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The Internet of Things offers endless possibilities for organizations

April 25, 2014

We live in a connected world, a world with up to a trillion connected devices in the coming decade. Thanks to IPv6, which enables us to address every grain of sand in the world, this is likely to increase even more. These connected devices will change our world drastically, and they will generate massive amounts of data. It is projected that by 2020, sensor data will create approximately 16-20 zettabytes of data annually. That data can drive a lot of value. In fact, according to Cisco, it is going to be a $19 trillion market within the coming years. The Internet of Things is rapidly taking shape, and we better be ready for the consequences.

There are many applications within the Internet of Things. What do you think of a smart city, where even garbage generates data? The South Korean city Songdo has been built from the ground up and is completely connected. Songdo, located 40 miles from Seoul, will become a completely connected city where almost any device, building or road will be equipped with wireless sensors or microchips that generate massive amounts of data. In 2016 there will be 65,000 people living in this innovative city, and all the data they and their devices generate will be collected, analyzed and monitored in real-time by the central monitoring hub.

Songdo is not the only smart city currently being developed. Masdar City in Abu Dhabi is another example of a truly connected city. The Spanish city Santander is yet another, as they have buried 12,000 sensors under the asphalt, affixed to street lamps and atop city buses.

There are many more other examples of devices that are part of the Internet of Things generating a lot of data. From airplane engines that generate approximately 2.5 billion terabytes (which equals 2.5 zettabytes) of data each year, to John Deere equipment, which uses sensor data to control the growing fleet of farming machines and monitor machine optimization, helping farmers make better decisions. Or what about connected bottles of beer that light up to the rhythm of the music during a dance party? For a party during Milan Design week in 2013, Heineken added sensors to their bottles. They used eight LED lights, an 8-bit microprocessor, an accelerometer, gyroscope and a wireless transmitter with antenna to create connected bottles. Although just a pilot, this is a great example of the endless possibilities of the Internet of Things.

While the possibilities are endless, a 2013 survey by the American Society for Quality (ASQ) revealed that at the moment, only 13% of the organizations surveyed have adopted the Internet of Things and made (parts of) their factories smart. In those organizations that did develop an Internet of Things strategy and implemented sensors, 82 percent experienced increased efficiency, 49 percent noticed fewer product defects and 45 percent experienced higher customer satisfaction. So the reasons why so many manufacturers have not moved towards the Internet of Things are primarily related to interest, cost and resistance from management, according to the survey.

So while many examples show the possibilities, still many organizations have not yet moved forward with the Internet of Things. Probably it is just a matter of time before this changes, as the connected world offers many advantages for companies that allow them to improve their products, shorten time-to-market, reduce costs and improve their revenue. 

Listen to a podcast with Mark talking about the Internet of Things