Finance advisors Hampleton report that $9.4 billion has been spent in buying Internet of Things (IoT) companies over the past three years. An eye watering $5 billion of that was invested in the first nine months of 2014. According to IDC, it is a market that is set to be work $7.1 trillion by 2020.
It seems that the new dot com boom is a dot thing frenzy.
We are still wondering, though, what role that operators will play. The first thing is to recognise that probably by 2020, the terms M2M, already scarce, and IoT will no longer be used. In the same way that the PC market used to be huge – supporting conferences, trade shows and research houses – it disappeared by becoming ubiquitous. Essentially it disappeared into the fabric of our lives.
Just as the PC helped revolutionise many industries, the IoT is doing the same.
To work out how operators can best support these new arenas, understanding that makes it easier. How do operators support the health industry today? Or the car industry? The answer is by helping them with productivity, cost reduction, better diagnosis and support. Operators need to think of industries as different arenas. Some arenas they can address themselves, others they will need to partner with specialists to address.
At the same time, the walls between industries or arenas is crumbling. Wearable technology is one force that is bringing about the change. Cynics might snort at the advent of wearables, but they are here to stay. Twitter today has links to a Victoria Secret’s bra that has a heart monitor in it. There is a wrist band that gives you an electric shock for spending too much time staring at the internet. There is even a fashion show devoted to wearable technology.
Soon, we will be able to Google where the car keys are, and the expression ‘have you seen my specs anywhere’ will be gone from our language. Everything will be able to find, track and monitor everything else.
The role of operators is to provide all the digital stuff to make it happen, in partnership with the specialists who can add the value. And then charge for it, based on the business model of the moment, or the arena.
We are about to live in very interesting times.