When novel technology receives its 15 seconds of glory, reactions can span from healthy pessimism to “I can’t wait for it to be the next decade to already begin!”—think Google’s self-driving car. The Internet of Things (IoT) is such a phenomenon. According to Gartner inc., the technology research and advisory firm, reports that the IoT market “will result in $1.9 trillion in global economic value-add through sales into diverse end markets.” As hardware costs decline, it’s not difficult to imagine, that sometime in the near future, everything from toasters to sprinklers could be remotely controlled with a universal app from the convenience of your Smartphone.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a rather new concept but it’s quite simple to understand. The term describes the internet in things, or the sensors in things that connect everyday objects to the internet and converts them into smart devices.
Gartner’s projection reports that “The Internet of Things (IoT), which excludes PCs, tablets and smart phones, will grow to 26 billion units installed in 2020…IoT products and service suppliers will generate incremental revenue exceeding $300 billion, mostly in services.”
That’s a lot of sensors!
The figures suggest that the market will rapidly adopt smart technology. But before IoT devices take over our lives, the rapid innovation within the field risks losing consumers to the ‘Paradox of Choice’, the scenario in which consumers refuse to purchase products when faced with too many options.
The Internet of Things as we currently know it (as opposed to the ideal marketed vision) faces the chaos of decentralized innovation.
An engineering team from Stanford University recently reported developing an ant-size, non-battery operated sensor that “costs pennies to fabricate”.
This breakthrough illustrates just one example among many independent developments that are minimizing hardware costs. This trend validates Gartner’s conjecture that the profit generated from the IoT market will depend more on the services they will provide.
The mass market’s adoption of smart devices outside of PC’s, tablets, and mobile phones, will depend upon a company’s ability to bring “elegant organization” to the IoT market.
Mark Zuckerberg coined the term when he explained that companies can’t start communities of their own since they already exist. Just as Facebook brought elegant organization to existing tribes, IoT’s value to the mass market will depend upon its success in developing platforms that will elegantly organize the benefits of the emerging IoT market into services that will facilitate the lives of consumers.
Smart devices currently function as independent gadgets with decentralized apps that fragment the user-experience. This lack of unity makes it difficult for everyday consumers to seamlessly adopt these systems. Another aspect that hinders mainstream adoption of IoT devices is their inability to ‘talk’ with each other.
HP, Cisco, and IBM are just some of the companies that are racing to create an appealing universal platform that can attract mass attention.
How do you think companies will create ‘elegant organization’ for our ordinary possessions?
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