When a friend recently asked for my perspective on the Internet of Things in the enterprise, I started to drone on with my usual answer about M2M, the Industrial Internet and the smart grid… but that’s when I realized some fresh thinking was needed. How does the new crop of consumer-oriented connected devices such as connected cars, smart watches, heads-up displays and fitness bands intersect with corporate information strategy? How can organizations use these new tools to improve customer service and employee productivity?
CTIA Wireless 2011 in Orlando was a hotbed of speculation about how the at&t – T-Mobile merger will affect the U.S. mobile industry. While the ripples will be felt to every corner of the value chain, there was a lot more to talk about at the show. It was fun to watch the “4G” competitors duke it out, and measure China’s growing presence in the U.S. with a Day 2 Keynote by China Telecom and significant Chinese presence on the show floor. The “Internet of Things” became more real as Ericsson’a CEO Hans Vestberg foretold 50 billion connected devices in 2020, and solutions for connected health, proximity marketing, automotive and greentech captured attendee imaginations.
If you want a quick intro or refresher on what the Smart Grid is, listen to NOVA | PBS’s February 23 podcast “Toward a Smart Electric Grid.” This five-minute video explains in plain language how a grid that can monitor and manage itself in real time will save energy, ensure a reliable electric supply, and integrate alternative energy sources including electric cars and home solar arrays.
With $67.3 billion available for M2M projects, the United States “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” (ARRA) could be a huge boon for companies in the Machine-to-Machine (M2M) sector. Laurie Lamberth’s July, 2009 article “U.S. Stimulus: Show Me the Money” details funding opportunities for M2M across a wide set of vertical markets, including smart grid, energy efficient buildings, transportation, homeland security and greentech.