The Internet of Things is Dead, Long Live the Internet of Things. Who’s Right?

Disclaimer: I don’t like naysayers very much. Or skeptics, for that matter. I understand and acknowledge their value, of course, in terms of ‘keeping us honest’ and ensuring we don’t ‘get ahead of ourselves’ with exuberance, excitement, enthusiasm and all that other stuff that makes life worth living. But I don’t like them, in truth, and I probably never will.

That’s why when I see articles calling  the Internet of Things (IoT) a “dead end” (Barron’s), or asking if the Internet of Things is “Just a Hype,” (Huffington Post), I do a double-take. Are the naysayers right? Is this “3rd wave of the Internet” (Goldman Sachs), touted as so revolutionary by so many (including me), really just another passing trend?

CRN article
“Intel has been hitting the Internet of Things fast and hard.”

Since this is truly one of those things in which ‘only time will tell,’ (sorry, no definitive answers here), we’re compelled to look for guidance in the marketplace, which often provides good (albeit admittedly not fool-proof) evidence of what is our best guess going forward on IoT.

And in the marketplace there is plenty to suggest that the IoT is in fact not dead, not a ‘dead end’ and, more likely than not, not ‘just hype’ (although uber-hyped might be right, at the moment). Consider the following recent headlines about corporate moves pertaining to IoT:

WSJ IoT HP article
“Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. is joining a crowded race to help companies get a leg up on one of tech’s hottest trends, the Internet of Things.”

According to these recent stories, Intel, Amazon, HP, Vodacom, Microsoft and Nokia (estimated aggregate total market capitalization of just short of 3/4 of a trillion dollars) are all positioning themselves to win in the Internet of Things. They are buying other companies, investing in technologies, setting long term corporate strategies, all with the goal of succeeding in the age of the IoT.

It’s possible these corporate giants (and others) are wrong. That IoT doesn’t have sustaining value. That it won’t change our lives as we know it. But that’s not what the market is telling us, is it?

All of this IoT-inspired corporate activity sends me toward a different conclusion, one which reminds me of a movie quote from the 1997 sci-fi flick Contact, in which billionaire investor H.R. Hadden tells Dr. Arroway, “The powers that be have been very busy lately, falling over each other to position themselves for the game of the millennium.”

I don’t know for sure that the Internet of Things is the game of the millenium, but it sure looks a lot more like that than hype to me. Smart companies, organizations with a desire to be successful and relevant in the years to come, all will want to position themselves and their business with an eye towards IoT, at least based on what we’re seeing right now. Develop an IoT strategy, view your products and services through the lens of IoT, all as a contextual environment for the future.

Perhaps H.R. Hadden posed the question best when he asked, “Wanna take a ride?” So, do you?

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