By Kevin Wentzel, Kopis
The IoT industry went for a wild ride last year as there was a major slowdown in innovation and products getting to market due to chip shortages and supply chain issues.
Despite the rocky end of 2021, the new year is looking a bit more promising for the industry. The Kopis team spoke with industry leaders from all areas of IoT to get their take on where the industry landed last year and where it’s headed in 2022.
Consumer and personal healthcare took off last year. With a continued push on home health and fitness, wearable IoT technology hit its stride. And this industry is poised to grow and dominate again in 2022. Consumers spent $81.5 billion (about $250 per person in the country) on wearable technology such as smartwatches, wristbands, smart clothing, and more. This was an 18% increase in spending from 2020.
Devices will continue to get more affordable too. The cost of IoT in general is becoming more affordable for many more companies, allowing prices for wearables to be accessible for many consumers.
Wearables also will continue expanded growth into sports, performance monitoring, and training. But IoT in sports and personal use won’t just be focused on activity and training. There will be a push this year on the mental health side. We will see wearables break out of the athletics industry and measure things like brain health. New market sectors will innovate on the growing mental health push and stretch IoT devices into this area.
Healthcare – Remote Patient Monitoring
IoT devices have experienced a hard time breaking into the traditional healthcare market in the past due to policies and regulations around privacy and patient safety. However, one area that picked up traction last year was remote patient monitoring.
The COVID pandemic pushed many healthcare providers to rethink how they interacted with patients and open their practices to smart devices. Companies such as Smardii have been heavily honing this type of IoT over the past two years. Smardii’s flagship product is a puck that is used in combination with adult diapers to alert nurses on the health of their patients.
It’s these types of innovations to healthcare that will change the landscape of care and we will see big increases in devices for this sector. Ron Vener, Business Development Manager for Connected Development, also sees the trend of IoT healthcare continuing strong due to the ongoing severity of the pandemic as healthcare will continue to be a main focus in the market in 2022.
The idea of a smart city is still a bit ambiguous, but there are areas within the larger idea of a “smart city” like transportation and utilities that are certainly getting smarter.
Each sector, like waste collection and management, water systems, or traffic management will continue to improve in their own right. Think of them more as hubs, that, while not totally interconnected like one big hive mind, will each become more efficient and will become more equitable as local communities push for everyone to be covered and for transparency with how data is collected and used to better the neighborhoods and districts within the city, said Ralph Heredia , Business Development & Co-Founder of Greenville-based Zipit Wireless.
One example of this is Proterra, an electric bus manufacturer that implemented a tech first approach to their entire maintenance system. Now technicians can walk on to a bus, turn on a computer and look at the engine and all parts of the system to determine the problem without dismantling and running manual diagnostic tests.
In order for cities to move in a tech-first direction, utilities will be an easy focus for many municipalities.
Cities will start defining more smart-capable utility devices, transportation departments will use cameras to determine if a car is sitting at a light to make better changes to traffic patterns. Cities can develop tech-first approaches to parking and power consumption can be controlled not just by schedule but monitored devices.
Ultimately, it’s all about connectivity. Not necessarily a city where every single device is interconnected, but rather “greater access to mobility options for everyone), more sustainable buildings, less traffic congestion (maybe in the form of better traffic management or even better city planning to prioritize walking and cycling), and efficiency – like waste collection and maintenance teams only doing truck rolls when sensors have communicated that a pipe burst or trash bins are full.
Kevin Wentzel serves as COO of Kopis, a Greenville- based technology firm focused on providing high impact software and cloud solutions to businesses and state agencies in the Southeast. With a growing team of more than 40 employees, Kopis is one of the fastest growing software companies in the state of South Carolina.