Looking Back On IoT In 2016

It was a year of great interest in the IoT, for good reasons and bad.

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The Internet of Things was going great guns for most of 2016. Until October 21, that is. That’s the date of the coordinated cyberattacks on Dyn, an Internet performance management services firm. The distributed denial-of-service attacks quickly had impacts on Airbnb, Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, PayPal, Reddit, Twitter, and other popular websites.

Dyn was able to fight off the aggressive attacks, limiting the damage to that one day. It soon after announced that it would be acquired by Oracle. Everything’s good now, right?

Not really. Because those attacks employed unsecured IoT devices, the event had a further chilling effect on consumer adoption of IoT technology. There were many IoT devices under Christmas trees last month, yet the Dyn episode was a wake-up call for IoT cybersecurity, a call that ARM Holdings and many other companies answered in the following weeks.

One positive trend of 2016 was the number of semiconductor vendors taking the IoT seriously as a potential market opportunity. “Dev kits” proliferated from many chip suppliers. Intel signaled that it is looking toward the IoT in the post-PC world, introducing the Joule IoT compute module in August and reorganizing its IoT Group in November, spinning off the new Automated Driving Group.

It was a year of big acquisitions. Among the largest were the $32.2 billion purchase of ARM by SoftBank Group and the pending $47 billion acquisition of NXP Semiconductors by Qualcomm. Analog Devices is buying Linear Technology for about $14.8 billion. Near the end of the year, TDK put up $1.3 billion for InvenSense. Cypress Semiconductor acquired Broadcom’s Wireless Internet of Things business unit for $550 million.

Venture capitalists were on the prowl around IoT startups. Investors in Ayla Networks ponied up another $39 million. Afero attracted $20.3 million in private funding.

Big companies announced big investments in IoT technology. SAP committed more than $2.2 billion, Samsung Electronics pledged to invest about $1.2 billion in IoT startups, and IBM added more than $200 million to make its Watson artificial-intelligence technology applicable to the IoT.

We entered 2017 with one less IoT standards consortium. The AllSeen Alliance joined forces with the Open Connectivity Foundation, as the OCF committed to continued development of the AllJoyn standard. The Industrial Internet Consortium released its Industrial Internet Security Framework.

Sierra Wireless held its first annual IoT Developer Day in San Jose, Calif., building on the Innovation Summits it holds each year in Paris.

In short, an eventful year for the Internet of Things. Let’s hope for a less exciting and interesting year in 2017 — 12 months of stuff getting done, useful products being introduced, and continued cooperation in those pending IoT industry standards.

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