IoT disruption hard to pin down due to the sheer scale of the current and future market

The Internet of Things may be a headline-grabbing topic, but it is also challenging in terms of assessing which companies and technologies are causing disruption to established markets.

Industries including cellular, automotive, hardware and software are all touched by IoT, and that's before you consider the growing range of technologies being touted as potential means of providing the actual connections themselves.

Analysts told FierceWireless:Europe that the IoT today includes traditional telecoms players such as Telefónica, plant equipment manufacturers including Caterpillar and John Deere, along with a host of technology companies including Qualcomm, Alphabet, Samsung, and Apple.

Christian Renaud, research director for IoT at 451 Research, noted that the term IoT covers a "gigantic, complex space" ranging from established companies that are already deriving revenues from the sector, through to start ups that are "doing everything from edge analysis to security."

That view was echoed by Neil Strother, principal research analyst for Energy at Navigant, who explained that a "host of smaller companies and start-ups" are entering the IoT sector. That entrepreneurial spirit is likely to see a number of new companies emerge over the next decade, covering sectors including chipsets, hardware, software, and services.

Matt Hatton, founder and CEO of Machina Research, told FW:E that you have to look beyond traditional communications companies to identify the businesses that are utilising IoT to cause disruption. He noted that while traditional companies have "identified a new growth opportunity", companies including ThingWorx, Ingenu, Sigfox and others are pioneering new approaches that "are helping to create the market."

While the three analysts agreed that IoT offers the potential to disrupt traditional business models, such as car ownership, they also note that there are potential barriers to the deployment of IoT technologies, systems and services.

In our latest special report, we detail the analysts' full views on the companies competing in the IoT sector today, the opportunities for cellular operators, technology disruption, and the challenges of deploying IoT systems and services.-- MJC