Internet of Things technology stagnant | Automation.com

Internet of Things technology stagnant

Internet of Things technology  stagnant

May 16, 2014 - The Internet of Everything (IoE) is a term used by Cisco and others that describes the massively connected world ahead of us. Its main elements are the Internet of People (IoP) and the Internet of Things (IoT). In this article we share some of the findings about the Internet of People.

Firstly, it is important to distinguish between the Internet of Things and the Internet of People because of the very different market maturity, technical issues, participants and other factors. For example, there are minimal sales today of IoT devices, basically sensing microcontroller nodes with IP addresses and associated systems and software. Its value chain is unclear, paybacks are little understood, no large orders exist or, as far as we can tell, are even being negotiated. Will small, medium or large companies mainly benefit? No one can agree. Many impediments to creation of a large IoT market are swept under the carpet as large companies and analysts indulge in an unseemly race to the largest forecasts.

The IoP is the opposite of all these things, with more mobile phones on the planet than people and swathes of other personal electronics, with internet connection, already deployed. Yes, it is now extending to wearable electronics first as peripherals then the whole thing and it will appear elsewhere but the basics are the same.

Wearable technology adds fuel to IoP growth  

Analysts IDTechEx find that the IoT will be deployed more slowly than most predict but we are more optimistic than most when it comes to the IoP, because of the existing momentum and understanding but also because many exciting technical advances are imminent to help it on its way. Google Glass and the like are one example of intelligent use of radically better human interfaces, something barely relevant to IoT. Blink and you take a picture, talk to it and it talks to you – and not just when you address it but also when it thinks you should know something. These new capabilities are of huge attractiveness to security forces, surgeons and even the general public and they extend usability and appeal to ever younger and older people, more of the infirm and so on.

Uniquely, IDTechEx’s IoP report looks not just at the concept and forecasts but also at the key enabling technologies of the future, from device hardware to systems. IDTechEx investigated what is desired in a new mobile phone, its derivatives and peripherals and what will be possible when. The key will remain ubiquity, mobility and ease of use while much more functionality is added – a tall order but certainly not impossible.

Future IoP will leverage new technology that will make the devices invisible in the form of body implants, woven fibers and transparent electronics. We shall be talking washable and sometimes disposable electronics and electrics. Add to that the technology that helps us to escape from recharging and replacing batteries, such as new multi-mode energy harvesting. This is the story of a maturing mobile phone, tablet, phablet and laptop industry reinventing itself with widely dispersed peripherals in smart patches, e-textiles and more and those peripherals transitioning to internet enablement and then replicating most mobile phone functions and adding others.

Many enabling aspects align

Just as the growth rate of the market for most existing personal electronics is easing, the new formats such as wearable electronics are kicking in to maintain or increase overall IoP growth rates. The new formats come with a host of those new enabling technologies and other factors ready on cue. There is justification for saying that many of the aspects preventing realisation of the dream of "things that think" and earlier "embedded computing vanishing into the fabric of society" have recently fallen into place, facilitating a huge leap forward in the IoP. They include:

  • Potential suppliers getting hungry. Large suppliers to the mobile phone, internet and allied industries see fast growth ending and their hardware being commoditised and seek to invest huge funds in something that has at least as much potential and leverages their skills. For example, in February 2014, GE announced it would invest $1.5 billion into "industrial internet" research from 2012 to 2015.
  • Viable, acceptable new human interfaces that are so easy to use that the devices become attractive to a much wider demographic and having many of them becomes commonplace.
  • There are now plenty of IP addresses available with IPv6.
  • Internet access is far more ubiquitous particularly via cellular, WiFi and many new options to come.
  • 900MHz WiFi 80211ah could provide WiFi with dedicated bands for ultra-reliable, always-on machine-to-machine connections.
  • Large government investment in smart cities particularly in China where things communicate and act autonomously and mobile phones and other personal electronics are used for a much wider variety of tasks.

IDTechEx also sees an excellent roadmap of other key aspects of an enlarged IoP falling into place over the coming decade, including 5G providing faster, more reliable internet access around 2020, boosted by many improved short range radio protocols, ever more widely deployed. The result may be as many as 55 billion IoP devices in use in 2025, many employing printed electronics and completely new components, keeping it the dominant part of the Internet of Everything.

This is the very opposite of what Cisco and many others predict, which is IoT overtaking well within the coming decade. The lessons of history show that genuinely new things like IoT take longer to be established than enthusiasts hope whereas existing things can run and run, being reinvented on the way. A detailed analysis of all the factors for IoP and IoT confirms this fact for them. For the next decade IoP is the most important one to watch.

About IDTechEx
IDTechEx guides your strategic business decisions through its Research and Events services, helping you profit from emerging technologies. We provide independent research, business intelligence and advice to companies across the value chain based on our core research activities and methodologies providing data sought by business leaders, strategists and emerging technology scouts to aid their business decisions.

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