NEW YORK – Forbes magazine interviewed Bret Greenstein, VP of IBM’s Watson IoT Consumer Business, who highlighted four key IoT trends. Interestingly three of those trends were around convergence with other distinct yet highly correlated technologies.

This underlines the principle that data is the fundamental ingredient of digital transformation. The technologies predicted to make big waves in the coming year – including IoT, artificial intelligence, blockchain and edge – are all methods of collecting, analyzing and storing information.

AI will make the IoT smarter and more productive to work with

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is undoubtedly the buzzword of the moment – everyone is talking about it but a lot of people still aren’t quite sure what it is. According to Greenstein, however, 2018 is the year that understanding of its role as the brain running IoT systems will spread. As more and more devices become connected and capable of speaking to each other, AI – deep learning, natural language processing, image recognition and neural-network driven decision-making – will help them to understand each other, and us.

More CPU power will be spent at the edge

Pushing processing power to the “edge” – the front-facing elements of the IoT such as cameras and sensors which traditionally passively collect data to be processed in the cloud – brings a number of benefits and opportunities. Movement towards greater exploitation of this technology is a key trend for 2018 too, says Greenstein.

Blockchain adds immutability and integrity to IoT transactions

Blockchain and the IoT in many ways seem built for each other. Blockchain – a distributed and encrypted digital ledger – is well suited for recording details of the millions of transactions which take place between IoT machines. It’s only recently that the idea of convergence between these technologies has been widely talked about, though. Greenstein tells me that though the partnerships are not yet public IBM is working in “multiple industries” with clients on bringing them together and hinted that more details are very likely to emerge in 2018.

Massive growth of IoT in manufacturing and industries

Augmentation is the keyword here – and the vision here is that smart, connected tech will continue to help humans in skilled and manual tasks. This will be done by giving them access to context-sensitive insights that answer specific questions about specific things at the right point in time.

The full article with quotes can be found at

If you want to learn more about what Michigan is doing in IoT you should attend IoT TechConnect April 4 at the Troy Marriott. The event is co-produced by MITechNews.Com.