Markets: Smart Systems Innovation Accelerators

As Moore’s law takes over and the price of embedding intelligence and connectivity into devices continues to fall, networked devices will push further and further into the mainstream.   This process is somewhat self-reinforcing as low prices are driven by high quantities, and vice versa, making these devices increasingly prevalent in our lives and businesses.  Applications will spread through all areas of our lives.  As technology, business and supplier solution challenges are met, immense growth will begin to really accelerate.

Some important forces evident in the marketplace include:

Collaboration and Crowdsourcing Are Real:  It is becoming increasingly clear that “crowdsourcing,” meaning that a large group of people can create a collective work whose value far exceeds that provided by any of the individual participants, including building applications that literally get better the more people use them; and, designing participatory systems that harness network effects not only to acquire users, but also to learn from them and build on their contributions.

Smartphones Are Driving Innovations In User Experience and Sensory Systems: Many people fail to understand the significant sensor innovations that are being designed into smartphones. Today’s smartphones contain microphones, cameras, motion sensors, proximity sensors, and location sensors. New internet-connected GPS applications also have built-in feedback loops, reporting your speed and using it to estimate arrival time in real time. Sensors are dramatically improving the user experience.

Analytics Drive New Values:  Data analysis, visualization, and other techniques for seeing patterns in data are going to be an increasingly valuable.  Sensors and monitoring programs are not acting alone, but in concert with their human partners and an increasing number of machine learning algorithms.

We believe there are that this era of computing and networks is fostering new types of innovation. There are several phenomenon that can potentially drive significant new modes of innovation that will positively impact adoption and growth. To understand the future of networked information, it helps to remember that the Internet of Things will largely be driven by collaboration and collective intelligence.

The Internet Is Becoming A Real-Time Medium:  Applications driven by machines and sensors demand that data is collected, presented, and acted upon in real time. The Web is no longer a collection of static pages of HTML that describe something in the world — it is becoming a real-time communication and information forum for interactions. The Internet is getting faster than you might think and real time is not limited to social media or mobile. Much as Google has realized that a link is a vote, retailers like WalMart realized that a customer purchasing an item is a vote and the cash register is a sensor counting that vote.   Real-time feedback loops drive inventory and availability. Sensor-driven purchasing and real-time analytics is having a huge impact on the business world and customer responsiveness.

B2C Drives B2B and Visa Versa:   The Smart Systems phenomenon is not limited to consumers with smartphones. Cisco’s Connected Communities initiative and its “planetary skin” project with NASA as well as IBM’s Smarter Planet program demonstrate how the B2B world is being transformed by the sensors on the Internet.  Factories, refineries, steel mills, and supply chains are being instrumented with sensors and machine analytics that we see in mobile consumer applications.

The Internet of Things and People will depend on managing, understanding, and responding to massive amounts of user and machine-generated data in real time. With more users and sensors feeding more applications and platforms, innovators and developers are able to tackle serious real-world problems. As a result, the Smart Systems opportunity is no longer growing arithmetically; it’s growing exponentially.


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