In 2014 ‘Internet of Things’ topped the Gartner emerging technologies hype cycle, with IoT product and service suppliers estimated to generate incremental revenues exceeding $300B in 2020. It turns out that was a bit of an under-estimate, the current prediction suggesting revenue from ‘endpoint electronics’ will this year total $389B globally. IoT endpoints are expected to grow by a billion from 2019’s 4.81B to 5.81B. North America, Greater China and Western Europe are anticipated to account for 75% of the action at $120B, $91B and $82B respectively.
It seems to be catching on but IoT does have brand issues. Hard concisely to define in meaningful English it often masquerades as ‘smart’ stuff – utilities, energy, cities, buildings, health – or puts on an Industry 4.0 mask (smart manufacturing). Whatever it’s called enterprise-grade industrial IoT is growing nicely in some vertical sectors and its capabilities are developing apace. In the early days IoT was about seeing everything, getting all the data. Infrastructure bandwidth and energy constraints quickly led to rules-based exception reporting. The use of actuators enabled control in addition to monitoring. Longitudinal data fed into the right algorithms enables prediction. Levels of automation have risen to new heights in isolated implementations.
Mix IoT with nascent 5G (you can have all the data, now) and AI techniques (you can factor in all the data) and some truly transformational capabilities will emerge. These will do much for productivity in those sectors that adopt them and could also be applied to major environmental and social challenges. There will also be socio-technical implications to consider, fortunately above my pay grade.
KTN is hosting workshops (19 Feb, London and 25 Feb, Leeds) to help identify the potential for government actions to reduce the barriers to supply and demand to stimulate the development of, and large-scale uptake of, IoT applications. We are looking for attendees from businesses that are active in the IoT value chain and where you have an insight into barriers to supply and demand that government could address. If that’s you, please register for the Leeds workshop here.