By: Randy Littleson
I came across an interesting article in the last week (Cisco: 50 billion things on the Internet by 2020) that highlighted a debate between Cisco and IBM in terms of how many intelligent, connected devices were going to be connected to the Internet in the next few years. At the low-end, Cisco was projecting 50 billion devices (this is the low-end!). At the high-end, IBM is projecting 1 trillion connected devices by 2015 (the article also states that Cisco's CTO predicted 1 trillion devices by 2013 – contradicting other Cisco estimates). That's 2015 – as in 4 years!
The article goes on to say that the number of connected devices already exceeds the number of people on earth. So, it's clearly more than just a fad.
While the business and personal applications and uses of these intelligent devices vary greatly, there are some commonalities in terms of the enablers for this to happen. Probably the biggest is software. Increasingly, intelligent devices are driven by multifaceted software. Embedded software and machine to machine (M2M) software are used to power, monitor, manage and administer these devices and applications within these intelligent devices to help deliver the myriad of uses and capabilities for businesses and consumers alike.
There's an entire infrastructure supporting this rapid growth in connected devices. All of this software must be delivered to and updated on these devices. The producers of this software want to protect and monetize the software they put inside these intelligent devices and there's an entire back-office to manage software entitlements and subscriptions, activate software licenses and much more.
If you manufacture any type of physical device today, you need to be thinking about the competitive value you can deliver your customers by making your device an intelligent, connected device with machine to machine management capabilities or risk that the other 1 quadrillion connected devices might just deliver your customers something you don't.