Pandemic effects are expected to impact IoT in 2021

Cristina De Luca -

April 02, 2021

What trends are expected to drive the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) in 2021? The higher technological dependence, both for professional and personal purposes in the period of confinement imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, will certainly have repercussions in the IoT near future.

According to Forrester forecasts, many IoT initiatives will focus on health and safety. In 2020, people stopped seeking medical care for chronic diseases, fearing coronavirus contamination. In 2021, IoT solutions, such as sensors and clinical devices, are expected to emerge to monitor the patient’s health at home.

Also due to the pandemic, many companies adopted the WFH (Working From Home) method in 2020. Forrester predicts that at least 80% of organizations will develop strategies to return to workspaces, including IoT applications to facilitate social distancing. Location systems are expected to be applied to provide employees with security and convenience in common use environments. Similar technologies may be adopted by companies that deal with the external audiences – customers and consumers – to provide virtual queuing, takeaway and reservation solutions.

Other companies started to connect assets that were previously disconnected and carry out part of the operations remotely in 2020. They understood that this approach can help prevent equipment failures proactively, for example, and alert field technicians to perform maintenance if required. In 2021, more companies are expected to follow this trend.

In terms of connectivity, Forrester foresees the 5G and Wi-Fi deployment will decline compared to 2020 levels due to market chaos, with numerous wireless solutions. For long-distance, low earth orbit satellites can be a complementary option. The expectation is that interest in satellites and other low-power network technologies will grow by 20% in 2021.

Growth in numbers

Investments in the Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives have grown in recent years – and last year was no exception, even with the pandemic. According to Gartner figures presented in infographics by Raconteur, 82% of executives said they increased the amounts invested in IoT solutions over the past three years. In addition, 47% said they will continue to raise the figures, with a more than 50% increase for the 19% share of executives.

In addition, a Microsoft studyfound that the pandemic accelerated the IoT’s journey – one in three decision makers said their organizations will increase IoT investments due to COVID-19 and another 41% said they will maintain the same level of commitment.

In Brazil, in particular, a law enacted in December 2020 will provide tax incentives for IoT projects. Under the new rule, some taxes levied on telecommunications stations that integrate machine-to-machine communication systems are zeroed out. The law also provided for licensing rules for such equipment with the National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel).

This law came into force in January 2021 and is valid for five years. For the Ministry of Communications, the expectation is that the measure will make IoT technologies cheaper, bring investments to Brazil and generate more than 10 million jobs in the coming years.