Twenty years ago, the term “Internet of Things” was coined by a marketer named Kevin Ashton. Working for multinational consumer goods corporation Proctor & Gamble, his idea to use RFID to help manage P&G’s supply chain led to a partnership with MIT. For his efforts, Ashton became a high-tech entrepreneur and best-selling author, but his lasting legacy will likely be tied to the actual Internet of Things (IoT).
The IoT is growing rapidly. So rapidly in fact, it is becoming difficult to get a read on the accepted number of Internet-connected devices. In fact, companies more frequently print forecasts rather than reality, because there is no way to know how many actual devices there are connected to the Internet, but by most tallies the number is in the ballpark of 20 billion and growing rapidly. What does this mean for us? So much. Today, we’re going to take a look at the IoT and try and forecast how it will change the way we do things by 2025.
The first thing you should know is that this massive IoT rollout is not going to make the Internet any less important. Despite its renouncement as a utility (in merely a political move), the Internet can be thought of very much like electricity was toward the beginning of the 20th century when the technology had been established and its use was just beginning to fuel a market of goods designed to use electricity. The Internet today is still coming online in places all around the world, but there remain large chunks of land where it is not yet available (in some of these places electricity isn’t). As the ubiquity of high-speed Internet comes to fruition, the world will be confronted with a new reality, where technology is altering humanity in ways you wouldn’t even imagine.
Of course, this won’t happen in six years, but it needs to be said that the exponential growth of IoT from a few million devices in 2006 to more than 20 billion two decades later is going to affect the way people live. It’s not just a matter of the technology being there, it is the function of that tech that changes things. In this case, many of the products that people have been using for decades (and in some cases centuries) are being manufactured with the capability of connecting to wireless networks. Most of them have corresponding software that provides a new cache of functions. As time goes on, and devices get smarter, whole parts of a person’s routine will be automated. As we said, IoT is altering humanity.
When people think of the Internet of Things, they inevitably think about the gadgets that have limited functions or their wearable technology (smartwatches). They may not consider that “things” include almost anything. There are Internet-connected things that help humans control their gardens, their car, their livestock, and even their health. It’s getting to the point where anything that could be connected to the Internet, is. There are those calling this a “mega trend”, but don’t be surprised if it’s simply just the new normal.
With so many things connected to networks, the networks need to be bigger, stronger, and more resilient. As a result, more consideration needs to be taken to the makeup of the networks and the underlying hardware. This can become a major issue for the rapidly expanding business, so taking heed about the growth of IoT devices that are currently and potentially going to be on your business’ network going forward is a good strategy.
By the Numbers
With this seemingly inevitable IoT boom happening as we speak, there is some seriously impressive statistical growth being projected. Some of the most staggering projections of the IoT market in the next few years include:
- There will be over 21 billion IoT devices connected to the Internet.
- IoT devices will generate nearly 80 zettabytes of data. That is 80 trillion GB!
- IoT will become an even bigger draw for cybercriminals.
- Driverless transportation of people and goods will increase rapidly.
- Whole cities will be “smart”.
- Router technology will improve to feature new tools to boost network security.
- 5G networks will exponentially increase IoT growth.
- IoT ubiquity will create new privacy/security concerns.
- Governments will build and pass more regulations concerning privacy/security of data.
- Industrial IoT market will grow to a whopping $920 billion per year.
- Total IoT markets will grow past $1.5 trillion per year.
If these numbers are any indication, the IoT looks to be one of the biggest vertical markets in the world before long. This will have major effects on business in the coming years. Some of the most marked ways this shift will be seen are in:
With increased knowledge provided by IoT tracking every part of the business, making processes more efficient is much simpler. In fact, some estimates say that businesses stand to gain upwards of 20 percent from the integration of IoT into their processes. What may be surprising is that most of this number is found on the consumer end of things. Better understanding of the people who purchase goods and services from a company can help that organization market itself more effectively, potentially saving a load of capital.
The growth in IoT will have a massive amount of value for businesses that want to expand their workforces outside the confines of a brick and mortar building. Since the IoT allows employees to connect to work remotely, workers are more apt to be happier and more productive.
The exchange of data has been a growing part of doing business for some time, but with more IoT your business’ data sharing capabilities get smarter over time. Smarter devices mean that customers, employees, vendors, and management are able to access relevant information quickly without having to sort through other data, improving most of the business’ ability to provide value.
Significant Improvement to a Supply Chain
For manufacturers and distributors who largely can’t support a remote workforce, it creates efficiency by improving the supply chain management. As every part of the process is reported by IoT devices, the central software will give employees a view of a business they’ve never seen before, making production and distribution more efficient, and ultimately, more effective.
It’s not an overstatement to say that the IoT will change the world over the next six years. Is your business implementing any IoT devices or systems to help you be more efficient, control costs, or simply be more effective? Reach out to our IT professionals to talk about how IoT fits into your business today at (877) 638-5464.