The consensus projection by financial and technology analysts is that sometime in the next decade there will be over 50 Billion IoT nodes connected to the Internet. It is further estimated that the connecting fabric for such nodes, which today is overwhelmingly fixed, will transition to where over 90% of all IoT connections are wireless. Furthermore, it is likely that IoT will affect almost all sectors of the US and of the Global economy and will be responsible for touching over 40% of the World GDP in a fundamental way. One can think of IoT as a catchall phrase for the “deep digitization” of products, services and processes – something that is likely to last for the next 20 to 30 years. What IoT applications and solutions have in common is:
- Exploitation of reliable public and private infrastructure that provides power, computing and storage (cloud, fog, and edge), and communications. This infrastructure significantly lowers the economic threshold for IoT solutions and applications.
- The emergence of mobile communications that enable access to information from almost anywhere at almost anytime – and the integration of mobility with powerful end-user devices and display systems.
- The trend towards ubiquity, not quite there yet but is rapidly moving in that direction. The adoption and penetration of infrastructure elements now cover much of the globe and there is considerable effort and investment to continue the trend. That means better coverage in advanced economies and the development of low cost solutions in the developing world.
- The existence of long lived standards, protocols, and open source software that are harmonized around the globe and provide for scalability and interoperability of solutions and preservation of investment;
- The generation of data from “sensors” and from “information systems” that can be fused and analyzed to find trends and to use computing to solve some of the problems that were too difficult in the past;
- The emergence of powerful computational techniques for Artificial Intelligence, Autonomy, and Automation that are bringing considerable value to IoT and are one of the enabling technologies for improving productivity in many Verticals;
- A purpose, that can be thought of as a control loop where sensors create high resolution data, that is merged with other relevant inputs and historical trends, analyzed, and used to make complex and optimized decisions, that complete the control loop by commanding actuators or present status information for human operators to take action.
The IoT is in its early stages and very much on the learning curve. It is also a very multi disciplinary undertaking and complex in nature. There is a lot yet to be invented and understood. At the same time the year over year growth rate in revenues associated with IoT deployments has shown a CAGR of more than 20% for each of the last three years.
The IEEE IoT Initiative is a Multi-Society undertaking that was formed to be the central source of information, knowledge, and activity about IoT for IEEE and its over 400,000 members. We see IoT and its growth as the next major advance in the benefits of the Internet. The central objective of the Initiative, in keeping with the overall mission of IEEE, is to nurture and promote the adaptation of IoT for the benefits of Humanity.