Consumer: The Key Driver of Internet of Things

by CXOtoday News Desk    Apr 14, 2014


Internet of Things (IoT) is no longer a hype. With the unprecedented growth of data, it is in fact playing a decisive role in the enterprise. What’s driving this growth is – people. Consumers are currently the main driver for this “explosion in the digital universe” as they increasingly use connected devices, such as smartphones, fitness tracker bands, and scales connected to the internet, according to a recent IDC study.

The study revealed the digital universe is doubling in size every two years and will multiply by 10-fold between 2013 and 2020 — from 4.4 trillion gigabytes to 44 trillion gigabytes. The study highlights that the digital universe is mainly being driven by people, as two thirds of information is generated or captured by consumers who are accessing a website or sending an email, even though 85% of that is being stored by a company.

IDC defines IoT as a network connecting (either wired or wireless) devices, or “things,” that is characterized by autonomous provisioning, management, and monitoring. The IoT opens up many IT vendors to the consumer market, providing Business to Business to Consumer (B2B2C) services to connect and run homes and automobiles — all the places that electronic devices will have a networking capability.

In other words, a new wave of consumer applications will put IoT at everyone’s fingertips, believe IDC experts. Large organizations have harnessed the power of data analytics for some time. But consumer services are finding more ways to use business intelligence to benefit individuals. IDC believes that IoT applications usage and adoption by the public sector can have a profound impact that can span a variety of domains: public security, defense, transport, and healthcare. In these areas, connected objects can provide real-time updates for situational awareness that can help act and react at the operational level, help monitor the status or behavior of people and assets to make management decisions, and support very fine-grained, sensor-driven analytics that help with planning decisions.

IoT will also see some of its biggest applications in the travel industry. The consumers to check thousands of different flight and hotel options and take over bookings previously handled by travel agents. Healthcare is another sought-after sectors where consumers will drive IoT. In a separate report IDC has said earlier, on the consumer side, quantified-self movement is already gaining grounds with growing adoption of wearables (such as Fitbit) and convergence of mobile and social (e.g. sharing your health goals and achievements with friends on Facebook), says the study.

There are enough compelling IoT use cases for caregivers and health organizations (such as remote health monitoring and higher patient engagement) but major security, compliance and regulatory obstacles need to be overcome. “The shiny connected device is only the tip of the iceberg, the real magic happens in the background. The focus should be on underlying technology such as big data, analytics, cloud computing and security solutions,” it said. 

With consumers driving the third platform technologies like mobility, analytics, cloud and social and enabling technologies such as security and virtualization, IDC sees that the future of IT will be driven by four pillars — mobile broadband, social business, big data/analytics, and cloud services. IoT will be critical to the success of the third Platform as these connected “things” will shape business processes and the increasingly connected consumer.