card. So, is it a big surprise we are so far off analyst predictions if hardware has been underestimated? 

In IoT deployments 80% of the data and processing is at the ‘edge’ of the network – where the ‘things’ and sensors are. Effective data processing at the edge requires not just hardware, but also specialist hardware knowledge built around understanding IoT technology to allow accurate real-time data capture at the source – without the expense of hauling the data back into the heart of the network. The importance of hardware interpreting and delivering accurate, real-time data suggests that IoT companies which recognise the benefits of hardware expertise will become the prerequisite for the successful delivery of IoT projects in 2020 and beyond.  

Rapid growth of bundled silicon: hardware designed around IoT connectivity 

The rise of silicon firms integrating IoT capability directly into modules or hardware is set to be a major market disruptor in 2020, offering significantly simplified set up and deployment of IoT devices. The real game-changer is this: once the device is activated, it can automatically connect to any network in the world and effectively start provisioning data straight out of the box.  

This might sound like a familiar concept if you’ve heard about Eseye’s recent product launch with Gemalto, Intelligent Cloud Connect – a Plug and Play IoT module which offers connectivity to AWS straight out of the box. As the world’s first direct, fully automated IoT device to cloud solution, simplified set up options such as Intelligent Cloud Connect will help more companies take advantage of IoT connectivity and reduce the time to launch IoT projects – opening up the marketplace and helping get back on track for 2020. 

Next week: the importance of consistent connectivity 

Next week we’ll take a look at how network roaming and the role of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) has impacted the uptake of IoT devices. 

Jon Darley

Director of Things


Jon is an IoT hardware expert with over thirty years of engineering experience. He is the driving force behind Eseye’s rapid prototyping approach, helping customers to reduce their time to market by 75% with a robust testing process.

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