Think the net neutrality debate is all about streaming videos? Think again. It’s actually much more than that: It’s about streaming your life. Internet connectivity might seem ubiquitous today, between the use of PCs, mobile devices, and smart TVs, but there are major swaths of daily life that aren’t connected yet that soon will become so, such as homes and cars, according to a new eMarketer report, “Key Digital Trends for Midyear 2014: The Internet of Things, Net Neutrality, and Why Marketers Need to Care.”
Connecting all the unconnected devices, machines and systems will involve vast numbers of new internet-enabled objects and large sums of money. In a relatively untapped market with seemingly limitless potential, forecasts tend toward the sky-high:
- International Data Corporation predicts the worldwide market for “internet of things” (IoT) solutions will grow from $1.9 trillion in 2013 to $7.1 trillion in 2020.
- MarketsandMarkets gives the IoT market a more conservative—but still lofty—valuation of $1.029 trillion in 2013, increasing to $1.423 trillion by 2020.
- Gartner forecasts 26 billion connected objects worldwide by 2020 (a figure that does not include PCs, smartphones and tablets).
- IDATE projects 80 billion internet-connected things in 2020, up from 15 billion in 2012. This figure does include PCs, TVs and smart devices, but the vast majority (85%) will be objects like car tires or shipping pallets that may communicate with the web via an intermediate device. Devices that communicate directly, such as PCs, TVs and mobile phones, will make up 11% of the total in 2020.
- Cisco Systems predicts 50 billion things will be connected by 2022, yielding $19 trillion in new revenues ($14.4 trillion of which will accrue to private-sector corporations).
“There’s no doubt the world is moving toward a more connected future, but the speed with which consumers and enterprises make the transition to the internet of things is still to be determined,” said Noah Elkin, executive editor at eMarketer. “The timing of adoption will determine just how much money and how many things are involved.”