Startups are Leading the Way in IoT…Is That a Good Thing?

According to the world’s leading information technology research and advisory firm Gartner, Inc., in just two short years 50 percent of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions offered to enterprise and the consuming public will originate in startups that are less than three years old. This means that “makers” (folks like inventors, tinkerers and entrepreneurs) as well as “startups” (fledgling businesses that are often technology-focused and have the potential for high growth) will be driving and shaping the IoT landscape in the coming years, not the large-scale dominant players we tend to think about (Cisco, GE, Google) with emerging market trends.

“Conventional wisdom is that the growth of the Internet of Things is driven by large enterprises. As is always the case, there is an element of truth in conventional wisdom and major consumer goods companies, utilities, manufacturers and other large enterprises are, indeed, developing IoT product offerings,” said Pete Basiliere, research vice president at Gartner. “However Gartner’s Maverick research finds that it is the makers and the startups who are the ones shaping the IoT. Individuals and small companies that span the globe are developing IoT solutions to real-world, often niche problems. They are taking advantage of low-cost electronics, traditional manufacturing and 3D printing tools, and open- and closed-source hardware and software to create IoT devices that improve processes and lives.”

It’s exciting to think about the innovation and creativity happening in these small companies and the IoT solutions they will generate in medicine, smart city management, manufacturing and other fields. However, since many small and emerging companies often lack the critical resources to fully secure their services or products, and since 8 of out 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months (Forbes, Sept. 2013, from Bloomberg), it is somewhat concerning, as well. For IoT to ultimately be the success so many want it to be, and for IoT solutions to positively impact people’s lives, trust in providers will be key. If IoT providers don’t stay around for long and/or they don’t protect consumers and keep their private data secure, confidence in IoT will erode before the many exciting innovations even have a chance to come to market, fulfilling the promise of the technology.

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