Cisco's CEO John Chambers is betting big that the ‘Internet of Everything' is not only going to be the next big thing, but a thing that within a decade will be 10 times bigger than the Internet in terms of impact.
The connected home, connected car and connected city are all coming and when they arrive, they're going to revolutionise the way we live — that was the message from Chambers when he took to the stage at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
To highlight how fast the world is already moving towards internet interconnections, he said: "When I came to Cisco there were about a thousand things connected to the Internet, now there are 10 billion; by the end of the decade there will be 500 billion."
Figures published by the GSMA earlier this week show that from cars to smart meters and smart cities, are already 195 million objects other than phones accessing the Internet via SIM cards and the figure is growing rapidly.
Meanwhile, the latest Strategy Analytics data, published Thursday, shows that in 2013 alone, 1.9 billion WiFi-enabled consumer electronics devices — so everything from music streaming systems to TVs — were shipped and that current estimates place the number of WiFi-enabled devices (other than computers) in the average home at seven.
A recent WiFi Alliance study, published in January, shows that WiFi connectivity has already become a purchasing criterion for 77% of consumers when choosing new products, or replacing existing devices, for use around the home.
In his talk, Chambers also noted that attitudes towards the concept of having everything from crossing junctions to thermostats online have markedly changed over recent years.
Before, he would have to force customers into listening to him when he wanted to sell the concept of the Internet of things, but now clients are offering to take him out to dinner in order to discuss the same subject.
The WiFi Alliance's study also reflects this sea change — three quarters of the 1,000 US consumers questioned believe that all homes will soon be equipped with smart technology, and 93% believe that having full remote control of the appliances and systems in their homes will have a positive impact on their daily lives.
As Mardien Drew, head of the digital incubation team at Kantar, the research and insights company, says on how the subject has been promoted and showcased at this year's Mobile World Congress: "It feels like we're just experiencing the logical next step.
"For example, three years ago we had the connected house; two years ago we had the connected street and this year, the connected city. None of it is particularly new to MWC, but the 'hype-cycle' is slow and it takes a long time for these things to come to market." — ©AFP/Relaxnews 2014