May 27, 2015

Transforming The Connected World By 2020

By Penny Swift

The Internet of Things Set To Transform The World

At least two of the world’s leading information technology (IT) companies predict that the Internet of things (IoT) will totally transform the world by 2020, from the way digital business is done, to the ways cars are driven, and smartphones are used.

Leading IT research and advisory company, Gartner predicts that by 2020 “a quarter billion connected vehicles will enable new in-vehicle services and automated driving capabilities;” and the connected kitchen will help save at least 15 percent in the food and beverage industry.

The company’s research focuses on the current growth of the IoT, identifying how IoT is being adopted, the direction it is taking, and reports on how IT leaders can focus on developing successful strategies they can use in digital business. Ultimately, says Gartner, the IoT is going to create a lot of opportunities and a lot of challenges, of which security and privacy are key concerns.

Leading network solutions provider, Cisco is even bolder in its predictions, estimating that 50 billion objects and devices are going to be connected to the Internet by 2020, even though the company maintains that less than 99 percent of the world’s physical “things” are currently connected.

devices-ping

(Image Source: Shodan)

Networked Connections

Cisco’s stance is that “things on the Internet,” together with the growth and convergence of data and processes is going to make “networked connections” even more valuable and relevant than they have ever been before. Further, the IoT is increasing “connectedness” of things and people on a scale that nobody in the past even began to imagine. The reason that IoT market adoption is accelerating so fast, says Cisco, is due to three major factors:

1. Growth in Cloud computing and Big Data analytics
2. An increasing interconnectivity between personal smart devices and machines
3. A general proliferation of applications that connect customers to partners and supply chains

The reason it matters, says Cisco, is that increasingly, businesses need to do everything more quickly and more efficiently, at the same time continuing to innovate. And this is where an IoT platform comes in, enabling businesses to connect machines, devices and other things to improve the efficiency of business models.

Gartner has focused on data center trends, highlighting the potential challenges presented by digital interconnectivity. They warn that privacy and security issues are paramount. For Instance, says Gartner, with an increase in digitized automobiles and smart metering equipment, vast amounts of data provide information about personal users and their devices. This needs to be managed and secured.

But it isn’t only about business.

A New Connected World

The reality is that the IoT has heralded “a new connected world,” says Sunil Lalvani, managing director of Blackberry India. As he points out in an article about smartphones and their place in the IoT, published this week. Identifying the fact that digital devices play an increasingly important role in our lives, it is only when these devices connect with other devices that “their true potential can be unleashed.”

After living through what he terms an “internet, smartphone and app revolution,” we are now experiencing the power of the IoT that is going to enable a multitude of everyday devices to be connected to the Internet. Some of the examples he gives are already reality, including fitness trackers indicating blood pressure levels, and cars taking routes according to recommendations from navigator apps.

We are just a click away from controlling our household appliances, cars, finances or work life from the ease of our smartphone or any other wearable device,” he says. It’s an opportunity that marks the start of new opportunities for brands, consumers, and for the connectivity industry itself.

Of course, not surpringly, Lalvani’s interest focuses on sensor-enabled devices being controlled by smartphones, because they are so easy to acquire and use. Combined with leading edge machine-to-machine (M2M) technology, he believes that smartphones will play a critical role in what he terms “the era of a connected ecosystem and IoT.”

But he, like Gartner, warns that security and privacy concerns must be tackled to avoid data theft and hacking.

It seems that the next step is to develop a coherent set of technical and business models for IoT, because these, as Gartner points out, are “nascent” and still “entail custom elements.
But there are exciting times ahead, and it’s happening fast.

By Penny Swift

Penny Swift

Penny has been a professional writer since 1984 - Penny has written more than 30 general trade books and eight college books. She has also written countless newspaper and magazine articles for: Skills on Site, Popular Mechanics (SA) and SA Conference, Exhibitions and Events Guide.

Penny has a BA in Social Sciences and currently resides in Cape Town, South Africa.
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