Welcome to the Jetsons, Elroy! Depending upon which source you believe, the growth of connected devices we have seen thus far with the Internet of Things is nothing compared to what the future holds. Some estimates say that in just five years the amount of connected devices will double from 25 billion today to 50 billion by 2020. Think about that for a second. We live in a day and age when millions, billions and trillions are tossed around haphazardly. We are talking about another 25 billion wireless devices communicating with us. All in, that number looks like this: 50,000,000,000 – in five years! That’s fantastic news for manufacturers!
Have you ever stopped to see how connected the world around us really is? Do you remember the last time you sat at an airport gate waiting for your plane to board? Have you noticed how prolific smart phones are? From eight-year-old kids to 80-year-old grandmas, nearly everyone at the gate is connected. What in the world are they doing? Some will check email, Facebook or Twitter, some will text, and the real tech-savvy will communicate with things.
Some of these things are controlling the temperature in their house (Nest) or activating their house alarms, lowering the blinds, unlocking a door, turning off the coffee pot or turning on their robot vacuum - all from gate B17 on their connected mobile device. Do you remember 20 years ago when you could retrieve the messages off of your answering machine remotely? That was so cool! Who has an answering machine anymore? Exactly!
So what? Up until the last few years, the growth of the Internet was great for software or digital companies and a few select hardware verticals. Now that the infrastructure of the Internet is so robust, the things part of the equation is experiencing exponential growth. That means more and more pieces of hardware are needed. We are NOT just talking about phones, either!
You are a manufacturer – again, so what? We are in an age when you can communicate WITH your car, TV, house, stove, refrigeration, washer and dryer. So what’s next? If you attend any startup event in your area, you will be amazed by what is coming! This is hardware, people – this is what OEM and global contract manufacturers live for – a renaissance of more stuff and less virtual optimization. Manufacturers need hardware. And the good news from where I am sitting is that it is coming in a huge wave and coming quickly!