Thursday, June 13

The Internet of Things Is Poised to Become Massive, and It’s Freaking the Government Out

The Internet of Things could be worth up to $11.1 trillion by 2025, and it’s freaking Washington D.C. out.

According to a new report from the McKinsey Global Institute, creating the Internet of Things — connecting analog machines, like industrial equipment, to the web — could potentially have a value of between $3.9 trillion and $11.1 trillion by 2025.

The research suggests that connecting more equipment to the Internet could potentially increase corporate revenue, create new businesses, and improve the decision making abilities of companies.

“I think people are starting to understand all of the incredible impacts the Internet has had on business, their personal lives and the ways we can interact with government,” said Michael Chui, the partner at the McKinsey Global Institute who co-authored the report. “Now,” he explained, “we are extending some of the power, speed and scope of the Internet, not just to our online lives but to all of the physical things we do. It is transforming how we combine the physical world with online and bringing it all to new domains.”

For example, connecting water systems to the Internet would allow cities to detect leaks easier. Driverless vehicles could reduce oil consumption. Automated checkouts could charge customers as they leave stores through the automatic doors, reducing time spent in lines and improving customer satisfaction. The opportunities are nearly endless.

“IOT is a bit of a hidden thing as so many folks are already using it and don’t realize it,” says Tom Ajello, Founder/Creative Director, Makeable. “Every morning we wake up and our coffee is auto-made while our home temperature adjusts accordingly. We’ve even set our Dropcams up to check on our little four-legged friends when we are at work. These products are real. They are live and they have emerged to help simplify our lives and even add quality to make things more fun or less stressful. And we’re only getting started. I’d say its time to get in on the internet of things NOW, as the market isn’t set to explode – it is exploding.”

However, it seems that members of the U.S. government are only just being clued in to the Internet of Things. Rep. Darrell Issa, who co-chairs the recently created Internet of Things Caucus, told Politico that “There’s 435 members of the House, 100 members of the Senate, and most of them still don’t know what the Internet of Things is.”

The entire latest edition of Politico’s new magazine, The Agenda, is dedicated to the Internet of Things, and offers such fear mongering articles as “Your Fridge is Spying on you.” The Washington Post also published a column on June 29 discussing the ways the Internet of Things could impose upon people’s personal freedoms.

For example, a digital agency may make an Internet-connected refrigerator that could stop ordering its owner cheesecake, because the Internet-connected scale noticed they were gaining weight. A pair of sneakers may perhaps tweet that its wearer skipped a week at the gym, and the owner’s health insurance network may increase the owner’s rates.

While the rapidly expanding Internet of Things does have genuine security and privacy issues, it’s most important for Washington to first learn about the Internet of Things — its advantages and disadvantages — before putting the kibosh on what could potentially hyper innovate industry.

For the Internet of Things to grow to $11.1 trillion by 2025, and make the U.S. a better place, the government needs to educate itself, and then put the necessary regulations in place to ensure that consumers’ privacy, security, and personal liberties are protected.

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