First created in the ‘60s in US Army labs, the Internet, a network of interconnected computers that can exchange information, had very humble beginnings. For decades, this network remained small, and only used by experts, without the wide public or any commercial activity (these were then actually strictly banned, and remained so until 1992).
It’s only in the mid-‘90s that the Internet started reaching a broader audience, thanks to several new technologies that made it faster and easier to access and to use. Since then, the changes have been too numerous to count, at a speed and a scale that became almost dizzying.
Until recently, most of the information exchanged was initiated by and destined to humans, happening in the online world only. But this fundamental principle is now changing, as a new era is emerging, the one called “The Internet of Things”.
This is how the Web-savvy call the Internet branch aiming to extend the network to objects and places located in the real world. The objects here are not so much computers and other communication devices such as smartphones, but rather all kinds of mundane, day-to-day things which will gradually become more and more connected.
Examples of applications are extremely wide, from devices that control access to buildings remotely, to systems that manage heating and cooling “smartly,” to mechanisms that enable companies to control their inventory and restocking entirely automatically.
By suddenly multiplying connection possibilities, this Internet of Things brings a new revolution in the quantity of data exchanged, which now experiences and will continue to experience a genuine explosion.
A few figures to better understand the extent of this growth:
- In 2008, the number of things connected to the Internet first outgrew the world population (nearly 7 billion)*.
- Before 2020, this number should be closer to 50 billion devices connected to the Internet**.
- In 2011, the Internet traffic coming from 20 average homes was roughly the same as the 2008 Internet traffic… as a whole**.
- Currently, the average American household owns 7 devices or objects connected to the Internet.*
- In August 2013, Cisco estimates that more than 10 billion things are connected. By 2022, this number should climb up to 50 billion. At the actual rate, this corresponds to 80 new connections every second worldwide*.
- Thanks to IPv6, 100 possible Internet addresses for every atom on the face of the Earth (2^128).** The potential is thus incredibly high.
- Cisco estimates that the potential of this exponential connectivity growth is over $14 Trillion, up for grabs to companies that find a way of benefiting from this opportunity.
Which parallel can be drawn between these incredible statistics and your business? Just like all of the Internet data, your data will most likely continue to grow both constantly and exponentially.
One thing is for sure, is that planning for this growth is imperative. It is just as important for businesses to think in the mid- and long-term when choosing an Internet provider and an access type, than it is for providers to follow this trend closely and constantly upgrade the capacity of its accesses.
*Source: The Internet of Things; Cisco IBSG, Jim Cicconi, AT&T, Steve Leibson, Computer History Museum, CNN, University of Michigan, Fraunhofer.
**Source: The NPD Group and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.