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IoT market keeps growing, with no end in sight

News Analysis
Oct 27, 20174 mins
Internet of ThingsTechnology Industry

With new IoT market research predicting fast growth and new initiatives from big-name companies around the world, the Internet of Things keeps on picking up steam.

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With all the hype it’s getting, you might think the Internet of Things (IoT) simply couldn’t gain any more momentum. Well, think again, because new market research and a wave of global IoT investments from sovereign nations and top-name companies keeps on accelerating the IoT momentum.

Growth, growth and more growth

First off, IHS Markit has published a new ebook in which it predicts serious growth for IoT: “The number of connected IoT devices worldwide will jump 12 percent on average annually, from nearly 27 billion in 2017 to 125 billion in 2030.”

According to the ebook, titled “The Internet of Things: a movement, not a market,” (pdf) that growth “is impacting virtually all stages of industry and nearly all market areas — from raw materials to production to distribution and even the consumption of final goods.” 

One critical impact of that: “Global data transmissions are expected to increase from 20 to 25 percent annually to 50 percent per year, on average, in the next 15 years.”

Maybe that’s why China is reportedly shifting focus from semiconductors to IoT and smart devices. According to another report, “Beijing envisions spending about $150 billion over 10 years to achieve a leading position in design and manufacturing.”

Sure, smart devices incorporate plenty of semiconductor processes and sensors, but the shift still seems significant.

The ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is also interested in IoT. His Smart Dubai Plan 2021 calls for leveraging IoT to help transition to a completely paperless government.

The worlds biggest players scramble to invest in IoT

At the same time, big-name companies around the world are ramping up their own IoT initiatives.

Dell is creating a new IoT division and opening IoT labs in locations around the world. The new division will be headed by Ray O’Farrell, the chief technology officer of VMware, and funded with a $1 billion R&D budget over three years to develop. It’s charter? To create new, more productive IoT products to work with Dell’s existing portfolio. A new IoT partner program aimed at predictive analytics is also in the works.

But Dell’s billion is a drop in the bucket compared to China’s Alibaba Group, which plans to spend $15 billion over three years on research and development in several areas, including artificial intelligence, quantum computing and, of course, IoT. Like Dell, it plans to open a series of global research labs in China, Russia and the United States.

New focus on IoT from Samsung, Salesforce and Toshiba

And at the Samsung Developer Conference 2017, the company said it is combining three IoT services into a single IoT platform. SmartThings, Samsung Connect, and ARTIK will be folded into the SmartThings Cloud, designed to offer developers a single, open hub for all Samsung IoT devices. The centerpiece is a single cloud API across all SmartThings-compatible products.

Salesforce, for its part, recently re-energized it IoT efforts with the launch of the IoT Cloud Explorer Edition. It’s designed to make it easier for non-technical folks to understand and use IoT data and devices. Of course, the idea is to help users incorporate that data into other Salesforce products, including the Salesforce Service Cloud, which debuted in 2015.

Toshiba, meanwhile, says it will boost its IoT R&D team by 50 percent in the next three years. The company plans to hire an additional 500 people to bring the team at Toshiba Digital Solutions to 1,500.

I could go on and on, but you get the picture. The world’s biggest players are convinced IoT is the future, and they’re investing serious capital to make sure they stay relevant as the market mushrooms.


Fredric Paul is Editor in Chief for New Relic, Inc., and has held senior editorial positions at ReadWrite, InformationWeek, CNET, PCWorld and other publications. His opinions are his own.