But, according to respected teleco analyst Paul Budde, progress in the IoT industry is still hampered by lack of standards, interoperability and effective government and industry collaboration.
In his latest edition of the Budde Report, Budde says that while there is a lot of interest in the IoT (personal devices) and M2M (industrial applications) market, what we are seeing is only what is happening on the surface.
“Most of the IoT and M2M activities are taking place unseen. For example, all new electronic devices (smartphones, tablets, set-top boxes, game consoles) are now IoT devices,” Budde observes.”
On the spread of the IoT and M to M devices, Budde also observes that tens of millions of smart meters have already been deployed by the electricity industry - with literally hundreds of millions of them in the pipeline – while healthcare is another key industry, with all new hospitals now operating large-scale M2M operations, tracking their equipment with real-time information.
In addition, Budde says most local governments have invested massively in mapping their assets, and this is now being followed up by adding connectivity to these assets – “whether it be streetlamps, drainage, sewerage or trees, all are in the process of becoming part of a smart city.”
The intelligent outcome of the use of the various new technologies is known as big data. This can only be achieved through connected information management and data collaboration. Open data systems are therefore critical to its success. Governments are increasing the number of data sets they make available to the public and data collaboration between businesses is also starting to happen.
Budde stresses that these “intelligent transactions” are mostly taking place in the cloud, with data centres forming the intelligent hubs between the clouds.
“Cloud computing has become one of the fastest-growing areas for the IT sector, and cloud computing solutions are being adopted by enterprises; government and consumers alike. In 2015 cloud computing has become more mainstream, with the majority of large enterprises adopting various solutions.
“Small and medium-sized businesses still largely need to start on the road to cloud computing, while close to 90% of larger businesses in developed economies have already embraced it.
“Few people realise the enormous impact that cloud computing is already making,” Budde says.
The other critical element for the future of these ICT developments, according to Budde, is the network quality needed for those billions of intelligent transactions between all of the IoT and M2M devices.
According to, Budde this data needs to be collected and processed to then deliver executable outcomes with real-time analyses to the IoT and M2M devices and their users, being “consumers, businesses, government organisations, utilities, traffic authorities and so on.”
Budde cautions that, in order to successfully implement the emerging networked economy, far more robust infrastructure is required than is currently available.
He says that the NBN and 4G LTE A(dvanced) – a halfway house on the way to full 5G –are going to provide that robust infrastructure necessary for high-speed information processing, distributed computing, as well as many other applications that can be processed, analysed and managed – all in real time over a cloud computer-based IT platform.
“Ubiquitous access, enormous capacity, low latency, robustness and symmetric access, as well as the very high levels of reliability, quality and security, are all critical to the success of such a new communications environment.”
The importance of access to infrastructure in these ICT developments, says Budde, is leading to convergence of what are still largely separate sectors - big data, IoT, M2M, cloud computing, data centres and telecoms wholesale.
And, Budde says this convergence will lead to mergers and acquisitions between the various companies involved in these activities, and “winners and losers will be attached to this process, it will be a very dynamic and rapidly changing market over the next few years.”
“Social and economic developments are further accelerating, and as more organisations tap into this merged ICT space and more investments are made we will see further astonishing innovations emerge over the next few years.
“Over time this will have a major impact on the economy. The emerging networked economy will become decentralised with more innovative new jobs and business opportunities being shared. Smart cities are going to play a key role in this new economy,” Budde concludes.