Internet of Things, or IoT, is a topical conversation these days. Companies with vested interest, such as Cisco, have announced this market to be $Billions and $Billions in the not so distant future. What is the internet of things? What are the “things”?
The word “thing” is a good one here. You can add “no” and “every” to the front of it and get other proper words. So IoT can mean “nothing” and “everything”. That exactly what it means today!
A market of nothing and everything is not a real market. It’s either a ZERO billion dollar market (nothing) or an infinite billion dollar market (Everything). Zero dollar markets don’t sell market research reports and space at trade shows. So the industry tends to favor the infinite dollar market. So we see reports of IoT being a $19 TRILLION market (Cisco), $14 to $33 Trillion (Mckinsey) and a mere $2 Trillion market (Gartner).
We’ve seen this movie before. In the 1990’s the market for “Multimedia” was predicted to be many billions and more recently we hear the market for “Cleantech” will be multiple billions. Yet, like the term IoT, these words meant nothing and everything.
When asked what multimedia applications were the answers were always video editing, video conferencing, training and kiosk. Not sure about “kiosk” but the other three are not multimedia applications they are specific identifiable markets.
Similarly, what are cleantech applications? Energy efficiency, renewable energy and smart grid are often the answer. Here again, these are not cleantech applications, they are specific identifiable markets.
So let’s drop the hype around IoT and start talking about real markets that combine sensors, IP networks and analytics. I almost said “Big data”, but that’s another “nothing” and “everything” market.
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