It’s hard to repudiate the revolutionizing nature of the Internet of Things, especially if you take a look at the numbers. Regardless of which report you read or infographic you find online, the data surrounding the growth of IoT proves one simple thing: IoT continues to grow, and the numbers are huge. But beyond these numbers lie many challenges and opportunities as IoT begins to move into the household of the masses.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the stats:
– 50 million smart gadgets will be sold worldwide this holiday season.
– 174 million homes around the world are now considered “smart.”
– By 2020, there will be 220 million connected cars on the roads.
– $44 billion in revenue is projected to be generated from beacon-triggered messaging in 2020.
– In that same year, $1 trillion will be spent by consumers on IoT.
– Approximately $6 trillion will be spent on IoT solutions over the next 5 years.
Despite some inconsistencies among reports as usual, it is impossible to discount that the production and sales of IoT devices—and the massive profit associated with them—is steadily moving forward and upward. IoT is not one category; it is just a general name referring to smart devices or small appliances. It is not limited to consumer devices to be used at home. It can include devices for workers or devices for public spaces.
As our everyday lives become increasingly connected, it’s evident that businesses need to keep up. Discovering how is the next challenge that’s already knocking on our doors. There are a few things that the industry is still exploring:
Constant Data Overload
When smart devices first launched, they didn’t have access to nearly as much user data as they have today. Now, flooded with an abundant amount of information on user activity, preferences, and goals, together with increasing amounts of other data everyday, you would need a room full of data scientists to figure out what they actually mean. And also a lot of storage; the cloud is getting full.
As much as we all love the romance and gratification of elegantly designed gadgets – our smoke detectors, home monitors, and alarm clock radios are all looking very sleek and acting smart – IoT is really about software; the hardware just links us to the cloud. It’s a blending of software and hardware, introducing intelligence, contextual awareness, and connectedness to objects. It’s adding physical endpoints to bigger systems and, in turn, providing advanced computing results at almost no cost, with accessibility to anyone.
Security and Privacy Nightmares
The massive data we are collecting isn’t worth anything to most of us, but when they are knitted together for intelligence usage, we can easily see what’s going on with an individual or group. Perhaps this isn’t a big deal for many of us, but for others it is a serious threat. Security has become the foundational enabler for IoT, and yet there is currently no consensus on how to implement security in IoT on the device or architecture level. Every time we put a new smart device in our home, we create another security hole. There is no silver bullet that can effectively mitigate the threats, and, looking at smartphones and computers today, we see how vulnerable the systems are. Yet we continue to use it everyday.
Despite this, people will buy and use these products. The total value impact of the IoT will reach somewhere between $3.9 to 11.1 trillion per year by 2025. This will affect all aspects of our lives and shape our decisions and human behavior. It will change the bases of competition and drive new business models for diverse industries, creating a few more unicorns. Time to play.