It's hard to not be at least a little excited about IoT.

People have already become accustomed to the diet version of IoT, wearing Fitbits and Apple Watches and tapping their Amazon Dash buttons when they're running low on laundry detergent. Smart refrigerators, allowing people to take inventory and re-stock without opening the door, are becoming a fixture in more and more homes.

What seemed like a CES fever dream has now become a reality for many people all over the world.

When I look ahead at the biggest IoT trends this year, here's what I see:

Security

As IoT becomes more commonplace in 2018, the biggest industry trend will be on improved security.

Though smart objects are becoming more commonplace, many people are still hesitant about the data privacy ramifications of connecting more devices to the internet.

Even among IT professionals, this is a major issue. One survey shows that only 30 percent of IT professionals truly know how many devices are on their network. However, only 44 percent said their company had a known IoT security policy.

The internet has proven to be susceptible to DDoS attacks, and sadly, IoT is not immune from this. On October 21 last year, a major DDoS attack hit servers of major companies such as The New York Times, Netflix, Twitter and Paypal. The same technology that made these servers vulnerable to hackers lives within IoT.

Attacks on IoT devices could have a devastating effect, depleting consumer confidence and companies will do everything in their power to avoid becoming the next Sony or Target.

Blockchain

Over the years we've slowly seen IoT and blockchain technology merge.

At this point, it's well established that blockchain has deeper applications beyond just the fintech industry. It can enhance the security of devices and making for more seamless transactions.

As IoT developers embrace blockchain technology, it gives servers a trusted party through stored data. Experts believe that blockchain can be a huge boost to IoT, majorly reducing costs for industry manufacturers by cutting out the intermediary from the process.

Through blockchain, transactions and device data will be completed on a peer-to-peer basis, relieving much of the contractual or legal costs.

Blockchain for IoT could fundamentally change the way businesses interact globally, providing a qualified ecosystem that can automate and encrypt transactions.

Smarter Cities

Several cities all over the world (such as San Diego, Boston, Dubai and Nice) have started to plan for their new "smart city" reality, but it hasn't been ready for implementation.

Through smart cities, everything from street lights to parking meters can be connected to the internet. Amsterdam has been a test case for what experts call the Internet of Everything. Major industry leaders such as Cisco and Philips have worked with city leaders and local government to develop energy and money-saving smart technology plans for the city.

Amsterdam also set up The Things Network, allowing residents to transmit data between objects via a low-power, low-bandwidth technology.

How else has IoT changed Amsterdam? Many canal boats in the Dutch city are prone to sinking, due to Amsterdam's rainy climate. Experts have installed nodes in boats, using bowls to monitor when a boat has started to take on water. Previously, this would've gone undetected. Once an issue becomes apparent, the node sends an SMS message to a maintenance company.

I can definitely see how Amsterdam, which relies on canals and bicycles as primary modes of transportation, can benefit from deeper IoT integration.

I'd love to see more areas implement IoT technology to benefit citizens, building a true network of smart cities. I think we'll see even more discussion, planning and groundwork toward this goal this year.

Published on: Dec 26, 2017