5 Internet of Things Trends for Startups to Watch in 2019
Serge Koba

These days, tech innovation can be the defining line between success and failure in business. With the ubiquity of technology pushing emerging trends almost every day, it is easy to find yourself falling behind your competitors after missing a vital opportunity to introduce "the next big thing."

There are thousands of IoT startups competing for a limited pool of investor cash, and the rivalry between new companies is fierce. Ninja Blocks is a company started in Sydney developing a smart interface for users to interact with their IoT devices without the need for an app. Notion, another IoT startup working out of Colorado, is putting a new spin on the smart home, with a single IoT sensor that provides a range of insights into your home via a simple phone app.

What these companies all have in common is that they use the latest trends to their advantage. Now we're going to go over 5 IoT trends these companies are banking on. This list may give you some ideas on ways to implement your own innovation.

1. IoT will be strengthened by Artificial Intelligence

IoT devices are everywhere, on a scale that's already eclipsed the entire human population. With so many connected devices around the world, the integration of AI technology into IoT devices was inevitable.

The Internet of Things presents a unique opportunity to collect vast quantities of data with little effort. Combining the data acquisition capabilities of IoT devices with the learning and processing of advanced AI gives IoT technology a powerful avenue for machine learning implementations.

Many IoT devices are already beginning to incorporate this focus on AI integration, with big names in machine learning jumping aboard. Microsoft, Google, and Amazon have begun work on AI applications for IoT, with more likely to follow in the near future. These AI-capable IoT devices are poised to provide huge benefits in multiple sectors across the globe.

2. Legal issues will be of increased importance

The recently enacted General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) doesn't have anything specific regarding IoT devices, but this is very likely to change in the near future. With data acquisition and safe-keeping being the primary focus of this regulation, you can be sure that the IoT will soon fall under its purview.

California has already taken the lead for IoT device security, ensuring that new devices manufactured in the state meet basic security standards. This is critical to the adoption of security across the industry, with far too many devices lacking basic security functions. These new standards will guarantee newly created devices come with built-in security, something that is badly needed for the IoT industry as a whole.

New IoT devices will be forced to comply with any forthcoming regulations. This is likely to affect not only the kind of data being stored by IoT devices, but also how and where that data gets used. It is something the IoT community should readily embrace.

Getting ahead of new regulations and setting high standards for data security would go a long way towards assuaging the fears of wary customers. Providing transparency on data acquisition policies and customer privacy is a great way to win public support and ensure any new regulations have no negative impact on the industry.

3. Voice-enabled IoT solutions

If you've seen commercials for devices like Amazon's Echo featuring Alexa, you've already witnessed the application for voice in the IoT technology. This is predicted to be a huge selling point for smart home devices, with voice-enabled entries from huge companies like Google making an appearance. These devices are expected to reach 300 million sales by 2023, demonstrating a real interest from consumers for voice-enabled IoT products.

4. 5G & LPWAN: new connectivity standards are slowly but steadily approaching

IoT devices rely on their connection to the internet. It is the nature of the product to be gated by the same constraints any other computer hooked to the internet would be. This means latency and bandwidth play a huge role in the performance of IoT devices.

The wide adoption of the upcoming 5G networking is just a question of time. This standard brings increased bandwidth and, more importantly, a major reduction in latency and increased reliability. Many device manufacturers that demand rapid response times and a high-degree of uptime will welcome 5G networking into their products.

Even more impactful are the improvements being made to the Low-Power Wide-Area Networking (LPWAN). It already sees use among small, low-power IoT devices like sensors. The ability for these devices to operate even longer on battery power, with a longer effective range and more reliability will make them a staple in everything from infrastructure to manufacturing. There are a huge number of use cases for low-power, low transmission rate IoT devices that can take advantage of these advancements. The number of LPWAN-connected devices is expected to surpass a billion early in the next decade.

5. Complex IoT solutions to involve other innovations

As businesses continue to find new uses for IoT devices, the market will continue to expand. Thanks to the ever-growing potential of interconnected devices, there's almost no sector or application in which IoT couldn't potentially find itself being used. It's not a question of "if" IoT devices will find adoption in any given industry – it's a question of "when?"

Blockchain technology

The primary selling point for Blockchain is the accuracy and security of the information contained within a decentralized chain. It makes sure that collected data remains intact and untainted even with multiple routes of access being available.

Essentially, blockchain is a generalized term that covers a wide range of protocols and implementations. They all share the unifying characteristic of acting as a digital ledger for information, with each block in the chain providing shared verification for the data stored within. A limited number of IoT devices are making use of specialized blockchain protocols for this very reason, and it is predicted to rise to as many as 20% of all IoT devices in the near future. One of the fields where integration of IoT with blockchain can yield is logistics and transportation industry.

Web Real-Time Communication

Web Real-Time Communication is a technology designed for browser-based two-way communication, which can involve, among other things, IoT devices. WebRTC enables video and audio streaming without complicated and expensive in-house development of custom APIs or interfaces.

Large corporate entities are making extensive use of WebRTC, showcasing its power and flexibility even for large-budget projects—for example, Amazon is able to connect Echo devices utilizing WebRTC. Communicating with these kinds of devices through a web browser gives the end user a comfortable and familiar way to configure and set up their products.


It is important to take advantage of these trends and stay updated with other predictions while they are still attracting investors in order to beat out the competition. Your own unique take on how IoT can drive business opportunities could easily be the tipping point for a new influx of cash and growth of your company. Companies that jump at the chance to become a leader in IoT innovation have the potential to lead their own trends in the next few years, becoming the next big thing on the developing market.