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Internet of Things will see 26 billion connected devices by 2020

Long live the machines
Tue Mar 18 2014, 17:06

THE NUMBER of connected devices will rise to 26 billion by 2020, according to one analyst, with the market around the Internet of Things (IoT) worth a hefty $300bn.

Research house Gartner revealed its IoT predictions on Tuesday, advising that the growth would have a knock-on effect on data centres, as firms are tasked with collecting and managing the additional data created by these billions of devices and sensors.

The IoT has been around as a term for about 15 years, with its origins in barcodes and radio frequency identity (RFID) tags, and evolving via near-field communications and QR codes. But it's the rise of smart devices and wearable technology, which have only started to take off in the past few years, which will precipitate this rapid growth.

The IoT is based on hooking up connected devices with management systems, dealing with all the data sent between the two, including location and usage stats. For example, a prescription bottle might be fitted with a wireless sensor that would then remind the user to take their tablets via a smartphone app set up to send messages. One key challenge for firms will be around managing the privacy of all this data.

"As is already the case with smart metering equipment and increasingly digitised automobiles, there will be a vast amount of data providing information on users' personal use of devices that, if not secured, can give rise to breaches of privacy," Gartner pointed out.

"This is particularly challenging as the information generated by [the Internet of Things] is a key to bringing better services and the management of such devices."

The warnings over privacy are being explored this week in the latest INQUIRER debate. We'd like to hear your views on whether the Internet of Things will kill off privacy, or whether user data collected by smart devices will be adequately protected. You can vote for or against here. µ


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