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What Are the Key Drivers of the Internet of Things?
Will there be an explosion of IoT applications over the next decade?
I think it depends upon whether you are talking about technology drivers (the technologies used to connect things to the Internet) or business drivers. I think the vast majority of low-value items will be connected by passive RFID. Some larger, higher-value items will be connected by active RFID systems, and then, as you move up in value, companies will use ZigBee, Bluetooth and other radio technologies to connect objects to the Internet.
For business drivers, I think the biggest will be in adding value to your products. Look at cell phones. These were becoming low-cost commodities until Apple showed that you could connect them to the Internet, add apps and sell them for hundreds of dollars. Companies can add value to products by enabling them to report on their condition so preventive maintenance can be performed. They can offer service contracts based on their ability to respond to data from their products.
Another big driver is optimization and automation of processes based on IoT data. Companies can use sensors to monitor environmental conditions, and have this reported remotely over the Internet and respond accordingly. For example, we have written about companies using active RFID sensors in data centers to adjust the temperature in various areas in order to save air-conditioning costs (see Microsoft Uses Wireless Sensors to Track Data Center Temperatures, RFID Energy-Management Systems for Data Centers and Digital Fortress Keeps Cool With RFID).
I think we will see an explosion of IoT applications over the next decade, which is why we launched Internet of Things Journal.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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