Making sense of the IoT opportunity

Sue Marek

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is perhaps the most talked about area of the wireless market today. Part of the reason for this excitement is that IoT could play role in nearly every industry--from automotive to healthcare to disaster recovery and more.

However, it's becoming increasing difficult to separate the reality from the hype. According to IDC, which defines IoT as a network of networks where things communicate without human interaction using IP connectivity, IoT solutions will be a $7.1 trillion business in 2020. And Gartner, which excludes PCs, smartphones and tablets from its IoT projections, anticipates there will be 26 billion connected units by 2020. Cisco and others predict much higher--around 50 billion connected devices by 2020.

These lofty projections are probably the reason so many companies are dedicating manpower and money to IoT. Samsung Electronics, for example, earlier this month purchased home automation platform SmartThings (a 2014 Fierce 15 winner), which represents a significant new investment by Samsung in the Internet of Things. The Korean company said it plans to help the startup expand its platform and work with more partners and devices.

Even struggling device maker BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) has invested in IoT. The company earlier this month created a new business unit called BlackBerry Technology Solutions, or BTS, where it will manage its patent portfolio and its new technologies including its QNX software for embedded wireless systems and its "Project Ion" Internet of Things application platform.

But even with all this investment in IoT, it's clear that in a world where 25 billion to 50 billion devices are all connected and communicating, security will have to be a top priority. Securing all these devices will be a difficult task because they will likely be running different applications on different operating systems.

Already IoT companies are banding together to spur interest and development in malware and privacy protection solutions. However, most agree that the risk for IoT is great and the need for some sort of control over the IoT ecosystem is paramount.

FierceWireless is taking a deep-dive on the Internet of Things. In this ebook, we look at the security risks as well as the various IoT standards bodies that are looking to bring order to this burgeoning space. We also explore the wearables opportunity and evaluate the latest developments in connected healthcare. Download this free ebook today. --Sue

P.S. If you are traveling to Super Mobility Week in Las Vegas, check out our executive breakfast on the Internet of Things on Sept. 10. My colleague Mike Dano will be hosting the panel, which includes speakers from some of the top players in this space including AT&T, Raco Wireless, Microsoft, BlackBerry and more. For more, click here.

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