According to new data from Juniper Research, the number of IoT (Internet of Things) connected devices will number 38.5 billion in 2020, up from 13.4 billion in 2015: a rise of over 285%, driven by a surge in connected industrial applications. The new research, The Internet of Things: Consumer, Industrial & Public Services 2015-2020, found that while the number of connected devices already exceeds the number of humans on the planet by over 2 times, for most enterprises, simply connecting their systems and devices remains the first priority.
While IoT ‘smart home’ based applications grab media headlines, says the report, it is the industrial and public services sector (such as retail, agriculture, smart buildings and smart grid applications) that will form the majority of the device base. This is due in no small part to a much stronger business case for these types of applications.
The research author, Steffen Sorrell, says “… we’re still in a nascent state for IoT … Knowing what information to gather… how to integrate that into back office systems… remains a huge challenge… “
Additionally, interoperability hurdles owing to conflicting standards continues to slow progress. Nevertheless, there are signs that standards bodies and alliances are beginning to engage to overcome these hurdles.
The report says that, just as the invention of the printing press circa 1440 signaled a new era of information assimilation by the people, and is credited with helping spur the Scientific Revolution and the democratization of knowledge, Juniper Research believes that the IoT will have a similar profound effect on society, in that objects and devices, previously silent in terms of gatherable information, are able to provide systems with near real-time intelligence. As ‘islands’ of data are connected with one another, the potential for the system to assimilate actionable information increases exponentially.
Over the past decade or so, concepts of what the Internet is, or will become, have shifted dramatically, says the report. The Internet can rather be looked at in terms of different stages of evolution given that, while the basic concept behind the Internet remains the same, its scope has proven itself to be hugely dynamic.
According to Juniper Research, the IoT “… represents the combination of devices and software systems, connected via the Internet, that produce, receive and analyze data… these systems must have the aim of transcending traditional siloed ecosystems of electronic information in order to improve quality of life, efficiency, create value and reduce cost… “
The research notes that the IoT, therefore, is as effective as the sum of its parts. Mere connections create data; however, this does not become information until it is gathered, analyzed and understood. The analytics back-end systems of the IoT will therefore form the backbone of its long-term success.
Concluding, notes the report, the consumer segment (composed of the smart home, connected vehicles and digital healthcare), represents a high ARPU (average revenue per user) market segment, while, the industrial sector (composed of retail, connected buildings and agriculture) will enable high ROI (return on investment) through IoT projects, owing to more efficient business processes.