Top IoT Trends of 2016

Nancy Anderson
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More and more devices have wireless connections, and experts collectively call these devices the Internet of Things. Like it or not, businesses, employers, workers and consumers need to be aware of IoT trends to remain competitive in various industries. These devices continue to grow in popularity, and several trends in 2016 point to a growing IoT industry.

Prices Continue to Fall

Wearable medical devices and smartwatches are two of the most common IoT devices on the market in 2016. Research and development teams began producing many of these products in 2014, and as they got smaller, faster and better, their prices came down. Prices lowered because these IoT devices flooded the market. Some device companies may face bankruptcy in 2016, and others may merge with each other. As companies figure out which devices sell and which don't, prices should continue to lower on popular items.

Data, Data and More Data

IoT devices connect sensors and machines to software that collects and disseminates the information gathered by the devices. In 2016, companies must determine what to do with all of this data. Devices transmit information to a cloud computing system. While in cloud storage, software then turns the data into usable information. Methods used to turn the data into real-time operations should improve in 2016.

For example, what can a company do with someone's vital signs during a workout? Can the information go to a primary care physician? Could a dietitian use this information? How does a wearable health monitor transmit the most important information to medical health professionals? A lot of the data includes sensitive information that only certain people should be able to access. Medical devices that come under the auspices of HIPAA are examples of wearable technology that makes it easier for practitioners to monitor patients.


The software and programming behind these devices must also handle security issues. Programs can become more predictive by continuously monitoring data collection. When something goes awry, systems should adapt to the intrusion. IoT devices need to maintain the privacy of customers to avoid losing their trust. 


Companies and industry leaders must note several areas of investment that may take off in 2016, with security at the forefront. Companies should add connectivity to handle the data load, such as new 5G networks produced by wireless providers. Data storage companies also stand to gain as more devices rely on cloud computing structures.

How devices talk to computer systems remains an issue. Should devices be compatible with Microsoft, iOS or Android? Apps and app developers can take IoT devices to the next level as more people program apps that serve as go-betweens. Smartphones and mobile devices must communicate with the wireless device and the place where the software stores information. As analytical systems improve, the communication among the device, computers, smartphones and apps becomes more efficient.

Area of Improvement

Experts note one major area that needs improvement in 2016 as devices become more complicated. Security must improve at all levels, particularly as companies communicate with government agencies to pinpoint possible threats. Then, companies need to talk to customers about any data breaches. Intrusions could pose safety threats for individuals, health providers and manufacturers.

The Bottom Line

Businesses can also increase their bottom line through IoT devices that enhance productivity and improve efficiency. As businesses continue to invest in IoT technology, the prices of many devices may decrease, making the technology more affordable. Once manufacturers realize the rewards of the investments, prices generally start to go down as demand rises.

Companies that manufacture and program these devices stand to gain the most in 2016 and beyond. As many as 34 billion connected devices could be in use by 2020, up from 10 billion in 2015. These devices need a lot of behind-the-scenes work to ensure they perform properly, so companies must hire tech employees to handle the coming demand.

The Internet of Things continues to go forward, with better devices hitting the market. Firms that embrace these changes in 2016 will have an advantage moving ahead. As such, the sooner companies adopt an IoT strategy, the better position these companies have in terms of lowering costs and increasing profits.

Photo Courtesy of Cea at


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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Catherine thanks for your comment. It is all truly amazing stuff and it's still in its infancy. Remember the cartoon the Jetsons? Well, we are certainly taking that from a writer's imagination and turning it into real life!


    I'm really interested in how the Internet of Things trends will impact healthcare in terms of wearable medical devices. You mentioned fitness tracking devices, which I have seen are a really good at motivating people to get up and walk around during the day when they have a sedentary job or lifestyle. I've also heard about other types of wearable medical devices that can be lifechanging. For example, there is a shirt that babies can wear that measures their heart and respiratory rate and sends that information to their parents' phones. Researchers are also developing wearable insulin monitoring devices that will not only measure blood sugar levels but will also administer insulin at the right times and send all of this data to both the patient and doctor. It's truly amazing stuff.

  • Tara Avery
    Tara Avery

    This is really fascinating stuff. I've often wondered about IoT trends. I think it's especially important to keep an eye on this sector because it's so internet-savvy and because there's so much data involved. It's a bit of a petri dish to see how questions about privacy and data are managed, in a market that constantly changes and grows. Thanks for this great read.

  • Lorri Cotton
    Lorri Cotton

    The health care implications of IoT technology are astounding. Theoretically, now persons who need specialized monitoring can obtain it in an extremely convenient way. The privacy implications, in my opinion, outweigh the benefits. I, personally, don't want anyone being able to track my location on a whim. Not because I'm doing anything wrong, but because I have a right to my privacy.

  • Jacqueline Parks
    Jacqueline Parks

    Although I understand the concern about privacy issues, I am excited to see the Internet of things expand in industry and business. I think more data through Internet connectivity will help reduce waste and lead to better products and services to meet consumer needs. Forward thinking consultants need to stay continually up-to-date in this area to avoid offering bad advice to clients, and job seekers may want to consider staying current in the field to expand their opportunities.

  • Jay Bowyer
    Jay Bowyer

    I find the whole IoT concept fascinating. Some people worry a lot about data breaches, but I am more curious about what these interconnected devices can tell us about ourselves. More data equals more potential for learning, product development and growth. It'll be interesting to see which companies continue on by themselves in 2016 and which companies merge. It's an exciting time!

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Technology is a must, not just for companies, but for all of us. We all need to embrace it because it's here to stay.

  • Shannon Philpott
    Shannon Philpott

    I love the possibilities here. It is so interesting to see forward-moving companies utilizing these technologies to improve their productivity, but as many of you have mentioned, it can be a bit scary to see their capabilities. However, embracing technology really is a must for companies to thrive and survive in this day and age.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for all of the comments and questions. It will be interesting to see how this all falls out over the next few years. It would seem only to be common sense that IoT would open up more job opportunities, at least in the short run. @Katharine I totally agree that retailers should consider having training sessions to teach consumers how to use the Fitbit and other wearable technologies. @Jacob, scary to think that a company would be able to monitor any wearable technology of their employees unless, of course, the company is providing the wearable technology. I would respectfully decline to wear any technology that is being monitored by my employer! Just my opinion. I think that the bottom line is that, as @Jill stated, there is serious room for growth in technology of all kinds.

  • William Browning
    William Browning

    I wonder how much of a labor shortage tech companies will have as these devices hit the market. With billions of devices set to flood the consumer market in the next five years, do high schoolers and college grads have the technical know-how to keep up with the labor trends? Hopefully, the companies in the United States don't look overseas to find employees.

  • Hema Zahid
    Hema Zahid

    Even though there may be bankruptcies and mergers on the horizon, IoT companies have the potential to drive up employment rates in the immediate future. The manufacturing may take place in automated factories, but when it comes to selling and customer support IoT companies will need to hire people. Outsourcing customer support will not provide the best returns as most customers will want their questions answered by someone who actually knows how the device looks and works.

  • Sylvia L.
    Sylvia L.

    Jacob, I completely agree with your concerns. In a world where it seems we're being monitored regularly, where our privacy is violated on so many levels, this sort of thing would raise my blood pressure.

  • Jacob T.
    Jacob T.

    I guess I can see the potential value of these wearable bits of technology, but it strikes me as a concern that employers would have another way to physically track employees. Are there to be penalties for high heart rates because it causes the overall insurance premium to go up? Would an employee need approval to move away from his or her desk without tripping an automatic disciplinary action for lack of productivity?

  • Katharine M.
    Katharine M.

    The article mentions that this trend will lead to tech jobs to perform behind-the-scenes work to make sure that devices operate probably. I wonder if businesses will also hire people just to help employees use the devices. (similar to the classes at the Apple store that teach the basics of the iPhone). I could definitely use that- mastering these devices doesn't always come easily to me.

  • Jill Coleman
    Jill Coleman

    I totally agree about the interest in these. Look at how many Fitbits sold for Christmas this year. I recently went to the North American Veterinary Conference and they are making these for dogs now. There was crazy amounts of interest which I didn't totally understand, because right now it just monitors the dog's movements. But if you want to see if your dog is, say, scratching less on some new medication for allergies, it will tell you this. It will also let you know if your arthritic dog is doing better, moving around more, on his new arthritis medication. There is serious room for growth here - heartrate for cardiac patients, GPS for senile patients, etc.

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