What is this "next big thing" I reference in the title? Before I reveal just what "it" is... try this on for size:
Peter Middleton, research director at Gartner: "The growth in will far exceed that of other connected devices. By 2020, the number of smartphones tablets and PCs in use will reach about 7.3 billion units. In contrast, will have expanded at a much faster rate, resulting in a population of about 26 billion units at that time."
I am no math genius by any means, but last time I checked 26 is a higher number than 7.3. I gave away a clue as to what "it" is in the above quote from Peter Middleton with the use of the phrase "connected devices." In 2010, McKinsey & Company wrote that it "has great promise, yet business, policy, and technical challenges must be tackled before these systems are widely embraced."
What Is It?
As usual "it" goes by an acronym as we all know everything in marketing has to have some sort of acronym, right? Well this one is IoT.
Know what it stands for? If you don't know don't worry, you're not alone. According to a study conducted by Edelman Berland for GE nearly half of business executives worldwide had never heard of "it," either.
What "it" is the Internet of Things. And in very laymen's terms, it means in the very near future many devices, regular household devices, etc., will be connected to the internet.
Another way of saying it is this...
"The Internet Of Things will make many of the familiar devices and objects in our lives - from door locks to toll booths to refrigerators - suddenly Internet-connected, smartphone-accessible, and responsive." - Business Insider
Get the picture now? See the incredible opportunity all businesses and brands will have? But just look at the staggering percentages in the chart to the right corresponding to those who checked the box "never heard of it." That is truly frightening boys and girls.
To no one's surprise, at least not mine, IT and high tech folks were the ones who responded they had not only heard of it, but they are also planning for its arrival. However, there are still nearly 1/3 of these folks who claim they never of Iot, either. Incredible.
Not Just Retail
This past April I wrote a post for Forbes This Could Be The Biggest Thing In Retail And It's Not Mobile. In that piece I obviously touched on one sector/industry: retail. But clearly IoT will impact any industry that makes its bones using the internet in any way, shape or form. Be it B2C or B2B or whatever, if your business currently does business via the internet, this affects you.
And you better be ready.