Cost reductions and productivity gains are the first carrots on the stick of new technology introductions. Once those two tactical benefits are sufficiently leveraged, attention then turns to extracting strategic value, driving competitive advantage and improving sales and profits.
Virtualization followed this path through the last decade to a point of saturation. Next up was basic cloud computing, which is now moving smartly through the tactical implementation phase – the low-hanging fruit – into the strategic as the industry continues to innovate and mature at lightning speed through the end of this decade and beyond.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is just beginning to take shape. It’s great that billions of things will be connected to the Internet before this decade is out. It will be better still when eventually trillions of things will be communicating seamlessly across vast interconnected networks, creating data independently that will be immediately analyzed and acted upon without a great deal of human intervention.
Meanwhile, siloed versions of the IoT are taking shape, mostly in manufacturing and resource exploration. It’s hundreds and thousands, not billions, of interconnected devices with embedded sensor technology for optimizing production line operations, improving productivity and driving out costs. Agribusiness is putting sensor technology to work for maximizing per/acres yields; think what could happen if that data found its way in real time to the floor of a commodities exchange.
As early as we are into the IoT, the industry chatter going into 2015 is that this will be an important year in its incubation. Maybe incubation is the wrong word; the egg shell is already cracked, and the critter inside is emerging. Companies like Cisco are committing themselves to this future, and investing heavily to create the fabric that will be the IoT.
What will really happen in 2015 is anyone’s guess, and there’s an abundance of guesses to go around. We’ve put together a compendium of IoT-related projections by some highly recognized authorities about what we might expect in the year ahead. It could be the year that we look back upon a decade from now and say, “I was there when …”