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iWorld by Sharad Agarwal

The Internet of Things: What It Is and Why You Should Care

A US$ 300 billion industry by 2020

The Internet of Things: What It Is and Why You Should Care

By 2020, an estimated 50 billion devices around the globe will be connected to the Internet. It is estimated that a third of them will be computers, smartphones, mobile devices and TVs. The remaining two thirds will be other kinds of "things", such as sensors, actuators, and newly invented intelligent devices that monitor, control, analyze, and optimize our world. The 'Internet of Things' is upon us. High time we understood its significance.

Consider this for starters:

Web 1.0 was about computers connecting to their data and Web 2.0 was about people connecting to their data, Web 3.0 is about everything connecting to everything.

Drones, driverless cars, smart homes, augmented reality, wearable technology, intelligent sensors, robotic devices are all going to make our lives easier. GE, Google, Siemens, Bosch, and Philips, Cisco, Intel, Apple, Microsoft and Samsung are all busy building the blocks of IOT. Nest, Oculus, Basis, Dropcam, SmartThings, and Revolv are changing the way people think and work. Companies such as Belkin, WeMo, Withings, Sigfox, IFTTT, Netatmo, and Berg are on to something big in IoT space.

The IoT opens a plethora of new business opportunities for all. These opportunities tend to fall into three broad strategic categories, each reflecting a different type of enterprise:

  • "Enablers," technology-oriented companies, such as Cisco, Google, HP, IBM, and Intel, that develop and implement the underlying technology
  • "Engagers" that design, create, integrate, and deliver IoT services (like the Nest Learning Thermostat, Apple HomeKit, Hue, Tagg, Moj.io, and Sensity) to customers
  • "Enhancers" that devise their own value-added services, on top of the services provided by Engagers, that are unique to the Internet of Things (such as OnFarm and Progressive's Snapshot)

In summary, IoT will optimize operations, boost productivity and save in resources and costs.

The IoT is expected to also make impacts in government, education, healthcare, finance and transportation. On the consumer side there are nearly endless combinations of applications. The day is not far when our refrigerators will order milk based on specified reorder levels and our cars will make their own service appointments. Till then we just have to brush our own teeth and polish our own shoes!

Send your comments to sharad@cyber-gear.com

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