The Internet of Things (IoT). If you have been reading up around current digital trends, then there is no doubt IoT has featured on every list. Its potential is hard to ignore. Even for the most technologically inept person, IoT will still make a dramatic difference to their day to day life in the coming years.
What is IoT?
If you simply Google 'What is IoT' then you will be met with the common definition of ‘The Internet of things (IoT) is the network of physical devices, vehicles, home appliances, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity which enable these objects to connect and exchange data.’ It sounds somewhat futuristic. Almost like a concept from those old adverts of what the year 2000 will look like. However, the concept of connected devices has actually been around since the 1970’s with the term IoT being coined back in 1999 by Kevin Ashton during his time at Procter & Gamble.
What Will The Future Look Like?
It has been estimated by Gartner that by 2020 there will be approximately 25 billion connected devices in the world. Gartner also estimates that there are currently more than 8.4 billion devices today, up by more than 30% from this time last year.
IoT Spending Set To Soar
A study undertaken by consulting firm Bain & Coshows shows that the IoT budgets of large companies will grow to an annual total of €450bn over the next four years.
This forecast is much larger than first predicted from a previous report in 2016, which said the figure would be around €395m by 2020.
While this report shows companies are eager to use devices such as factory sensors and video surveillance gear, the number one concern of customers is still security with 42% saying the risk of being hacked made them anxious about adopting IoT.
Who are the Largest User Base of Connected Things?
Consumers. They operate 5.2 billion connected devices and represent 63% of the overall number of IoT applications being used. Enterprise comes in at second, with 3.1 billion connected things in 2017.
What is the Main Driving Force Behind this Cultural and Financial Revolution?
Data. The physical devices that give IoT form are merely a conduit used to gather previously inaccessible, valuable and profitable consumer data. Behemoths like Google and Amazon rely on this data to create their massive revenue streams. They can sell this data, at a hefty price, to advertisers and influencers. However, the Internet of Things is not just about gathering data; it’s also about the analysis and use of that data. There is no doubt that this significant rise will only lead to the creation of more data analytics jobs. What use would the information be if there was no way to decipher it?
This issue with data brings us back around to the issue of cyber security. How will you store the data, how will you manage data collection and processing functions? Will this fall into the GDPR regulation? These are all questions that must be observed before diving head first into the tidal wave of IoT.
Now, this may seem like some large conspiracy, but there is no denying the impact IoT has had on our daily lives. IoT products have granted us extended control over appliances, lights, and door locks. They have even helped streamline business processes; and more thoroughly connect us to the people, systems and environments that shape our lives.
As originally featured in the Huffpost, Jeremy M. Williams of Vyudu Inc. believes “The physical world and the digital world are merging together as one everyday; and the more our physical products sense and react to our needs, the more alive they become. Like little animals waiting to go wild. Our digital world is now responding and changing along with our physical world, thus we are, in essence, making our physical world a programmable paradise. The role of platforms will without question become more and more important as the digital world becomes seamlessly integrated within our physical world. Over the next 3-5 years, I expect that we’ll see more and more legacy grade systems such as HVAC (heating, venting, and A/C systems) becoming cyber enabled or in other words IoT integrated. Security will become the most important component of IoT so the users of tomorrow must make their voices heard by demanding that key security features be included in all smart products. We all need to inform IoT vendors that we are not going to purchase their products without key security features and unrivaled data protection. The best is still at least 10 years away and even that will still be only the tip of the iceberg. All we can do is enjoy the ride”.
What is clear, is that IoT is not going away. It will only grow. From smart homes to smart cities, there is no stopping this digital revolution. It is something all businesses and people will have to be prepared for.
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