Top 12 Technology Trends In IoT To Watch For In 2021

If technology continues at the pace that it is currently at, we can expect to see as many as 28 billion Internet of Things devices that are connected on the Internet by the year 2025. If you haven’t heard of IoT (Internet of Things) before, it refers to any ‘thing’ that is outfitted with sensors or technology which allows them to exchange data with other devices that are also connected to the Internet. Waverley is a company with a deep understanding and expertise in IoT applications – if there is a developing IoT trend, we’ll catch it.

Waverley Software has worked with clients in numerous industries such as home automation, robotics, and energy analytics – all projects based in IoT. Coming from our experience with IoT applications and observing our recent projects, we came up with this list of IoT trends to watch in 2021 and moving forward. This article will brief you with all you need to know about the state of the industry!

Internet of Things (IoT) Technology Trends in 2021

Moving into 2021, we can expect a surge in IoT device usage. The overarching theme of IoT trends in the coming year will be the increasing ubiquity of smart devices that consumers and the average person will have the chance to interact with in their daily lives. Expect to see IoT market trends point towards devices becoming more affordable and introduced to household goods and found in common interactions in society.

Sensors will play a key role in the functionality of IoT enabled devices. IoT sensors will create data from real-world observances that their sensors register and document. IoT devices will work around-the-clock to observe live changes in the environment that humans wouldn’t notice or don’t have the time to pay attention to.

Impact of COVID on IoT

The COVID-19 virus and the regulations passed to limit the spread of the virus have far-reaching effects on the state of Internet of Things technology and devices. As there is a push to minimize contact and create physical distance between people due to COVID-19, IoT offers tools to accomplish this.

Enhanced safety precautions introduced from COVID-19 and the pandemic will create an increase in touch-less technologies that you may interact with on a daily basis. We will see more options for payment while checking out at stores. While traveling, the introduction of check-in services that do not require an agent will become more widespread. You may check-in and board your plane at the airport without an agent assisting you. 

To increase public safety, COVID-19 IoT devices might help to manage the occupancy levels of venues or restaurants. Scanners at entrances and exits will be able to keep a running tally of how many people are inside at once in real time, as to not overload the venue.

In terms of sanitation, sensors placed outside of restrooms, will be able to tell at what frequency and how many people have used the restroom in a given period of time. This will allow sanitation workers to clean according to use and not just according to time that has passed. IoT devices will be put in charge of monitoring air quality of spaces and perhaps increasing filtration when it is needed.

The future of IoT technology may play a bigger role in security since people are working from home, more security will be needed for devices that have access to company data. Phones and computers that are logged on to company servers will be the primary target of hackers, ransomware threats, and viruses. Companies will be forced to ensure that employees’ devices are secure and use IoT technology to make sure that no devices are compromised.

5G Connectivity

Being the next generation in cellular network technology, 5G will continue to be rolled out throughout the coming year. Surpassing the previous 4G is every regard, 5G will bring more bandwidth and much improved download speeds to all devices. 5G is one of the top IoT technologies that will become widespread. The new power of 5G will allow for wireless data transfer speeds that we haven’t seen widely available yet. These high speeds will enable low device latency, alway-on connectivity, and larger coverage to impoverished parts of the world that may be lacking physical wireless connectivity infrastructure. We may begin seeing 5G implemented in IoT devices such as self-driving cars, real-time robotics, disaster recovery equipment – all IoT devices that need uninterrupted connection and heavy data usage.

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

As more and more devices go online and users are on their devices at unprecedented levels, it is no longer feasible for humans to sort through data because the rate at which it is created is uncontrollable. Instead, we must resort to machine learning and artificial intelligence to help us manage the data and make use of it all.

Machine learning is using an algorithm that improves itself as it gains more data. This Internet of Things technology pairs perfectly with Big Data, which is a massive volume of data that old methods of data analysis can’t process efficiently. As Machine learning accumulates large amounts of data, it can make more accurate predictions. Intelligence IoT can provide companies with a competitive advantage allowing them to increase analytical and predictive abilities, boost risk management, scale faster, and identify money and time-wasting pitfalls within the company.

Artificial intelligence IoT examples might include robots that track inventory at warehouses, smart home appliances that learn users’ behaviors or preferences and adjust accordingly, and also self-driving cars that can correctly predict traffic situations.

Machine learning and Artificial intelligence IoT solutions will be implemented into self-driving cars that can predict traffic movements from vehicles and pedestrians, or smart home devices like thermostats that adjust naturally to user’s preference or to the local weather conditions, we might see automated robots that scan and monitor stock in a warehouse or store.

Digital Twin

A digital twin is another developing IoT trend and what it does is exactly as you might expect. It is a virtual asset that corresponds directly with a physical object. This allows for the object to be thoroughly tested digitally before it is implemented into the real world. Using real world data, a Digital twin can provide accurate simulations of how the program would function in the real world without risking security or resources by demoing it on a live service. A digital twin is an emerging Internet of Things technology that is useful for saving money as well as for testing. Digital twin technology may benefit the manufacturing, automatitive, and healthcare industries by allowing them to check production processes, model traffic conditions, and work to predict patients’ health based on comparing vitals digitally – all in real-time.

Edge Computing

Edge computing allows for us to get shorter response time and save bandwidth. Edge computing considerably reduces the amount of data to be transmitted, the traffic, and the distance this data has to travel. Edge computing will shorten the trip for data by placing the user closer toward the data or server that they actually need to be using.

In the age of Big Data, which is huge amounts of information that grows exponentially, there is seemingly limitless data being created, the physical infrastructure can only handle so much at a time. Edge computing will allow for less frequent slow-downs in speed when many users are using the network at the same time. This type of IoT technology will help with processes deliveries and self-driving vehicles.

Industry IoT Market trends in 2021

Manufacturing and Agriculture

Manufacturing and agriculture is the most popular of the sectors to include IoT applications. This sector may have been slow to undergo a digital transformation, but it is quickly introducing new technologies into the field. Using sensors and other connected devices, the agricultural and manufacturing fields will benefit from the digitalization of product operations.

Expect to see production floor monitoring, automation of quality, management of assets, and smart devices to track workers’ safety and productivity – all possible with data analytics and Internet of ThingsSmart farms are already starting to gain an edge on the competition by using Internet of Things technologies for precision agricultural practices, monitoring livestock health, automated drones that can map fields and even spray crops.

These farms can also make use of IoT sensors to check weather conditions, soil moisture, and chemical balances. With the influx of industrial IoT usage in the agricultural and manufacturing sector, businesses will be able to make more data-based decisions, minimize downtime, create high-quality products with less effort, and come to see increased profits and enhanced efficiency across the board.

Transportation and Supply Chain

The transportation and mobility sector is the second largest area for IoT application in 2020. The transportation sector is expected to continue increasing IoT adoption. This sector benefits from technologies like fleet management, route coordination, driver behavior tracking, and vehicle diagnostics and monitoring. Using IoT technologies, fleet uptime will be increased, strategic route-mapping will reduce fuel consumption, as well as vehicle sensors making it safer for drivers and pedestrians.

Predictive maintenance, using algorithms and sensors to determine when maintenance should be done, will certainly be used to make sure the vehicles and facilities are always running smoothly. IoT solutions won’t just come in the form of vehicles either, IoT platforms and connected devices can engage mobility properties like warehouses, docks, and shipping yards to make them all run more streamlined.

Being able to monitor the condition and inventory at warehouses, you can minimize product losses, adjust energy and fuel consumption needed for heating or conditioning, and keep track of every single item.

IoT applications like outdoor sensors will be used at these facilities and can monitor weather conditions to help arrange the optimal time for departures, arrivals, and loading for locations dependent on weather. 

Energy, Buildings, Smart City

With the growing size of city populations, there comes a strain on resources so a need to streamline and make distribution of resources as efficient as possible appears. Cities may quickly undergo a digital transformation and adopt IoT applications to fit their needs. Now and in the near future, we are going to see smart utilities and buildings that are outfitted with sensors will work to collect data and optimize the use of water and electricity, determine amounts of waste disposal, and recognize safety measures for inhabitants. Smart cities very well may become a top IoT sector in the coming years.

Urban planners and city authorities may make use of IoT platforms for traffic counters, cameras, and other sensors to improve how a city is arranged, how transportation functions, and increase public safety in general. Implementing more efficient systems in a city can reduce frustrations for its inhabitants. A use case of this is to register how much traffic occurs at certain times of the day and modify traffic lights to accommodate increased vehicle loads. IoT solutions for energy usage might be the analysis of grid data and optimizing energy generation, transfer, and usage in real-time. An example of this would be sensors in cities that would dim street lights in areas that do not get much traffic at certain hours of the night.

Healthcare and Wearables

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw skyrocketing use of online healthcare consultations. For some higher-risk patients, it became too dangerous to visit the doctor for checkups so they resorted to virtual consultations, digital diagnostics, and even the ability to receive real-time remote treatment from the safety of their home. The healthcare field became a top IoT sector during the recent health crisis and, moving forward, this tech may be known as the Internet of Medical Things. IoT-enabled applications will serve to be able to keep track of vitals of patients throughout the day via their wearables or other connected devices, this will allow for data-driven insights on the patient.

Healthcare branches such as elderly care or assisted living rely on the constant status of their patients’ health and safety, so IoT devices like wearables will be preferred tools in the medical field. IoT solutions like smart devices(such as pacemakers) work to help people living with heart disease a purposeful life and but also monitor their vitals and other metrics in the most efficient way possible. The Internet of Medical Things may be the missing piece of technology that truly helps many patients and healthcare workers achieve constant and accurate care.

Security IoT market trends

Security and Data Regulations

While connected devices have a multitude of benefits, a critical downside to this technology is that, if a device isn’t secure, it can allow for network vulnerabilities in case there’s a breach because said device likely interacts with other devices on the network. Once the malware accesses the whole system, even more, malicious activity can be conducted. User’s privacy and sensitive information – corporate information will also be at risk. Both types of users will have to take extra precautions when it comes to having an array of connected devices that could possibly compromise their personal data.

The use of real-time vulnerability scans, endpoint detection, and response tools, and using dedicated wireless networks are some of the best ways to strengthen personal or corporate security. IoT technologies from Blockchain to ML will help create more advanced security abilities such as stronger encryption solutions and the ability to use data analytics to recognize suspicious behavior patterns. With that, expect governments to attempt to regulate data collection – we are already seeing this with the onset of GDPR and CCPA. Guarding personal data may be a recurring issue with IoT tech.

Consumer IoT trends

Smart Home and Customer Assistance

One of the IoT trends that will keep expanding is the use of IoT devices in the home and in daily interactions. We continue to become accustomed to interacting with virtual assistants in our daily lives – from assistants found within the screen to hardware interfaces we might see at the local shopping center or bank. Virtual assistants can be present in different forms like a voice-activated assistant on your phone or a chatbot on your favorite brand’s website. The function of these digital assistants is to help us find information, solve problems, verify our identity, and even perform real-world functions like ordering a pizza. Within ‘smart homes’, we will see virtual assistants, in the form of smart devices, adjust and learn your habits. Your thermostat will learn that you like to heat the house in the morning during colder days and will begin doing that automatically for you. Smart homes with IoT tech will allow smart-lightbulbs, heating and cooling systems, and other household appliances to optimize for your preferred conditions.

Blockchain – one of the top IoT trends

A term that you will continue to hear more about moving into 2021 is Blockchain and it is certainly one of the IoT trends to watch. Simply put, Blockchain is a digital record of transactions that occur. It works similar to a ledger, but transactions are stored across multiple devices so there is no one owner of the transactions. In the near future, IoT Blockchain technology will likely be used to keep data accounted for on a host of devices so that there is less downtime and faster movement of data. Another benefit of Blockchain technology is that the record of transactions are tamper-proof – the record can only be added to but never edited.

Blockchain can be used as a reliable keeper of bits of data since it is inviolable. It can be used to track where produce is grown, who picked it, at which times it reached certain facilities – all with perfect accuracy. In a global economy, we can expect that a single product may contain materials from a multitude of countries. Blockchain will play a part in the future of IoT usage because it enables all parties to track the progress of a product during manufacturing, transportation, and sales.


As IoT technologies advance, we will see more widespread adoption of IoT systems and an influx of applications – much more than described in this article. There are currently 34,000 that are making use of IoT technology, which is a 27% increase from the previous year. Future IoT developments seem limitless, as new brilliant ideas are launched and ingenious IoT products are created, we will see the world becoming a more efficient and comfortable place to be.