The Internet of Things (IoT) is the hot buzzword these days. Everyone’s talking about it, there’s proliferation of ventures around it, and trillions of dollars are invested in it.
According to a new research published by IDC last week:
a transformation is underway that will see the worldwide market for IoT solutions grow from $1.9 trillion in 2013 to $7.1 trillion in 2020.
Although IoT seems like a relatively new hype, the concept has in fact been discussed since the early 1990s and the term was coined back in 1999 by Kevin Ashton. Around the same year Microsoft launched a new concept video (highlighted last week by Gizmodo) sharing its futuristic vision for the Smart Home.
Microsoft may not have used the term IoT on that video, but it certainly effectively preached it, talking about things such as opening the door using our voice or eye scan, locating our spouse on the family car via the car’s computer, sending our children messages to their “Pocket PC”, or having the trash bin adding groceries to the shopping list.
What seemed like science fiction only 15 years ago, is now a reality coming true. With the wireless and mobile internet readily available everywhere, smartphones (anyone said “Pocket PC”?) being a commodity even for children, GPS positioning available from satellites straight to our devices, telematics prevailing in vehicles and other devices, and much more, the infrastructure is in place to connect everything together, not just PCs and smartphones but literally every device from our toaster to our car. According to Gartner’s research:
The Internet of Things (IoT), which excludes PCs, tablets and smartphones, will grow to 26 billion units installed in 2020 representing an almost 30-fold increase from 0.9 billion in 2009, according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner said that IoT product and service suppliers will generate incremental revenue exceeding $300 billion, mostly in services, in 2020. It will result in $1.9 trillion in global economic value-add through sales into diverse end markets.
With such economic drive there’s no wonder that everyone is investing in IoT. from startups to Apple and Google, from voice commands (e.g. Apple Siri) to location-based tracking apps (e.g. FindMe), from smart TV (e.g. Amazon FireTV) to self-learning thermostat (e.g. Nest, startup recently acquired by Google). Even humans are instrumented nowadays (see rumors yesterday that Apple will launch it’s iWatch at an October event, with a multitude of health and fitness sensors).
Microsoft’s absence in this field is particularly evident, in light of their clear vision 15 years ago as well as their complete domination of the software market at the time. Was it the company’s size? was it lack of agility? Whatever the reason may be, it is clear that whether the vision was good, execution did not follow, leaving Microsoft to now chase other major players.
According to Cosmology, the early universe underwent exponential expansion, in what is known as the Inflationary Model. Similarly, we are now in the early stages of the Internet of Things, and with more and more devices instrumented and connected every day, we are now witnessing the inflationary model of the Internet of Things. So hold on for the ride, and make sure not to be left behind on vision and execution.
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