From the 747 that sends sensor data to the ground to the smartphones and tablets we all carry and use, from machine sensors that alert manufacturers about required maintenance to fitness trackers that upload data about calories and activities, the Internet of Things – or IoT – is already here, folks.
Today, there are billions of connected devices—– and as we move forward, analyst firm Gartner predicts that in only five years there will be three connected devices for every person on earth. That amounts to 25 billion devices.
Let that sink in. In 2020, just five years from now, Gartner thinks we’ll have 25 billion connected devices. Cisco predicts even more: 50 billion.
While many connected devices such as automated teller machines and airline check-in kiosks already exist, Gartner says new devices, including "many ordinary objects," are "being reinvented with digital sensing, computing and communications capabilities” providing even more objects with a "digital voice."
Many small and medium business owners don’t realize that they have already been using IoT for some time now. For several years there have been RFID tags tracking pallets, sensors relaying data about fleet vehicles’ fuel efficiency and maintenance, and sensors tracking the temperature of raw materials, just to name a few. But in the next two years, I think we’ll see even wider usage. Consider retail beacons which I wrote about on my blog. These beacons deliver actionable data that can be used to better target both customers and employees – delivering targeted offers to one group, helping the other group work more efficiently.
As more IoT devices connect and as businesses use cloud-based apps to parse this data, bandwidth becomes a real concern. You’ve got to have a connection fast enough to manage all your data coming in – and going out – as well as to handle the day-to-day traffic of your business. Finally, you need to plan for the future which means a big enough Internet pipe to handle your business’ growth.
IoT sounds very sci-fi, but it is really happening – and Intel is at the forefront of enabling this. Is your company poised to take advantage of IoT? How about your customers? What device do you most want connected?
ERIC TOWNSEND is the director of MSP and SMB marketing for Intel Corp. For more than 18 years, his work has encompassed tools across the computing spectrum—from devices to services to software. Eric has worked with companies in industry verticals including healthcare, retail, manufacturing, and services, and believes strongly in the efficiencies and value created by Managed Service Providers and the technologies they deploy. You can follow him on Twitter @Eric_D_Townsend.