Machines are taking over. OK, not like they did in "The Matrix," but machine-to-machine (M2M) technology, aka Internet of Things, is making serious inroads. In sectors like healthcare; security; automotive and transport; and financial services, the ability of machines to communicate internally and with the outside world is changing the business landscape. The numbers vary depending on who you ask, but predictions about the general direction of the IoT market does not—the arrow is pointing up. According to research firm Analysis Mason, IoT will produce $88 billion in revenue by 2023, up from $10 billion in 2013.
Some of the world's biggest and most successful corporations—like GE and Ford—continue to push for newer and more effective IoT technologies. The logical question is, if some of the world's top corporations are making IoT a pillar of their strategy moving forward, how can small businesses afford not to do the same? The answer is that they probably can't.
Most of the predictions for IoT growth over the next decade center on huge increases among SMBs. Not counting the utilities sector—dominated by large enterprises--IoT connections will increase from 14.6 percent of all connections in 2013 to 24.6 percent in 2023. Traditionally, IoT solutions have been cost-prohibitive for SMBs, but as with any technology, as it gets easier to implement and faster to manufacture, it also gets cheaper. That is what is happening right now.
SMBs are already adopting IoT technology and will continue to do so over the next decade to more efficiently operate and maintain various kinds of equipment, enhance security and surveillance capability, save on energy costs and much more. Understanding IoT's emergence doesn't mean SMBs must go out and immediately obtain every new technology that hits the market. It would be wise, however, for decision-makers to stay abreast of what is available, so that when the time comes, they can select what will work best for their particular company.