Since the beginning of 2014, starting with CES, the biggest emerging theme has been the importance and focus on IoT or in Cisco’s terminology Internet of Everything (IoE)’. In his keynote address at CES 2014, Cisco CEO John Chambers outlined IoE as a $19 Trillion market by 2020 and forecasted 20 billion devices getting connected by 2015. He also announced the establishment of an investment arm of $100M to fund start-ups in the IoT market. Bosch announced the set-up of a new company, Bosch Connected Devices and Solutions for IoT and related services. Per CBInsights, just in the past 2 years, there has been over $450M investment in home automation start-up companies alone.
There are considerable technologies, mind share and usage models that would propel this market fast. IoT players will be able to integrate data from devices across multiple industries and run analytics and services that will benefit both consumers and enterprises. While most of the talk has been around consumer IoT, the opportunity in the commercial IoT space is pretty significant. Commercial buildings alone account for 18% of world’s energy consumption. Extrapolate this with number of disparate devices at a smart city level and this becomes gigantic. For example, consider a smart city project which could include connectivity of homes, soda machines, parking lots, commercial buildings, security cameras, traffic systems etc – the complexity is huge but so is the opportunity for IoT players to do something meaningful with huge amounts and variety of data collected.
Later in the year, I saw both big and start-up companies participating at the Cisco led IoT World Forum in Chicago. The focus was on establishing, articulating and validating IoT business models through demonstration and discussion of real world use cases in manufacturing, oil & gas industry etc. I also met several innovative start-ups focusing on connectivity, edge processing, embedded computing and bigdata analytics etc – all related to success of IoT. The cloud landscape in 2014 also shaped up for IoT with increased focus on Platform as a Service (PaaS) and the move to stable and low cost Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Cloud and IoT go hand in hand and I am always asked about that relationship which I will cover in future posts.