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In 2014, Gartner Predicted that 26 billion units will be interconnected with IoT technology by 2020. This isn’t a crazy new prediction. 26 billion units is a lot - it actually translates to $300 billion in potential revenue.
IoT will be so common in our everyday experiences that nearly 50% of our life will be interconnected by the end of 2017: mobile devices controlling and powering the face of our businesses, homes, and personal health are all just the beginning. Furthermore, as investors, entrepreneurs, or early/mid/late stage tech adopters, we will no longer be enthralled with “an app for that” or new devices that aren’t interconnected to the internet and multi-dimensional. As entrepreneurs, we will no longer be interesting as we discuss our new app idea or business idea if we don’t articulate and convey how our business is connected between hardware, software, and internet - the interconnected IoT world.
The internet of things (IoT) is such a weird phrase! It sounds as though when someone was asked to define this world in which software and hardware and the internet all come together and when forced to come up with a name for it, the person just threw their hands up and said “The internet of...well...things?!”
Google defines the internet of things as “a proposed development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data.” One example of a product that uses IoT is Nest - the thermostat. Nest’s IoT application is very simple - it is an IoT product because you can connect your thermostat to your cell phone and control the temperature remotely. Information is passed through the internet enabling the thermostat to receive information that you send from your phone.
Even more familiar than nest is the “connected automobile”. Cars have been connected for years: the driver dashboard gives insight into how the car is performing and if/when the car is due for service. IoT and this interconnected world is not something that is new - it has been around since the early 2000’s and was brainstormed as the internet was first unveiled.
Most people don’t really think of the automobile as being a prime daily example of IoT. We tend to think of things like FitBit where a device collects information, like how many steps we took, and logs them into a database on our cell phone. These are just simple early solutions that are coming to the mainstream market and are allowing consumers to understand how it all works.
By the end of the year if you are not designing a product or a business with IoT in the roadmap, you will be left behind. Let me correct that - you are already way behind. Furthermore, I believe that there will be little room for startups and companies that don’t adopt IoT as a mindset - let alone a product feature.
By 2017, it will be antiquated to hear someone pitch an idea of a new app or a solution that doesn’t take into consideration the interconnected world we live in. Platforms like Neo, by Aeris (most notable for managing networks across automobiles) are making IoT more accessible to software and hardware engineers to start building IoT into their early stage developments. Intel has a majority of their site dedicated to providing videos on how IoT works for basic things like tracking an egg’s life cycle. Hospitality industry is using IoT as a benefit/feature in your experience. Amazon most recently came out with Echo, which in its early stages is leveraging AI (artificial intelligence) to connect all sorts of devices. Furthermore, home security, like devices by August, don’t talk about IoT as a feature….It just is IoT. That is the future.
As you brainstorm your next idea, invest in new companies (including the stock market), attempt to explore how those companies are accommodating the connected universe. Inquire as to what measures they are taking to create a multi-dimensional digital ecosystem that accommodates your lifestyle as we plug away on our smartphones, log in to our desktop, track our steps, lock our homes, and putz around on our iPad.