SECTIONS - Making Connections
February 11, 2016

2016 is the Year of IoT

The IoT is not a single technology but the latest convergence of tiny computing devices like sensors with wireless networks leveraging the tremendous processing power of the cloud. It’s changing how businesses operate, how wars are fought, how crops are watered, and how goods and services are transported. Few industries are able to claim responsibility for ushering in the next Industrial Revolution, but humble IoT, with its loosely connected sensing products and smart software, can.

Perhaps the most impressive news about IoT is just how big the market — formerly called M2M — will be. As of this writing, some estimates say in just a few years more than 34 billion devices will be connected to the Internet. This means roughly everything you purchase will be connected, smart, and potentially able to shift behavior.

If Marc Andreessen is right about software eating the world, then IOT is an appetite stimulator.

This is why many believe this technology will usher in the third Industrial Revolution. It’s already supporting better health care, allowing people to live longer and healthier lives. The dollar volumes in manufacturing and wellness are absolutely massive, and a few percentage points worth of better outcomes in either is worth many billions of dollars. In other words, market growth is guaranteed by the arbitrage related to the savings and improved results. This isn’t unlike how the VoIP market was funded in its early days and why PCs were first purchased to handle once-manual spreadsheet tasks.

There is perhaps no other technology with the ability to change so many markets — all at once. Water shortage? No problem. IoT enables smart farming where the precise amount of water can be delivered. Security challenges? Drones will ensure anything and everything can be monitored. In fact, criminals can even be safely tracked by air. If drones aren’t feasible, tracking systems embedded in an item of value will ensure the perpetrator never gets far. Thanks again to arbitrage, water and insurance company savings will fund these solutions.

While arbitrage simplifies ROI calculation, the added value in recurring revenues and business model enhancements can be even more captivating. It is one thing to sell a product to a customer, but an IoT connection to the cloud brings new options and revenues. Airlines don’t purchase engines any longer; they lease thrust. This means the engine is managed and maintained by the companies that build them. Insurance companies no longer have to charge all drivers the same rates because they are becoming usage-based. It wouldn’t be an overreach to say IoT is enabling The Usage Economy.

Customer service will change for the better when devices are smart enough to predict replacement times. Manufacturers like GE tap the IoT to see how their products are actually used, and this information helps make new products more useful. The future is clear and quite near. Self-cleaning ovens will become self-cooking ovens, and refrigerators will order more food. And, with the addition of speech recognition, people will be able to interface with future devices using conversation.

Companies are evolving into software businesses quite out of necessity. Airbnb and Uber are doing to hotels and taxis what Amazon did to retail. Software now enables companies to compete, even against entrenched monopolies, like never before. Armed with access to myriad devices that are monitoring and reacting instantly, algorithms and big data will be the tools all companies use to win market share.

IoT is at the heart of the third Industrial Revolution, but more importantly it will continue to disrupt the way organizations work. The next business revolution is upon us, and how companies understand and deploy the tools and technologies at their disposal will determine their success.

This may sound futuristic, but the industry is really crossing the chasm at IOT Evolution Expo, Jan 25-28 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the official beginning of the year of IoT.

Seven years ago, this expo was called M2M Evolution, and it continues to evolve, assisting you in joining the IoT revolution. Our discussions help you learn what has made others more successful. Topics covered include sensor deployment, analytics, and security.

Executives will hear use cases to help them find new revenue sources. Security experts will learn how to make IoT safe and monitor intrusion. Developers will learn about rapid IoT prototyping.

We look forward to the continuing IoT Evolution and invite you to revolutionize your business.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

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