IoT 2020: trends and outlook

With more than 26 billion smart objects* worldwide in 2019, the Internet of Things is still expanding. Even though IDC analysts estimate that 10% to 30% of IoT projects will fail in 2020 (due to poor performance, poor product understanding, and lack of funding), smart objects are becoming commonplace, offering ever greater efficiency and security in companies and more comfort and well-being in homes. What’s more, the range of applications is expected to broaden to include the social, environmental, and financial aspects of city life. So, what can we expect in 2020?

Software as a Service is becoming the norm

Software and Platforms as a Service (SaaS and PaaS) are now considered essential, helping companies outsource their computer applications and offering them a real showcase where they can promote their products.  Stewart Butterfield, co-founder of Slack, a cloud-based instant messaging platform, pointed out: “Every customer interaction is a marketing opportunity. If you go above and beyond on the customer service side, people are much more likely to recommend you.” This is an emerging trend in the IoT market, promising an even more comfortable life for users.

Illustration - cloud Slack

Cloud vs Edge Computing

Cloud-based software publishers are now competing with platform developers to become leading destinations for IoT. Their focus is on finding new applications and taking advantage of their integration capacities. Partnerships between equipment manufacturers, service providers, and solution providers are growing, creating even more use cases and improving existing ones. Google will very likely be ahead of the curve in seeking out such partnerships. 

While cloud technology has a bright future ahead of it, edge computing is also expected to be adopted by consumers and industry in 2020. Now, instead of an IoT device sending all its data to the cloud, data can first be transferred to a local device situated closer to the smart device or at the edge of the network. After sorting and calculating the data, local storage devices send some of the data to the cloud. This makes it possible to reduce the traffic to the network and manage a large amount of data sent by multiple devices.
As for the data generated by IoT devices and analyzed by companies, it is expected to become a valuable decision-support tool.

Priority on security 

As the network expands, more and more information is under threat. 70% of IoT devices are vulnerable to attack**, so it is vital that robust security go hand in hand with the increased use of IoT to protect data from being stolen or maliciously attacked. 

5 keys for a more secure approach to IoT and enhanced equipment security

  • Install authorized firmware to make the equipment startup phase more secure.
  • Increase equipment security through certificate-based authentication and no longer just a simple password.
  • Protect debug ports through the use of authentication so that they don’t remain open.
  • Make data storage secure, even in embedded systems.
  • Make connections secure by encrypting data and optimizing the management of associated encryption keys.

Smart cities for the general public

According to Frost & Sullivan, 70% of people will live in cities in 2025, compared to 50% today, worldwide. Driven by urban population growth, the smart city market is expected to reach $1.5 trillion worldwide in 2020.

Smart City


More than just a concept, smart city is an unmistakable trend. Integrating the IoT into cities will bring tremendous benefits for everyone, paving the way for sustainable development, optimizing the flow of traffic, and improving safety in cities.

With France’s Energy Transition for Green Growth Act going into effect next year and a host of environmentally responsible innovations across all sectors of the economy, 2020 will be the year when the environmental crisis will become omnipresent in our lives.

Smart cities will start springing up, as is already happening in the United States, where some cities are already using the IoT to connect public services, parking meters, and traffic lights. This change will spread to all corners of the world, as evidenced by increased technological spending in smart cities, which could reach $135 billion in 2021***.

Predictive maintenance 

Predictive maintenance is another IoT trend in 2020.  By using the IoT’s predictive skills, companies can offer their customers and employees advanced services, such as:

  • Helping property owners know about damages and leaks in their home to prevent disasters and contribute to their maintenance. 
  • Helping managers to identify mechanical problems early to optimize on-site technician service calls.
  •  The use of IoT and smart objects helps bring together the different floors of a factory within its management.  This provides better time management, security, and also feedback. 

Increased adoption of IoT in the healthcare sector

According to a report by Frost & Sullivan, the Internet of Medical Things is expected to grow at an annual rate of 26.2% to reach $72 billion by 2021. IoT devices make it easier to monitor patient health and assist doctors through mobile apps and virtual assistants that monitor patient health, especially at home. Other smart devices are expected to emerge and shake up the medical sector.

Explosion of voice assistants


In 2020, we’ll see new voice-assisted applications for consumers and companies, becoming veritable dashboards for home automation. And demand is expected to peak due to a number of factors. 

First, improved technology is making voice recognition software more accurate and better capable of distinguishing voices. Also, integrating voice recognition technology into devices has become affordable. It can be implemented in most objects in homes and buildings by simply adding a microphone. In addition, consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with these voice assistants. Juniper Research predicts that, by 2023, more than 8 billion voice assistants will be in use throughout the world.

The growth of IoT is likely to accelerate the advent of smart homes, smart buildings, and smart cities, particularly since the sector’s leaders have finally come together to work toward a common standard. To be continued…

Forecasts for 2020: 

$103 billion 
estimated global smart home market in 2020 – Source: Strategy Analytic

30.7 billion 
number of connected objects worldwide in 2020Source: Statista

The IoT accounts for 17% 
 of the most disruptive consumer technology (13% for AI and 8% for robotics) Source:

* Source: Statista (IOT): enjeux et perspectives 2020
**Source: HP Security Research
***Source: IDC

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