IoT technology & trends

All around us, the pace of change is accelerating. Explore how industries are adapting and learn about the technologies leading the way, now and into the future.

IoT connectivity

An overview of IoT connectivity with definition, key technologies and a comparison of the main technologies.
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5G

A look at 5G including 5G definition, key benefits and opportunities for IoT.
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eSIM (eUICC)

An overview of the eSIM including eSIM definition, benefits for IoT and eSIM adoption.
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LTE-M

An overview of LTE-M with LTE-M definition, drivers, adoption, use cases and deployment.
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Mobile vs WiFi

Learn the pros and cons for mobile and WiFi connectivity.
Mobile vs WIFI

IoT history and trends

Evolution of mobile technology

Mobile technology evolves to meet ever increasing demands and rising specification requirements. Here we trace the evolution of mobile technology and present our forecast for the future.
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IoT trends & predictions

A look at recent IoT trends & predictions and a collection of our Internet of Things Trends reports. 
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What is IoT technology?

Deploying IoT entails securing an end-to-end technology solution that includes hardware (device, components), connectivity technology, and platform and applications (software), which are often brought together with the help of a system integrator or technology consultancy. Each of these IoT technologies is important and carries its own requirements. IoT technology enables organizations to realize efficiencies and capture opportunities and therefore brings together horizontal technology such as connectivity and cloud computing with vertical technology such as industry-specific software and applications plus sector-focused devices. The first Internet of Things device is believed to be a vending machine and the term Internet of Things was coined in 1999 by British technologist Kevin Ashton.

Key IoT technologies

There are currently a range of fragmented technologies available for Internet of Things that utilize connectivity delivered over both licensed and unlicensed spectrum. Connectivity isn’t alone amongst enabling IoT technologies and most IoT relies on additional technology including:

  • Cloud compute resources
  • Multi-access edge computing (MEC)
  • Machine learning
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Data analytics and processing
  • Security
  • Over-the-air (OTA) upgrade
  • Device management software

In addition to these IoT technologies, IoT also relies on well-established enterprises systems. To explain IoT enabling technologies requires an understanding of the end-to-end business process that IoT capabilities are enabling and which adjacent technologies and software are required will depend on the individual service or application. Frequently used systems include enterprise resource management, product lifecycle management, billing and charging, sales tools, CRM and CX-related software and cloud management systems. This is not an exhaustive list and often the benefits of IoT technology are unlocked by applying machine learning and artificial intelligence to IoT data in order to enable greater automation and operational business cases.

IoT is all about doing things at great scale so it is vital to the success of deployments that IoT technologies can handle growth into hundreds of thousands or even millions of connections. To achieve this configuration, provisioning, security and upgrades need to be provided with minimal human interaction to aid profitability and time-to-market.

To choose the right option for a specific Internet of Things application when facing such a diverse selection of technologies, requires an understanding of technology from many different angles. As illustrated below, our framework divides the criteria into three main dimensions: technical, commercial and ecosystem-related requirements.

Connectivity technology requirements

The current fragmentation is however not viable for the industry in the long-run as organizations look to accelerate deployment and time to market. We believe that certain connectivity technologies (or providers) will emerge as leaders in their category, but no single technology or solution is ideally suited to serve all potential IoT use cases. A number of technologies (and vendors) will coexist alongside each other, as complementing rather than competing standards. The choice of connectivity technology for an enterprise depends on the specific use case requirements and competitive environment. In any case, a phased approach is recommended, where companies start small and scale gradually.

To choose the right option for a specific Internet of Things application when facing such a diverse selection of technologies, requires an understanding of technology from many different angles so time and care should be taken to ensure you are making the right technology decisions not only for the early phase of your deployment but for the long-term massive IoT mature stage.

Related content: a guide to IoT terminology

What is IoT? - IoT definitions

Over 185 IoT terms and technologies explained.

Got to IoT definitions

What is IoT? – IoT connections

What are IoT connections? An overview of IoT connection types and IoT devices.
Go to IoT connections

What is IoT? - IoT communications

What are the communication protocols used by IoT? An overview over common IoT protocols.
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What is IoT? – IoT security

What are the IoT security risks, considerations and issues for the near future?
Go to IoT security

What is IoT? – IoT market

An overview of the IoT market and its economic development.
Go to IoT market