Will the Internet of Things live up to the hype?
Claims about the Internet of Things range from the grounded, to the hyperbolic, to the absurd. The technology industry has been fixated on the Internet of Things for a long time, primarily because it could end up impacting all facets of our lives.
CBR rounded up Hitachi Data Systems’s predictions about the IoT from this week’s Hitachi Connect conference in Las Vegas.
1. It’s lucrative
As Kevin Eggleston, SVP, Social Innovation and Global Industries said: "IoT is the first market that we’re addressing as a Hitachi company that’s worth trillions of dollars. By 2020 the market is estimated to be worth 7 trillion."
This is in line with previous estimates, including a 2014 prediction from IDC that puts the total value of the IoT at $7.1 trillion. In this context, Hitachi intends to take a leading market share, putting a potential $2 trillion windfall on its Social Innovation strategy.
2. It’s going to change society – not just the tech world
Eggleston explained that previous technological paradigm shifts such as the Industrial Revolution and the birth of the internet were geared towards solving problems. He drew attention to the trend towards smart cities, claiming some cities in India are skipping the traditional infrastructure stage and moving straight to smart cities.
"This latest revolution, known as the IoT Revolution, promises to be bigger in terms of impact on us as human beings in terms of societies and countries, than all of these previous revolutions combined.
"The IoT revolution is going to make our lives even better. It’s going to make us safer…it’s going to make our standard of living across the world better, it’s going to help address some of the biggest issues around the world."
3. It will require a wide range of expertise
The speakers argued that to really capitalise on the IoT market, vendors would require three key capabilities: industrial knowledge, data analytics, and IT and commnications expertise.
The clue is, of course, in the name – the IoT represents the overlap of digital with traditional industry. Neither companies solely focused on technology nor manufacturers will alone have the broad range of capabilities that will be needed for the market to really flourish. The Connect event is accordingly focused on combining expertise from all of Hitachi’s global subsidiaries.
4. The IoT is here already – but it’s not fully utilised
As Kevin Eggleston explained, "as consumers, we experience the IoT already." He highlighted existing applications of the IoT, including refrigerators that can sense what foodstuffs are in short supply and home security systems. However, apparently this represents a small fragment of the potential of the Internet of Things.
"We’re about the internet of things that matter," Eggleston added. "We don’t just want to make our homes safer, we want to make cities and nations safer."
5. It will be everywhere
HDS used the event as an opportunity to emphasise the scale of the IoT. The numbers are big, even for the tech industry – Domme claims that there will be 157 million connected cars.
Hitachi’s not alone in its expectations; Cisco recently estimated that there will be 50 billion connected devices by 2020. Perhaps this is the most important takeaway about the IoT, and the main reason why companies should be paying attention.
6. It can’t be taken in isolation
Recent HDS acquisition Pentaho’s Paul Scholey, Vice President of Sales in EMEA, suggests that the Internet of Things should not be taken as a category on its own, but considered as a "symbiotic" category with Big Data.
The thinking is that the Internet of Things will generate a huge amount of new data, but that this data can simultaneously be fed back into the machines to optimise them.
"The Internet of Things doesn’t sit in its own right over here…it’s not one or the other, they do go hand in hand," Paul comments.