[IMAGE: LAURA SCHNEIDER/HBR]
Soon every device you own and nearly every object you can imagine will be connected to the Internet. Whether it is through your phone, wearable tech or everyday household objects, the Internet of Things has the power to change our world. And while we are starting to see its incredible impact, we are still very much at the beginning of the transformational journey.
Up until now, the Internet has generally been understood as a network which manages information created and processed by people. But the IoT now also allows objects to communicate with each other, make decisions and take actions without any human intervention. By bringing devices and objects online, IoT creates new ways of managing and monitoring processes, companies and organisations.
The sensors are everywhere
This communication system of battery-less computers creates unique identities for objects and allows these objects to wirelessly send information, making it nearly effortless to track just about anything.
It seems clear that the IoT offers an enormous potential for future economic income and prosperity in industrial countries. IoT applications are projected to create an income increase of 10.6 trillion USD by 2030. Now the focus is shifting, and is no longer exclusively on industrialised contexts. As experts discussed during the IoT Solutions World Congress this year, IoT will also create substantial changes for populations in emerging and developing countries. In some rapidly developing markets, such as in Asia, annual growth in IoT connections reached 55 per cent a year between 2010 and 2013, in contrast with Europe where it slowed to 28 per cent.
– Prices for sensors, an integral component of IoT applications, have declined by about 80-90 per cent over the past five years.
– Internet penetration in developing countries is increasing 35 per cent of people in developing countries now have access to the Internet. And the falling cost of smartphones is driving rapid uptake in Internet access in the developing world. Across emerging and developing countries, a median average of 24 per cent of the population now owns such a device.
Going beyond connectivity
Rapid changes in IoT technology make it challenging for even the most experienced experts to anticipate the future of standardization in the field. What is certain, however, is that the possibilities will be limitless. The Internet of Things is the logical next step in the evolution of the Internet.