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The Internet of Things is Coming, Hang on to Your Hats

I recently completely a deep dive on the Internet of Things (IoT) space for one of my clients, and I was blown away with what I learned.  If we think the consumer Internet as we know it is a big deal, IoT will become an even bigger deal, over time.  Gartner predicts the IoT industry to be $1.9TN in size by 2020, and McKinsey thinks it could be as large as $6.2TN by 2025, in terms of economic impact.  Yes Trillion!!  Intel forecasts 15BN devices will already be connected to the internet in 2015 alone.  That’s a lot of demand for embedded smart modules, cloud computing, connectivity, data security, mobile apps and analytics reporting alone.

To be clear, when I talk about IoT, I am largely talking about devices connected to the internet (e.g., think a Nest thermostat), or Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technologies.  IoT applications run across these primary sectors:  Consumer, Commercial, Industrial, Buildings, and Government.  And, get further segmented across these major industries:  Retail, Transportation, Security/Safety, IT, Manufacturing, Automotive, Energy and Healthcare, to name a few. Research suggests Manufacturing and Healthcare are the largest two of these industries, in terms of potential and investment to date.  From there, it drills down even further.  For example, in the Security/Safety space, it splits out into Real Time Alerts, Asset Tracking, Fire Safety, Environmental Safety, Elderly/Child Protection, Power Protection, Supply Chain Visibility and beyond.

So, don’t try to be all things to all people, find your sizeable niche and dominate it.  Understanding a lot of big companies are also carving out their niches.  As examples, in just the smart home space, niches are being created around lighting control (Hager, Legrand, Leviton, Lutron, Matsushita), access control (Honeywell, Siemens, Tyco, UTC), connected home security (, Bosch, Kwikset), energy efficiency (Belkin, Nest), home automation (e.g., Smart Things) and appliance control (GE, LG, Maytag, Samsung).  So, even if you pick a good niche, odds are some big companies are already trying to figure out solutions in that space.

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