Internet of Things May Be Yesterday’s Thing, Spending Wise

By now, most people in the tech community might agree that the term Internet of Things and its associated acronym, IoT, are well worn. Particularly since it’s the same as networking, which has been going on far longer and well before someone came up with the term IoT. Since the Internet took off big time, people have been hooking things and themselves up to it using a variety of software and operating systems.

Back in the 1990s, T&M OEMs were coming out with oscilloscopes that could be shared with global design teams via the web. At a 1998 tradeshow that shall remain nameless, held in the Javits Center, NYC, just about every home appliance was demonstrated with some form of internet connectivity that allowed for remote monitoring and control. How about webcams and nanny cams? They’ve also been around long before IoT was an over-sized bubble in someone’s teacup.

From a street-level view, the only things that are truly new are the interfaces between humans and the net, i.e., smartphones, tablets. After that, it’s just the devices, such as sensors, the interfaces that include embedded systems, and the software that holds it all together, hopefully with some level of security. But one can never depend on logic to steer the boat.

Along with the IoT acronym came a plethora of research reports claiming the market for IoT devices and myriad other things would reach some highly inflated figure by the year 2020 or beyond. Now, according to a report by IDTechEx analysts, “the Internet of Things (IoT) is mostly a hype bubble, with real-world spending and deployments being just a fraction of their predicted level.”

The report indicates that “while spending on IoT runs to billions yearly, the cost of buying and installing actual IoT networks is much more modest, contrary to heroic forecasts made by most analysts and manufacturers in the past,” say the report's authors. IDTechEx analysts state in their Internet of Things 2017-2027, “Ironically, even our forecasts have needed to be revised down in this report in the light of an ongoing paucity of installations.”

Other points, as per the report, include:

  • IoT as a whole - including software and system integration efforts - will be worth $322 billion by 2027, exploding from $1 billion next year to $73 billion by 2018. The number of devices will, they report, barely break one billion by 2020.
  • The fastest-growing areas of the IoT world will be smart home/city and the agricultural IoT world.
  • The most prolific electronic device is the anti-theft tag known as electronic article surveillance (EAS). More than ten billion are produced yearly.  Next comes disposable RFID tags and mobile phone, according to the report.
  • Governments are spending billions of dollars to solve the software and systems challenges rather than install any actual systems on a grand scale.
  • Prerequisites are not yet in place for IoT to be widely deployed. Hype will dissipate and considerable deployment will occur, but not at the scale and speed that most predict and only if security issues are solved.

If your curiosity is piqued, you can check out a preview of the full report at the IDTechEX website. While you’re there, you can also purchase the full report for a mere $4,975 to $7,765 depending on how many users are involved. Hopefully that cost will not be figured into future IoT research stats. ~MD