Making Sense of the Internet of Things (IoT)

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In Summary: The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the connection of devices (other than typical fare such as computers and smartphones) to the Internet. Cars, kitchen appliances, and even heart monitors can all be connected through the IoT. And as the Internet of Things grows in the next few years, more devices will join that list. By 2020, more than 24 billion IoT devices will be operational on the earth, approximately four devices for every human being on the planet.  By then, $6 billion will have been invested into IoT solutions, including application development, device hardware, system integration, data storage, security, and connectivity. That will be money well spent as those investments will generate $13 trillion by 2025.  But industry experts predict that IoT Security & Privacy will become a primary concern as devices become more connected.

An engineer makes an adjustment to the robot "The Incredible Bionic Man" at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington October 17, 2013. (Photo by REUTERS)

New York, USA—You have likely heard the phrase "Internet of Things" — or IoT — at some point, but you might also be scratching your head figuring out what it is or what it means. The IoT refers to the connection of devices (other than typical fare such as computers and smartphones) to the Internet. Cars, kitchen appliances, and even heart monitors can all be connected through the IoT. And as the Internet of Things grows in the next few years, more devices will join that list.

A beginner's guide to the IoT below can help readers navigate the increasingly connected world. Some of the terms and basic definitions one needs to know and understand include, among others, those provided in the glossary below.

Internet of Things: A network of internet-connected objects able to collect and exchange data using embedded sensors; Internet of Things device: Any stand-alone internet-connected device that can be monitored and/or controlled from a remote location;  Internet of Things ecosystem: All the components that enable businesses, governments, and consumers to connect to their IoT devices, including remotes, dashboards, networks, gateways, analytics, data storage, and security; Entity: Includes businesses, governments, and consumers; Physical layer: The hardware that makes an IoT device, including sensors and networking gear; Network layer: Responsible for transmitting the data collected by the physical layer to different devices;  Application layer: This includes the protocols and interfaces devices deploy to identify and communicate with each other; Remotes: Enable entities that utilize IoT devices to connect with and control them using a dashboard, such as a mobile application. They include smartphones, tablets, PCs, smartwatches, connected TVs, and nontraditional remotes; Dashboard: Displays information about the IoT ecosystem to users and enables them to control their IoT ecosystem. It is generally housed on a remote; Analytics: Software systems that analyze the data generated by IoT devices. The analysis can be used for a variety of scenarios, such as predictive maintenance; Data storage: Where data from IoT devices is stored; Networks: The internet communication layer that enables the entity to communicate with their device, and sometimes enables devices to communicate with each other.

With respect to IoT Predictions, Trends, and Market, a BI intelligence, business insider's premium research service expects that there will be more than 24 billion IoT devices on Earth by 2020. That's approximately four devices for every human being on the planet. And as we approach that point, $6 billion will flow into IoT solutions, including application development, device hardware, system integration, data storage, security, and connectivity. But that will be money well spent, as those investments will generate $13 trillion by 2025.

Who will reap these benefits? There are three major entities that will use IoT ecosystems; consumers, governments, and businesses. Some of the IoT Industries, growing from the several environments within the three groups of consumers, governments, and ecosystems will benefit from the IoT. These will include; manufacturing, transportation, defense, agriculture, infrastructure, and retail. Others will be logistics, banks, oil, gas, and mining, insurance, connected homes, food services, utilities, hospitality, healthcare, and smart buildings.

Some of the IoT companies, literally numbering in hundreds, are now linked to the Internet of Things, and the list should only expand in the coming years. Some of the major players that have stood out in the IoT to-date include Honeywell (HON);  Hitachi; T-Mobile (TMUS); Comcast (CMCSA); GE (GE);  AT&T (T); Cisco (CSCO);  IBM (IBM); Amazon (AMZN);  Skyworks (SWKS); Apple (AAPL);  Sierra Wireless (SWIR); Google (GOOGL); and Iridium Communications (IRDM).

Others are Ambarella (AMBA); ARM Holdings (ARMH); Texas Instruments (TXN); PTC (PTC); Fitbit (FIT); ORBCOMM (ORBC); Garmin (GRMN); Blackrock (BLK); InvenSense (INVN); Microsoft (MSFT); Control4 (CTRL); and Silicon Laboratories (SLAB. To these, add CalAmp (CAMP); LogMeIn (LOGM); InterDigital (IDCC);  Ruckus Wireless (RKUS); Linear Technology (LLTC);  Red Hat (; RHT);  Nimble Storage (NMBL);  Silver Spring Networks (SSNI);  Zebra Technologies (ZBRA); and Arrow Electronics (ARW).

The IoT Platform functions when one IoT device connects to another to transmit information using Internet transfer protocols. IoT platforms serve as the bridge between the devices' sensors and the data networks. Some of the top IoT platforms on the market today include Amazon Web Services;  Microsoft Azure; ThingWorx IoT Platform; IBM's Watson; Cisco IoT Cloud Connect; Salesforce IoT Cloud; and Oracle Integrated Cloud. GE predix that IoT Security & Privacy will become a primary concern as devices become more connected. Thanks to the IoT, security and privacy have become the primary concern among consumers and businesses. In fact, the protection of sensitive data ranked as the top concern (at 36% of those polled) among enterprises, according to the 2016 Vormetric Data Threat Report. Cyber-attacks are also a growing threat as more connected devices pop up around the globe. Hackers could penetrate connected cars, critical infrastructure, and even people's homes. As a result, several tech companies are focusing on cyber security in order to secure the privacy and safety of all this data.

BI Intelligence has compiled an exhaustive and detailed report on the Internet of Things that is your one-stop resource for all you need to know about the IoT. The report gives a thorough outlook on the future of the Internet of Things, including the following big picture insights: IoT devices connected to the Internet will more than triple by 2020, from 10 billion to 34 billion. IoT devices will account for 24 billion, while traditional computing devices (e.g. smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, etc.) will comprise 10 billion.
Nearly $6 trillion will be spent on IoT solutions over the next five years. Businesses will be the top adopter of IoT solutions because they will use IoT to 1) lower operating costs; 2) increase productivity; and 3) expand to new markets or develop new product offerings. Governments will be the second-largest adopters, while consumers will be the group least transformed by the IoT.


Source: Business Insider Inc.

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