Imagine if almost everything — streets, car bumpers, doors, hydroelectric dams — had a tiny sensor. That is already happening through so-called Internet-of-Things projects run by big companies like General Electric and IBM.
All those devices and sensors would also wirelessly connect to far-off data centers, where millions of computer servers manage and learn from all that information.
Those servers would then send back commands to help whatever the sensors are connected to operate more effectively. A home automatically turns up the heat ahead of cold weather moving in, or streetlights behave differently when traffic gets bad. Or imagine an insurance company instantly resolving who has to pay for what an instant after a fender-bender because it has been automatically fed information about the accident.
Think of it as one, enormous process in which machines gather information, learn and change based on what they learn. All in seconds.
It is difficult to say just how big this business could be, but there are two good indicators: Analysts at Gartner estimate that by 2019 retail cloud computing — the data center side of the equation Mr. Bosworth is working on — will double in size, to $314 billion. The sensors on objects will be a $2.6 trillion business, an increase of 250 percent, Gartner estimates. There is a very good IOT overview in this issue
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Managing Partner/Editor in Chief
Telecom Review North America