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IoT: The Intersection of Transformative Tech

This free interactive report examines the relationship between IoT and AI, Edge Computing, Cybersecurity and 5G, exploring the importance of each to the IoT project.

It sometimes feels as if we’ve been talking about the Internet of Things (IoT) forever. For most of the past decade, the buzz around ‘smart’ connected devices has been simmering to a slow boil.

Without the sudden explosive acceleration many commentators have long been predicting, the number of IoT connections has steadily increased first into the millions and then into the billions. Investment in IoT, meanwhile, has reached another order of magnitude beyond that.

With a new decade upon us, the stage is surely set for IoT to finally redefine the world we live in.

Predictions of how many connected devices there will be in existence come 2020 range from 20 billion (Gartner) to 200 billion - or, as Intel puts it, 26 devices for every person on the planet.

There are similar variations in forecasts as to just how high investment will climb. According to IDC, double-digit growth from 2017 onwards will see global spending on IoT reach somewhere in the region of $1.29 trillion in 2020. PwC estimates that $6 trillion has been invested in IoT in the last five years. McKinsey suggests the overall economic impact of IoT could reach anywhere between $3.9 trillion and $11.1 trillion by 2025.

Whatever the actual figures, the general thrust of opinion seems to be that IoT is on the cusp of reaching maturity - and not before time, many would no doubt argue. While a variety of reasons have been put forward to explain why IoT has enjoyed, by the standards of modern digital technology, an unusually long adolescence, perhaps the most compelling is that the sheer scale and breadth of the IoT opportunity has needed other technologies to evolve with it.

To support and enable a world where information and operational technologies (IT and OT) are fully integrated, where as billions of connected devices churn out torrents of data that needs to be carried, synchronised, protected and interpreted for action, we have had to look again at networking technology, at analytics, at infrastructure and at security.

Now, with the 2020s upon us, we might just have reached a point where new developments in those fields have reached a point of maturity, too, ready to carry forward the next phase of IoT evolution. In this report, we will examine the relationship between IoT and AI, Edge Computing, Cybersecurity and 5G in turn, highlighting the importance of each to the IoT project and where IoT, as the hub of these transformative technologies, could potentially take us.