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IoT and Big Data: Inextricably Linked

The era of IoT, or the Internet of Things, is upon us. In a January 2017 report, Gartner estimates 8.4 billion connected products will be in use this year.


This is up 31 percent from 2016, and it is only set to grow. The consumer segment represents almost two-thirds of the overall apps in use (5.1 billion units).

The same study estimates that the future of business IoT—to the tune of 4.4 billion units by 2020—lies in cross-industry connectivity (think not just smart meters, but smart buildings, where lighting, security and HVAC systems interact). Business IoT in 2017 will drive almost $1 trillion in spending on hardware alone ($725 billion in the consumer segment), and both are set to top $3 trillion by 2020.

Where IoT and Big Data Will Grow

A 2015 McKinsey study breaks the IoT and big data growth into the following nine areas that span consumer, business, and public sector applications:

Human. This is related to all things wellness, and includes wearables and ingestibles.
Home. Think home security and management systems.
Retail Environments. This encompasses anywhere that consumers make  purchases, including restaurants, arenas, banks, and stores. Applications include in-store engagement, inventory management, and self-checkout.
Offices. This area focuses on energy and security management of office buildings, as well as productivity improvements.
Factories. This includes anywhere with repetitive work routines, including farms and hospitals, with applications focused on optimization, operating efficiencies, and inventory control.
Worksites. Again, operating efficiencies (along with predictive maintenance and safety) are key here in this area of mining, oil and gas, and construction.
Vehicles. This area includes aircraft, boats, and truck fleets. IoT will focus on design, maintenance, and operational efficiencies.
Cities. Think urban environment infrastructure such as traffic control and resource management.
Outside. This pertains to logistics, routing and navigation that happen in non-urban settings.

Overall, the economic impact of these areas is estimated to grow to $11.1 trillion by 2025.

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