January 27, 2016 // By Mark Smith
Over the course of computing history there have been several inflection points where the direction and usage of computers have significantly changed how companies do business. Mainframes, Minicomputers, PC’s, Local Area Networks (LANs), the Internet, and smartphones are among the most significant. While these past shifts have been substantial, we may be on the cusp of the most significant inflection point yet.
The last major inflection point started with the introduction of iPhone and Androids. While other smartphones were available previously, iOS and Android devices opened the door on a whole new world. That open door caused (and continues to cause) a shift in how business gets done – using smartphones for paying bills, playing videos, and taking a ride are just a few examples of disruption in long standing business models. Over the past decade smartphones have affected existing businesses and spawned new businesses that no one could have foreseen.
The IoT inflection point may put smartphones to shame in terms of speed of adoption and the effect on business. While IoT devices have been around in some way for the past few years, we are fast approaching a tipping point where the adoption of IoT technology becomes make or break for companies. With general purpose IoT devices running standard operating systems from numerous vendors at sub $10 prices, the cost and speed to implement IoT has dropped dramatically. General purpose IoT technologies support development times from concept to completion in just a few months, the economics support IoT usage in areas with just a few devices.
These forces are driving forecasts that call for millions of IoT applications running on billions of IoT devices over the next 5 years. The question is what businesses gain a competitive advantage through IoT and what long standing business models crumble under competition from a nimble player implementing IoT?
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