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The Internet of Things – Is this the Sci- Fi we saw a decade ago?

A phenomenon that is predicted to fuel an industry worth $8.9 trillion by end of the decade, a whopping 212 billion connections, pegged to change the future of how most enterprises function—the Internet of Things (IoT)—is here to change the world.

In a world of heterogeneous entities seamlessly and securely integrated with each other and the internet, nothing will be impossible. Driven by M2M communication, wireless sensor, and actuator networks (WSAN), ubiquitous computing, and web-of-things (WoT), IoT will offer many advantages in terms of technologies and functionalities in an enterprise context. It will facilitate a number of technologies - simplifying environment sensing, proximity triggering, automated sensing and actuation to name a few. This will lead to higher adoption and easier utilization of applications. So there will be a much better track rate for automated home appliances, smart grids and high-resolution asset and product management apps.

M2M applications will drive business that will generate approximately 714 billion Euros by the end of 2020. Industry experts see IoT facilitating a double digit growth in some verticals - consumer electronics, automotive, and healthcare, as well as assuring a much faster adoption of intelligent buildings and utilities in the consumer market. Of course, this rapid adoption will depend on the connectivity requirements of all applications, affecting the feasibility of some technologies.

Despite the unlimited opportunities it presents, IoT faces certain limitations, the biggest being the risk of incompatibility between applications, legacy or otherwise. Components by disparate vendors are rarely compatible, and the need of the hour is to have interoperability standards so that these entities can work with each other.
As IoT gains ground, there will emerge a whole range of business ecosystems, comprising organizations which will compete and complement each other through their offerings in hardware, software, platforms, standards & connectivity. There will be needed a whole range of services focused on provisioning, assurance, and billing of the application services, in the new business environment.

The emergence of Internet of Things is expected to create new service lines by IoT application vendors and services providers, platform providers and integrators, or technology system integrators. The growth of the IoT market will hence be dependent on common platforms, standards and interfaces which match the requirement of specific domains.

The number of connected devices in use is expected to grow almost threefold by the end of this decade – from 9 billion in 2011 to 24 billion in 2020. In these, the fastest growing segment is M2M devices, growing form 2 billion to 12 billion in the same period, and the vertical that has zoomed ahead due to this growth is the automotive sector, followed by digital homes and healthcare. Some examples are in-vehicle infotainment, eCall, parking meters, information sharing about road conditions and traffic density, toll collection, taxation, pay as you drive (PAYD) car insurance, digital consumer electronics, home automation with Smart Home solutions, automated meter reading (AMR), residential security and of course, monitoring solutions to support wellness, prevention, diagnostics or treatment services.

There is huge potential for Technology support organizations to play important roles in the mainstream acceptance of IoT when. mature business models and market players emerge.

Raghuram Nair

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