Cisco, Gartner, Morgan Stanley predict future of IoT
According to a Cisco Systems report, the number of Internet-connected devices exceeded the number of people on Earth in 2008. In the time since, the number of internet-connected devices has exploded, with Cisco forecasting 50 billion devices on the global Internet of Things by 2020.
Equally impressive to the breadth of the Internet of Things, is the vast array of devices that now comprise it. Everything from wireless cardiac monitors to sensors on cattle that tell when a cow is sick or pregnant, are now connected to the Internet.
In just one possible permutation, Cisco imagines a scenario wherein the Internet of Things could improve the daily commute.
Assume your morning meeting is pushed back by 45 minutes. This is a piece of information that could be pushed to your alarm clock, perhaps buying you that extra 5 minutes of sleep. From there, your alarm clock talks to your coffee maker, telling it to brew a pot of Joe while simultaneously telling your car to start melting the layer of morning frost on the windshield.
As Cisco sees it, the car could well be a hub of information, gathering data from traffic cameras and connected road signs as it maps your route to the train station. Your car could automatically be informed of any accidents along your morning route and suggest alternates on the fly. Likewise, if your train is delayed, that information could be waiting for you in the driveway before you even push the ignition button.
In its “Forecast: The Internet of Things, Worldwide, 2013” report,Gartner takes a more conservative stance saying the IoT will grow to 26 billion devices in 2020. This number excludes PCs, tablets and smart phones, which they predict to hit 7.3 billion units in 2020.
Gartner expects enterprises to make extensive use of IoT technology, including advanced medical devices, factory automation sensors, industrial robotics and sensor motes in agricultural applications.
As Gartner’s report explains, IoT encompasses hardware, embedded software, communications services and information services associated with the connected devices. Gartner also sees the emergence of an entirely new market, as the companies that provide the hardware, software and services would essentially become IoT suppliers. By the year 2020, the revenue contribution from IoT suppliers is estimated to reach $309 billion globally.
Gartner also forecasted the economic value-add – the aggregate benefits that businesses reap through the sale and usage of IoT technology – to be $1.9 trillion across sectors in 2020. The verticals leading adoption are manufacturing (15%), health care (15%) and insurance (11%).
Morgan Stanley estimates that the global installed IoT base will reach a whopping 75 billion devices by the year 2020. More impressive still, the company suggests that there could be as many as 200 unique, Internet-connectable consumer devices that are yet to be released to the public.
Morgan Stanley provides some insight for those looking to cash in on the IoT explosion, naming sectors to keep an eye on, such as microcontrollers, sensors, wireless connectivity and software.
Though predicted totals vary greatly across these studies, each estimate is significant – and massive — in its own right. Big Data providers and other stakeholders wait in eager anticipation, champing at the bit for the flood of new data streams. Still it will be important societally to consider the ramifications of an increasingly connected daily life. One thing remains certain; we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Internet of Things.