Even back in 2002, we had a workable definition for “Internet of Things” (IoT). It was defined as “the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer. Interestingly, a recent Forbes article contends that the concept dates all the way back to 1932. So we can establish that the model has been around for a quite some time and continues to make steady progress, but many analysts are reporting that the next few years will mark a huge milestone in the evolution of the IoT.
For example, analyst firm IDC forecasts that the worldwide market for IoT solutions will grow from $1.9 trillion in 2013 to $7.1 trillion in 2020. Some of this growth is driven by the increasing popularity of wearable devices, like Fitbit, with Juniper Research predicting that the wearables market will exceed $1.5 billion in 2014, double its value from 2013. Forbes recently published a great roundup of IoT industry predictions. Among all of the various analyst firms represented, one thing is clear – IoT is growing and can’t be ignored.
The IoT has clear benefits for consumers. Fitbit can help you achieve your fitness goals in real time and a connected home can generate cost efficiencies by automatically turning on your heat, for example. Google’s purchase of smart thermostat Nest for $3.2 Billion in February points to the huge market interest in home connected devices. Auto manufacturers are jumping on board and will soon be providing on-board connectivity to entice consumers. Gartner predicts that by 2020, approximately 150 million vehicles will be connected via Wi-Fi.
Machine to Machine (M2M) devices are the fastest-growing segment of the wireless market. What’s more, M2M applications serve a variety of functions within the enterprise, including asset management, security, productivity, and more. The connected device environment can provide many benefits, but it also presents unique challenges, including cost management. The cost of IoT will be taken on by the enterprise like any other business expense and will be weighed against its ROI.
Here are three steps enterprises can take to control the costs of M2M:
- Negotiate highly-customized plans based on data throughput requirements.
- Consider the SLA and liability implications on M2M connections providing mission critical support.
- Make sure to benchmark M2M rates at least twice a year.
By following these steps, and keeping a close eye on the costs associated with M2M, organizations can take advantage of the benefits of the Internet of Things evolution while improving ROI.