Here Comes the Internet of Things
If you liked the early days of cloud computing, you're going to love the Internet of things (IoT) and its less-sexy cousin, machine-to-machine communications. Certainly, you'll be in elite company. Cisco is dedicating an entirely new business unit to the fledgling effort. AT&T has built two shiny new facilities dedicated to developing things like smart luggage that can locate your bags in the airport so you don't lose them. Verizon has a program aimed at transportation. Broadcom, Oracle, Samsung -- all are in the hunt. Intel says IoT technology will enable 3.8 billion more connected "things" by 2015. At an average cost of $100 per item, we're talking $380 billion (about the GDP of Austria) in just two years.
IoT fever isn't limited to IT vendors. General Electric, the 121-year-old multinational conglomerate not exactly associated with the build-your-own-market-bubble crowd, says its IoT offerings, under the rubric "Industrial Internet," will deliver at least a 1% improvement in efficiency to customers by way of sensor-enabled industrial equipment. Total value of that 1%? To start, $66 billion for its energy customers, $30 billion for aviation and $63 billion for healthcare.