Corporate Investments Transforming “Internet of Things”

The all-encompassing IoT is now converting into “the Internet”, where it’s difficult to classify it as an evolving technology anymore. The infiltration of digital connectivity has already occurred to the software industry with rise of the World Wide Web. When world’s first Web browser Mosaic released in 1993, only 0.5% of the software was Web-enabled at that time, but currently, this figure is 99%. The software has imparted physical devices and products an extra dimension of usability, and the IoT has unleashed the true power of these devices by connecting them together and use the physical devices as one system.

At CES 2016, the world witnessed the top notch companies bringing IoT to a next level. The unique focus on Internet of Things was self-evident on the CES platform, as organizations promoted everything from smart connected shoes to IoT-connected medical kits for the healthcare vertical.

Today, all manufactures have understood the fact that ‘software is taking over the world’, and every business is becoming software business or at least commanded by software. It’s becoming clear to everyone that physical products can exist as digital service if enabled with smart software and the internet. According to a global consulting firm ATKearney, IoT is the seamless incorporation of embedded intelligence, ubiquitous connectivity, and deep analytical insights which create unique and disruptive value for companies, individuals, and societies. The takeout of this definition is that Internet of Things depends on great ideas for products that fire the imagination. Implementing the ideas require innovation in hardware technologies, sophisticated sensor network, and smart software algorithms which unloose the real power of the hardware. But we should not forget the fact that ultimately financing is the most important thing which fuels the innovation. IoT has opened surplus opportunities for investment, in the form of collaboration, mergers, and startups.

Recently, Gartner, a technology research and advising firm announced that nearly five billion connected devices are connected currently and this number will reach to 25 billion by 2020. In similar predictions, IDC (International Data Corporation), a market intelligence firm forecasts a growth from $1.3 trillion in 2013 to $7.1 trillion by 2020. With the IoT emerging as the next big destination for investment, many industry giants are scrambling and fiercely competing to bring IoT innovation. Recently, Intel, Samsung, Atmel, Broadcom together announced to launch the Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC), an organization which will set the standards for connecting billions of household gadgets and appliances.

Internet of Things has become a new destination for the business sector for innovation and investment. Top technology companies, such as IBM, Intel, and Cisco, are investing in IoT technologies to take a lead in next era of technology. Indian government proposal of $2 Trillion investment, US government investing $100M per year and UK announcement for a £45m investment substantiate the fact that the governments and public sector have not ignored the unparalleled power of IoT. They have realized that this emerging paradigm promises to resolve many social and economic problems that many countries are facing today.

India’s Smart Cities Project & Digital India Program

Every country requires a comprehensive advancement in the physical, institutional, social and economic foundation. All are important in promoting the quality of life and bringing investments to the City, which will continue the virtuous cycle of growth and development. Development of Smart Cities is a step in that direction. Cities have been identified based on the set of benchmarks, which will be the part of Smart City Project, which will deliver connectivity across Indian states over the next few decades.

The Indian government initiative is the major step for harnessing IoT power and leveraging India’s strength as a leader in the global service industry. The Indian Government’s plan of developing 100 smart cities in the country, for which Rs. 7,060 crores has been allocated in the current budget, will lead to a massive and quick expansion of IoT in the country. Also, the government’s launch of the Digital India Program aims at ‘transforming India into digitally empowered society’ which will provide the required impetus for the development of IoT industry in the country.

Various actions proposed to be taken under the Smart City concept and the Digital India Program to plan Digital Infrastructure in the country would help boost the IoT industry. IoT will be critical in making these cities smarter.

Intel

Intel is transforming from a PC processor company to a technology company which will power the cloud and massive numbers smart connected devices. Intel recently signed the agreement to acquire Computer Vision algorithms hotshot Itseez Inc. This acquisition is a significant step by Intel to win the IoT market segments like autonomous driving.

Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO recently wrote about the company’s transformation to a virtuous cycle of growth between the data center and cloud and billions of emerging smart, connected devices.” Brian mentioned that Intel has identified primary focus areas which will be autonomous vehicles, industrial and retail as major growth drivers of the Internet of Things.

Intel Capital, the strategic venture capital investments arm of Intel Corporation, will continue to invest $300 million to $500 million every year.

Google

Google is another major player in the Internet of Things market. Google’s initial contribution was Google Glass, which could be the real breakthrough in controlling internet of things. Google glass using wireless connectivity can control the connected appliances at home.

In 2014, the search giant increased its arsenal by acquiring Nest Labs, maker of smart thermostat, and carbon monoxide detector for $3.2 billion and Dropcam, a plug-and-play security camera for $555 million. In the year 2015, Google took another aim at the internet of things by announcing the latest attempt to invest in smart cities, called Sidewalk Labs with the plan to reduce the energy consumption, making transportation more efficient and lowering the cost of living.

Google’s current investment value in this field is estimated $3.7 billion which is hopefully going to increase in the coming future and Google’s plans to take over the IoT across sectors may bring real transformation.

Other big players like Amazon and IBM are not far behind in the race of IoT innovation and investment. Amazon’s home automation product Amazon Echo, which is controlled by Amazon’s Alexa Voice Platform, has the ability to connect to other devices and is so powerful that it can control them through voice commands. Amazon has heavily invested in the development of AWS (Amazon Web Services) which can enable a user to develop IoT applications that can control IoT sensors and devices remotely. IBM, in the year 2015 publically announced its decision to invest $3 billion with the hiring of more than 1400 new employees for research and development of IoT products and services.

IoT still has long way to go and it will take years for IoT potential to be realized fully, but it’s absolutely clear that these major corporate investments will solidify the IoT and will turn the possibilities into reality which once we could only dream of.

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