Will There Really Be 50 Billion Connected Devices on the Internet

Posted by at 11:58 am on June 3, 2010

Harbor Research has published their 2010 forecast report on M2M and smart systems: The Emergence of Smart Business. The report is an expansive update of Harbor’s views on the market size and growth rates and the current state of adoption of intelligent device networking technologies and managed services.

“Many IT equipment suppliers and wireless carriers have made recent pronouncements concerning the scale of the Internet of Things,” states Glen Allmendinger, President of Harbor Research. “While we don’t question that this will certainly happen, there are many structural elements that need to be in place to support such growth.”

“We have certainly entered an era where people, businesses and social organizations are beginning to understand the profound impacts awareness, collaboration, and intelligence will bring. In the not too distant future, hundreds of millions, then billions, of individuals and businesses, with potentially billions of smart, communicating devices, will stretch the boundaries of today’s business and social systems and create the potential to change the way we work, learn, entertain and innovate…. we call this Smart Business.”

Harbor’s analysis points to the many challenges in realizing such growth:

  • Challenges in adopting new business models;
  • Complex value creation eco-systems that require businesses to relate in new and different ways;
  • New modes of product, service and systems innovation that are not widely adopted today

“Peer-to-peer information and network integration are combining to create new modes of collaboration and value creation. People, information, and technology are becoming more connected, distributed and pervasive enabling the convergence of physical and virtual worlds. Social networking technologies are moving into the business world and will be utilized and experienced in new innovative ways. Networks will integrate knowledge, people and things into systems that enable awareness, creativity, better decision making, and, ultimately, higher value solutions.”

Harbor’s analysis indicates that the number of sensors and machines [intelligent devices] being connected to the Internet in 2010 will reach 10% of the volume of IT and telephony devices and will grow at three times the pace of traditional IT and telephony systems over the next several years. Harbor expects Smart Systems, driven by the networking of non-IT devices, will reach 10% of all information and communications technology investment in five years.

With the focus in the Smart Business arena rapidly shifting towards smart ‘connected’ services, a major part of the report covers the rapidly growing network and managed service opportunities enabled by Smart Systems technologies.

“It is clear from these forecasts that the market is now poised for higher growth and mass adoption -“ there is substantially greater recognition of the technology capabilities and the potential benefits of connecting devices to the Internet. The market will begin now to move forward into more complex higher value applications where the need for new business models and new modes of systems design innovation are much more evident.”

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