The Internet of Things: Sizing up the opportunity

Mark Patel, Harald Bauer, Jan Veira, McKinsey, Jan 07, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

You've probably heard of the Internet of Things. As this report notes, it "refers to the networking of physical objects through the use of embedded sensors, actuators, and other devices that can collect or transmit information about the objects." There's tremendous potential, but serious privacy implications (do you want to report to your insurance company every detail about where and how you drive your car?). So how soon will it hit and how big will it be? As far as I can judge, soon, and big. Developer kits are already available, and devices (like Nest) are emerging. First-generation chips are available and existing specs like WiFi and Bluetooth allow them to connect. The McKinsey report concludes, "The sector may be on the cusp of unit growth similar to the surge it experienced with the smartphone—and perhaps an even greater jump."

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