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The Internet of Things (IoT) Will Be Massive in 2018

Editor’s Note: Bernard Marr, a Forbes contributor, interviews Bret Greenstein, VP of IBM’s Watson IoT Consumer Business.

Greenstein highlighted four key trends, three of those trends were around convergence with other distinct yet highly correlated technologies. This underlines the principle that data is the fundamental ingredient of digital transformation. The technologies predicted to make big waves in the coming year – including IoT, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and edge – are all methods of collecting, analyzing and storing information.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is undoubtedly the buzzword of the moment—everyone is talking about it, but a lot of people still aren’t quite sure what it is. According to Greenstein, 2018 is the year that the understanding of its role as the brain running IoT systems will spread. As more and more devices become connected and capable of speaking to each other, AI – deep learning, natural language processing, image recognition and neural-network driven decision-making – will help them to understand each other, and us.

Greenstein: “In the early days you could do IoT in your home in a lot of different ways and there were a lot of wires and a lot of hard-code – mobile apps came later, but it was still an isolated experience that doesn’t really feel connected … AI is helping to bridge that gap – now we are seeing automakers and hotels and other companies trying to create more integrated experiences and using AI to better understand and interact with people.”

Movement towards greater exploitation of this technology is a key trend for 2018 too, says Greenstein. “Suddenly there are cameras that can not only see, they can understand the image, and microphones which can listen – that’s increasingly being pushed to the edge.”

Blockchain and the IoT in many ways seem built for each other. Blockchain – a distributed and encrypted digital ledger – is well suited for recording details of the millions of transactions which take place between IoT machines. It’s only recently that the idea of convergence between these technologies has been widely talked about, though. “What people missed about blockchain … is that all of this IoT data … requires all of that data to be stored in some kind of unchangeable record. [At first] everyone thought it was about the sensors – but we’re getting to the point where it’s the insights and interactions with people.”


Marr, B. (2018, January 4). The Internet of Things (IoT) Will Be Massive in 2018: Here Are the 4 Predictions from IBMForbes.