Based on its recent study, research firm Gartner Inc. predicts there will be 8.4 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices in use worldwide by the end of this year, which represents a 31% spike from the end of 2016, as summarized recently on NetworkWorld.com.
The number is expected to keep growing at a similar pace until 2020, when some 20 billion connected devices are expected to be in use, according to Gartner.
Nearly two-thirds of connected products will be consumer items, such as smart TVs, set-top boxes, and automotive devices. Such home items as connected door locks and lightbulbs, though popular with tech-savvy targets, have not yet reached the mass consumer market
Businesses will spend more than consumers on IoT products this year – doling out $964 billion, while consumers will spend $725 billion, Gartner predicts. For the business market, vertical industries like health care and manufacturing lead the way with 1.6 billion products, but next year cross-industry IoT systems, such as connected lighting, heating, and security, will likely surpass the vertical uses, according to Peter Middleton, Gartner analyst.
Less expensive products developed in China could fuel an even faster growth in IoT, Middleton believes. China’s electric utilities have driven down the cost of smart meters, for instance, and such a competitive-bidding process could swamp the west with cost-effective goods.
There is always the chance that security concerns will cool the consumer’s desire for smart products in the home. The 2016 distributed denial of service attack from a botnet of insecure connected cameras and DVRs is expected to have an impact. Said Middleton, “It could cause consumers to think twice about employing connected devices.”
ARMA International points out that in addition to security concerns, a host of information governance concerns should be addressed, particularly in the business market for these devices. Privacy concerns are already hitting the marketplace and cost considerations go beyond the cost of the devices. Businesses using these devices are collecting large quantities of data, which must be handled responsibly. Information governance experts have an opportunity to help organizations maximize the value of the information collected while putting safeguards in place to ensure the information is handled responsibly.
Additional information on the information governance concerns surrounding big data can be found on ARMA’s InDepth web page: http://www.arma.org/indepth/taming-big-data (available to professional members of ARMA International only).