IDC’s latest report on the growth of the Internet of Things predicts that the market will increase by 19% in the next year. Compared to the over-hyped numbers we’ve seen previously from analysts, this looks much more like “feet on the ground”. And a very healthy growth rate it is too.
It’s hard to imagine, if we look forward 10, or even 5 years, what our lives will be like – at home, at work, on the road, in our exercise, health, leisure hours – when our thermostat is managing our power usage, our car is telling us exactly what’s ailing it before we visit the dealership, our smart watch reports that our insulin levels are fine and recommends what to eat for lunch to keep it that way. Frankly I can’t wait for day the IoT to tell me what to do and when – I’d love not to have to panic when my washing machine fails because a repair firm called me because they’re up the street and they can stop by in 1/2 hour. I have better things to do with my life than tend to domestic appliances.
So why the big hype? What’s causing the media to sit up and pay so much attention? After all, micro-sensors have been around a long time and continue to get smaller and more capable. There’s no shortage of ideas which can be prototyped quickly and cheaply. What’s causing the uptick is a combination of ubiquitous wireless, IPv6 and the move by the big 4, Cisco, IBM, GM and Amazon (and others) to add fog and swarm layers to simplify and reduce costs for network connectivity. The fledgling industry of IoT is still wrestling with things like data security – this may tamp down the media’s histrionic predictions of growth, but it won’t ultimately stem the tide. The promise of IoT is becoming very real.
So what’s your first IoT purchase likely to be? I think I’m going to call my car insurance company and tell them to get with the program. I want my driving to be monitored for good behavior so I reduce my premiums. I need some brakes on my driver habits. And next, when it’s ready, water usage monitoring – faucets, toilets, washing machines. In drought plagued California, it’s a must have. Finally, I want a refrigerator that shops, so I never run out of milk.