Where will the Internet of Things (IoT) be in 2020?

The explosion of disruptive technologies in the past couple of years has sent shock waves across the world. With the number of wireless technologies scaling exponentially and the convergent growth of SMAC technologies, which include social, mobile, analytics, and cloud, the Internet of Things (IoT) is set to take off.

Gartner predicts that the number of connected things in use worldwide will hit 6.4 billion in 2016, up 30 per cent from 2015, and will surpass 25 billion by 2020. 5.5 million new things will get connected every day in 2016, and in terms of spending, Gartner estimates that IoT will support total services spending of $235bn (£150bn) this year.

Businesses and IoT

According to a report from BI Intelligence, businesses will be the top adopter of IoT solutions. In order to improve their bottom line, IoT can lower operating costs, increase productivity, and help expand into new markets or develop new product lines.

Governments too are adopting IoT to increase productivity, reduce cost, and improve citizens’ quality of life. In 2014, the UK government announced more than £40 million investment in IoT, and at the end of 2015 created a national programme, IoTUK, to accelerate the UK’s IoT capability.

Consumers, however, are expected to lag behind business and Governments in adoption levels. That said, consumers will purchase a huge number of devices and invest a significant amount of money in IoT ecosystems.

Here are five key factors fueling IoT growth today:

Economies of scale

The cost of components, such as chipsets, modules, sensors, and network costs have been falling due to the high volume of IoT solutions and will continue to reduce further. Government investment in many countries in Smart Grid and Smart Cities will also support this trend.

Ubiquitous connectivity

There is an avalanche of connectivity technologies in the market, providing connectivity at various levels, which will accelerate adoption and scale how devices can connect to each other or the cloud.

Analytics

The advent of Big Data technologies has changed the way we look at data. The inference derived from contextual sensor data can suggest where your business is heading, what changes you need to make to keep your business thriving in long term, predict failures and adopt preventive methods derived by machine learning -- further enabling you to reduce costs and improve customer satisfaction.

Cloud architecture

The cloud model of IoT will leverage how we do business -- today, workforces worldwide can access the cloud from anywhere. Businesses can now access their workforce and sites even located at remote corners of the world. Cloud-based IoT solutions are flexible to use and makes quick adoption possible.

Ecosystem

The ever increasing number of participants in the IoT landscape will pose new challenges and at the same time bring the benefit of collective experience. Standardisation and certification bodies will be helpful in maintaining interoperability of various components and devices.

Where is your organisation on the IoT adoption curve?

IoT is changing the business playing field, creating opportunities for new sources of revenue, smarter interactions with customers, and greater efficiencies.

Many organisations are still looking to establish a clear picture of the benefits that IoT can deliver to their business, or they haven’t invested the time to develop strategies for how to apply IoT to their organisation.

At this stage, many companies will also lack the skills and leadership to make an IoT initiative a success. When looking for a partner to help develop your IoT strategy, you will need an organisation that has strong domain experience along with deep data analytics capability across industry sectors.

Clearly the potential of IoT is enormous, and if analyst predictions are on track, 2016 will be a big year for IoT adoption. If you haven’t already explored how your business can benefit, now is the time to fire up the 'IoT by 2020' revolution in your organisation to drive a smart, secure, and connected advantage for your enterprise.

Abhijit Roy at Happiest Minds

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