Device connectivity and the Internet of Things (IoT) is taking the industry by storm. IDC estimates that over 29 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2020. Cisco estimates over 50 billion connected devices. And these devices will drive new industries and revenue streams to the tune of over $1.7 trillion dollars by 2020. This is clearly a force we all need to understand, especially those of us in the communications industry because communications as we know it will change. Prior to IoT, communications typically meant voice/video/messaging from person-to-person, or in small instances, person-to-machine. With IoT, voice/video/messaging communications will become part of a larger application where real-time communications becomes a necessary feature, not the focal point of the application.
IoT use cases involve sensors that drive connected cars, smart cities, wearables, inventory tracking, and others we have yet to see. It may also involve cameras being everywhere, even on drones. The possibilities are essentially endless. But this will all result in the creation of enormous amounts of data. There are estimates that data being generated in 2020 will be 49 times the amount of data generated in 2013, growing from 0.09 zettabyte to more than 4.4ZB in 2020, according to IDC. (Note: I had to look up what ZB meant; zettabyte is defined as a unit of information equal to one sextillion (10^21) bytes. To put these numbers into context, in 2020, humans will be generating data equal to about 158 million years of HD video.) This is mind boggling, really.
So what would happen with all of this data? Stay tuned for next week’s blog post to find out.