IoT: Powering the Next Industrial Revolution

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The adjective ‘explosive’ is justified when talking about the relative sudden appearance and continual rapid unfolding of the Internet of Things (IoT). Gartner define the Internet of Things (IoT) as the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment.

Also known as "the next Industrial Revolution" because of its potential to transform how business is conducted, the IoT is expected to connect 34 billion devices by 2020. This impressive figure represents an expenditure of nearly $6 trillion on IoT solutions over the next five years.

These breathtaking forecasts are included in a report issued by BI Intelligence, Business Insider's research service, which has tracked the growth of the IoT for more than two years. Its exhaustive report breaks down the complex IoT ecosystem and forecasts where the burgeoning IoT market is headed.

According to the report, the growth of the IoT is being driven by four factors: expanded internet connectivity, high mobile adoption, low-cost sensors, and large IoT investments. It also highlights four barriers to the adoption of IoT, which are security concerns, privacy concerns, implementation problems and technological fragmentation. Interestingly, in spite of these concerns, of the $6 trillion expected to be invested in IoT solutions over the next five years only a small proportion will go to security compared to hardware and content development.

Of the 34 billion devices connected to the Internet, 24 billion will be IoT devices and 10 billion will be traditional computing devices like smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, etc.

Business will initially be the biggest adopter of IoT solutions, leveraging it to lower operating costs, increase productivity, develop new product offerings and expand to new markets. Businesses are expected to have 11.2 billion devices installed by 2020, earning $7.6 billion ROI on an investment of $3 billion.

Governments, looking at IoT to increase productivity, decrease costs, and improve their citizens’ quality of life, are forecast to be the second-largest adopters of IoT ecosystems. They are expected to have installed 7.7 billion devices by 2020. By way of contrast, consumers will spend around $900 million to install 5 billion devices by 2020.

These figures are not just interesting bits of data – they represent a dramatic and drastic change in the way humans will live and work in the not-so-distant future. With the IoT set to transform every economic sector – from manufacturing, transportation, defense, agriculture, infrastructure, retail, and logistics to banks, insurance, connected home, food services, utilities, hospitality, healthcare, smart buildings, and oil, gas & mining – now’s the time to evaluate the threats and opportunities being generated by this technology so that you can create new value-added products and services and stay ahead of traditional competitors and counter new ones entering your market.