In 2003, the world contained just over 500 million Internet-connected devices. This represented a mere 0.08 devices per person, or just 0.02 devices for every individual with access to the Internet.
By 2010, this figure had risen to 12.5 billion connected objects, almost six devices per individual with access to the Internet. Now, as we move into 2015, the number of connected 'things' is expected to reach 25 billion, ultimately edging towards 50 billion by the end of the decade.
This trend isn't expected to stop there. Through the development of new connected nanotechnology, or so-called "smartdust", this number could increase by hundreds of billions over night.
As the number of these connected objects increases, the intelligence of communication between each device is also expected to grow. As an example, a smart fire safety system is rendered more useful if it can connect with a smart thermostat. Furthermore, if this thermostat can then be connected to a user's smart phone, an entirely new layer of intelligence is added to the system. As a result, the more objects that are added to the network, the easier it is for those objects to convert vast quantities of meaningless 'data' into genuinely functional information.
This is the fundamental goal of the Internet of Things (IoT): to develop a self-sustaining network of everyday objects that provides a higher collective value than the individual objects ever could on their own.
It is this idea that is currently being implemented by governments, corporate organisations, academic groups and hobbyists alike. From international IoT standards through to bespoke smart-sensor developments, the Internet of Things is expanding across all levels of the electronics community.
But despite this widespread commitment to IoT, there remain a number of complex challenges that the industry must overcome before universal adoption can be achieved. These challenges include everything from technical considerations such as universal protocols and standards, through to less tangible concepts such as the impact on personal privacy and security.
Until the industry addresses these challenges, adoption of IoT will remain forever on the horizon. Click on the image below to see a slideshow of the top barriers to entry for IoT:
5 Barriers to Creating a Connected World
This list represents just a few of the on-going issues that will need to be overcome if IoT is to be truly adopted within 2015. While some of these obstacles fall to governments and industry bodies to address, many of them are already being faced head-on by designers and hobbyists from all around the world. This is what makes the Internet of Things such an exciting topic for those within the design community – not only anticipating the benefits, but overcoming the obstacles.
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