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Gartner Symposium 2014: Internet of Things will disrupt businesses and society

Gartner research indicates that the rapid growth in the number of Internet-connected devices will become a powerful force for business transformation and will have a disruptive impact across all industries and all areas of society.

Forecasts predict that 4.9 billion connected things will be in use by 2015, an increase of 30 per cent compared to today, with the figure set to reach 25 billion by 2020.

Read more: How to build meaningful apps in the world of the Internet of Things

Jim Tully, vice president and analyst at Gartner, explains how companies need to embrace IoT if they want to survive in the changing business landscape.

“The digital shift instigated by the Nexus of Forces (cloud, mobile, social and information), and boosted by IoT threatens many existing businesses. They have no choice but to pursue IoT, like they’ve done with the consumerisation of IT.”

In order to accommodate the influx of new connected devices, IT leaders will have to incorporate enhanced digital security architecture to manage new platforms, variations on IT/IoT integrations and changing industry standards.

“Organisations must straddle the tensions of all the information available from smart things by balancing their desire to collect and analyse it with the risk of its loss or misuse,” said Gartner vice president Steve Prentice.

However, by creating new business models and value propositions, CIOs can turn these challenges into potential opportunities. Gartner estimates that IoT will support total services spending of $69.5 billion (£43.7 billion) in 2015 and $263 billion (£165 billion) by 2020.

Manufacturing, utilities and transportation will be the top three industry sectors for IoT adoption in 2015. Many ordinary objects are also expected to be redesigned with digital sensing and communication capabilities, ranging from intelligent rubbish bins that let local councils know when they are full to connected LED lamps.

Read more: Why the UK may not be ready for the Internet of Things

“The number of connected intelligent device will continue to grow exponentially, giving ‘smart things’ the ability to sense, interpret, communicate and negotiate, and effectively have a digital ‘voice’,” Mr Prentice said. “CIOs must look for opportunities to create new services, usage scenarios and business models based on this growth.”

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.