I remember early in my IT writing career covering the AIDC (automatic identification and data collection) space and hearing about RFID (radio frequency identification). I was certain that by 2005, barcodes would be ancient history and everything would be automated thanks to RFID tags and transponders. Nearly 10 years later, barcodes are still the de facto standard and non of the retailers in my area are using “smart shelves.”
When I first heard about the Internet of Things less than two years ago, it reminded me of the RFID buzz from years ago. In fact, Gartner has dubbed the Internet of Things as “The most-hyped technology of 2014,” a title that would have easily described RFID 12 years ago. A closer look at the facts, however, reveals that this newer technology phenomena is very different from its predecessor. For one thing, as the infographic below points out, 1.9 billion devices are already communicating with one another today. Sure, we’re still a long way away from the physical world becoming “one big information system,” but when you consider how many “things” are already moving in that direction (e.g. shoes, watches, traffic lights, wind turbines), and there are ROI numbers to back it up, it becomes evident that the Internet of Things is a reality we should be embracing rather than shrugging off.
In fact, as you’ll see in the infographic below, not only is the Internet of Things something worth keeping up on, there is at least one key area where IT service providers should be honing their skills and helping their customers right now (the answer is at the bottom of the infographic for those who can’t take the suspense).