The Magnitude of the Internet of Things

For the past few years leaders of thought in major companies and research firms have been creating a number of market forecasts for the Internet of Things.  Pulling together some of the best of this analysis into an Internet of Things Market Forecast is an organization called Postscapes, whose mission is to “aggregate and connect the ideas, people and companies creating the Internet of Things.”

Contributors to the forecast include some of the big players in the game, such as Cisco, Intel, GE, Freescale, ARM, and Ericsson.  In addition are a number of independent analysts and paid researchers like Harbor Research, Arthur D. Little, Smith & Associates, and Forrester Consulting, to name a few.

What strikes me as a common thread running through most of this resarch is the sheer magnitude of the Internet of Things, which seems to be building from a distant ocean swell into a breaking wave, promising to push society forward at a highly accelerated  pace.  The word “magnitude” itself conjures up different meanings, many of which seem applicable.  Here are some examples, based on reports from the forecast:

Greatness of rank or position

  • BigWaveEstimates of the future market size of the Internet of Things cover a broad range, but most pundits agree it will dwarf any other market.” – Freescale/ARM
  • The ‘Internet of Things’ is among the hottest topics currently being debated, with the projected potential in turnover whetting the appetite of industry experts around the globe.” – Arther D. Little

Greatness in size or extent

  • Global machine-to-machine connections will rise from two billion at the end of 2011 to 12 billion at the end of 2020.” – Machina Research
  • … between 2013 and 2022, $14.4 trillion of value (net profit) will be ‘up for grabs’ for enterprises globally — driven by IoE (Internet of Everything).” – Cisco
  • Consider your own household, and count the number of mobile phones you currently have. Then count the number of windows, doors, electrical outlets, lights, appliances and heating and AC units you have. You’ll quickly see why the IoT market will surpass the mobile phone market, at least in the western world.” – Freescale/ARM

Greatness in significance or influence

  • The vision of more than 50 billion connected devices will see profound changes in the way people, businesses and society interact.” – Ericsson
  • We have entered an era where people, businesses and social organizations are beginning to understand the profound impacts awareness, collaboration, and intelligence will bring. In the not too distant future, hundreds of millions, then billions, of individuals and businesses, with billions, then trillions, of smart, communicating devices, will stretch the boundaries of today’s business and social systems and create the potential to change the way we work, learn, entertain and innovate.” – Harbor Research

A measure of energy from an earthquake

  • The compounding effects of even relatively small changes in efficiency across industries of massive global scale should not be ignored.” – GE
  • The opportunities this opens up to forward thinking product and service organizations are nearly infinite. Businesses can begin to explore many new possibilities for system solutions unthinkable just a few years ago.” – Harbor Research
  • Just as the Internet phenomenon happened not so long ago and caught like a wildfire, the Internet of Things will touch every aspect of our lives in less than a decade. Are you ready for it?” – Freescale/ARM

That’s a good question: Are we ready for it?  In a few upcoming blogs we will take a closer look at some of the ideas and opinions of these leaders of thought and see how they relate to real-time cloud computingand what we can do to ride the growing wave of the Internet of Things.