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Koby's predictions for the Internet of Things in 2014 and beyond

January 10, 2014

It looks like a lot of industry people are having a lot of serious fun in Las Vegas this week at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The event has always been a media magnet, showcasing new trends, hot gadgets and seemingly crazy ideas from hopeful innovators.

This year's big CES theme, according to the Wall Street Journal, is the Internet of Things (IoT). Considering this level of media attention, it's only a matter of time before the average person I meet will have an opinion on this heretofore arcane topic and, perhaps, even a glimmer of understanding. After all, 2013 saw the techie concepts of big data and metadata emerge into popular consciousness.

IoT is ripe for adoption, because it rides in on the gadget-mania that's remaking the fabric of human existence everywhere on Earth. As you're probably aware, I've evangelized on IoT many times over the past few years, most recently in this interview I did for eTalks. IoT also figures into one of the big-data industry predictions that I posted last week here on the Big Data & Analytics Hub.

Considering how important it is to Smarter Planet, I'd be remiss if I didn't break out some additional predictions that focus specifically on the topic. So, here now are my principal predictions for IoT's growth, development and adoption over the next several years:

  • IoT will be the proverbial "next big thing," evolving into a larger, more complex, more dynamic and more pervasive infrastructure than anything that human civilization has built up to this point in history.
  • Data scientists will become the principal programmers of IoT applications that leverage big data, operate over the cloud, and incorporate stream computing.
  • Personalized healthcare analytics with wearable devices will become the compelling application that drives IoT into mass consumer adoption.
  • The most widely adopted IoT gadgets will be those that provide platforms for partner ecosystems, with fortunes to be made by enterprising developers who write the apps, statistical models, rules and other "app logic" needed to ensure that things to do what they're supposed to do.
  • As the IoT takes shape, the notion of a totally “dumb” endpoint will become antiquated and it will be difficult to find any consumer, business, industrial or other device that totally lacks embedded, data-driven analytic intelligence.
  • Before long, most IoT-enabled things will be exceedingly small and inconspicuous as component miniaturization pushes things deeper into nanotechnology territory
  • IoT will drive adoption of stream computing technology, because guaranteed low latency is becoming the unstated expectation in every online interaction—whether it involves people, machines or some combination—and only stream computing can deliver on that promise.
  • IoT won't achieve its revolutionary potential in business and consumer spheres without a layer of next-best-action or decision-automation technology to ensure continuous realization of desired outcomes.
  • Security concerns will prove critical to IoT's adoption, because both businesses and consumers will demand greater trust in the sensors, actuators, rules engines and other connected componentry we embed in every element of our existence.
  • Non-linear chaotic "butterfly effects” are likely to be far more prevalent in IoT environments than in traditional B2C-oriented big data applications, due to the very real potential for combinatorial explosion in IoT interaction patterns.

As you can see from these predictions, big data is integral to the IoT promise. The topics are increasingly inseparable. If you're attending RSA Security Conference 2014 next month in San Francisco, be sure to come to my presentation on big data's role in securing IoT.