Internet of things growing 30pc annually, disruptive impact to increase – Gartner

11 Nov 2014

Some 4.9bn connected things will be in use in 2015, up 30pc from 2014, and will reach 25bn by 2020, IT research firm Gartner predicts.

The internet of things (IoT) has become a powerful force for business transformation in numerous industries, and its disruptive impact will be felt across many more, as well as all areas of society. 

This predicted growth of IoT means more and more revenue opportunities will emerge, with many of today’s businesses not currently involved in IoT under pressure to conform.

“The number of connected intelligent devices will continue to grow exponentially, giving ‘smart things’ the ability to sense, interpret, communicate and negotiate, and effectively have a digital ‘voice’,” says Steve Prentice, vice-president and Gartner fellow. 

“The digital shift instigated by the ‘Nexus of Forces’ (cloud, mobile, social and information), and boosted by IoT, threatens many existing businesses. They have no choice but to pursue IoT, like they’ve done with the consumerisation of IT,” says Jim Tully, vice-president at Gartner.

IoT expansion opens many doors

This stark expansion will boost the economic impact of IoT as consumers, businesses, city authorities, hospitals and many other entities find new ways in which to exploit the technology.

Only last week, University College Dublin brought in Prof Robert Bogdan Staszewski to develop Ireland’s leadership in IoT, with the help of €5m in Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funding. 

As part of his remit with the university, world-renowned engineering researcher Staszewski will lead an advanced research programme with the help of the SFI funding awarded to him as part of its research fellowship programme.

Elsewhere, Electric Ireland announced a partnership with Nest that will offer its customers the chance to get their hands on Google’s Nest smart thermostat as part of the growth IoT devices.

Nest has established itself as a well-known brand in IoT devices, with this particular device allowing the homeowner to control his or her thermostat from anywhere in the world via an internet connection.

Up, up and away

Gartner estimates IoT will support total services spending of US$69.5bn in 2015 and US$263bn by 2020. Consumer applications will drive the number of connected things, while enterprise will account for most of the revenue.

From an industry perspective, utilities and transportation will be the top 3 verticals using IoT in 2015, and by 2020 utilities will gain top spot.

It is likely that within the next few years, some level of built-in intelligence and connectivity will be regarded as standard, and this will rapidly filter down to mainstream products and services.

“However, CIOs must understand that the most disruptive impact and competitive threats — and, equally, the greatest competitive opportunities — arise not from simply digitalising a product or service, but from creating a new business model and value proposition,” says Prentice.

“Organisations must straddle the tension of all the information available from smart things by balancing their desire to collect and analyse it with the risk of its loss or misuse.”

Internet of things image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic