The Internet of Things (IoT) has rapidly become one of the most familiar (and perhaps, most hyped) expressions across business and technology, but will 2015 be the year the IoT will take hold? We asked Jim Tully, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, to discuss what the IoT is all about, and what’s next for business and society.
Q: There is a lot of hype around IoT right now. Is the hype justified?
A: The hype is absolutely justified, and it’s backed up by the numbers. The world will see 25 billion Internet “connected things by 2020 – just a short five years away. We estimate that the IoT will produce close to $2 trillion of economic benefit globally. IoT will have a great impact on the economy by transforming many enterprises into digital businesses and facilitating new business models, improving efficiency and new forms of revenue.
Q: What are the verticals that are furthest along with IoT?
A: Right now, the top two verticals using IoT are manufacturing and utilities. In terms of numbers of things, manufacturing has a slight lead with almost 307 million installed units in 2015 compared to 299 million units for utilities. This makes intuitive sense; control systems using sensors have always been an integral part of manufacturing and automation processes, and we certainly see a lot of smart meter deployments by utilities leading to energy efficiency improvements and operations like automatic billing, energy management and monitoring. One of the fastest growing verticals is retail. I find this to be a particularly interesting sector with a lot of IoT activity in operations and in customer-facing situations – often involving very innovative technology.
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