Two Certainties About the Internet of Things

    Big numbers about the Internet of Things (IoT) are being bandied about this week. Here’s a list of the recent predictions about the value of the IoT sales by 2020:

    1. $7.1 trillion (IDC)
    2. $1.9 trillion (Gartner) — both, courtesy of ZDNet
    3. Something called $1423.09 billion —which may or may not be an actual number, but is the stated predicted amount (MarketsandMarkets)

    Obviously, at least two of them are going to be wrong.

    A lot of people are understandably skeptical about these numbers, but I don’t think it matters too much, to be honest. Have no doubt; IoT is going to be a major market. Heck, it already is, given the success cases of Big Data and sensors alone. Add in runners and other health nuts, and it’s a hefty market based on consumer use, as this Industry Leaders Magazine article shows.

    The rest is details and questions about how the IoT might be disruptive to your particular industry or market.

    Really, at this point, I think we can say two things for certain about the IoT:

    1. Most IT divisions and companies aren’t prepared for it. Spiceworks, a professional network for IT, surveyed 440 IT pros about the IoT.  Seventy-one percent said it would have a significant impact on both consumers and workplace from an IT perspective, according to the survey. More than half are not currently prepared for IoT and yet, only 30 percent are actively trying to prepare.

    Most of the articles about this issue focus on hardware and network preparation. Certainly, bandwidth is expected to be a major issue, as CBR Online reports. In fact, Spiceworks found that 44 percent of the IT professionals surveyed said they’ll put IoT technology on a separate network.

    That’s all just tactical details, though, because of our second certainty …

    2. Data capabilities—from storage to analytics—will be key to leveraging strategic value from IoT.

    “The data technology trends we’ve seen emerge over the past few years, like BYOD, coupled with the IoT will have a dramatic impact on how IT professionals do their jobs,” Kathryn Pribish, Voice of IT program manager at Spiceworks, states in a recent press release. “IT professionals understand the inevitability of the IoT but the reality is, though the impact will be gradual, resource-strained IT departments and others who haven’t jumped on the IoT bandwagon will be playing catch-up if they don’t adequately prepare.”

    The IoT may be where companies really see the payoff on advanced analytics and Big Data capabilities.

    If you want examples, check out how UPS is saving up to $14.5 million a year by putting sensors on trucks, and the potential for using sensor data for monitoring windmill turbine farms and power line maintenance on the smart grid.

    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson is a freelance writer specializing in technology and business issues, including integration, health care IT, cloud and Big Data.

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