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The Internet of Everything Is a Simply Massive Opportunity: $19 Trillion in the Next Decade

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This week I interviewed Padma Warrior, CTO and Chief Strategist of Cisco, to discuss the Internet of Everything (IoE). Padma is a brilliant and visionary person, one of the most important female leaders of this decade. She first got my attention when she quoted a recent Cisco study placing the value of IoE as a $19 trillion opportunity. This blog is about how you can tap into that $19 trillion.

What Is the Internet of Everything (IoE)?

The Internet of Everything describes the networked connections between devices, people, processes and data. By 2020, the IoE has the potential to connect 50 billion people, devices and things.

In the next 10 years, Cisco is projecting IoE will generate $19 trillion of value — $14 trillion from the private sector and $5 trillion from governments and public sectors (initiatives like smart cities and infrastructure).

Imagine a Connected World


Cities of the future will be packed with interconnected devices and sensors.

Let me try to paint an IoE picture for you.

Imagine a world in which everything is connected and packed with sensors. 50+ billion connected devices, loaded with a dozen or more sensors, will create a trillion-sensor ecosystem.

These devices will create what I call a state of perfect knowledge, where we’ll be able to know what we want, where we want, when we want.

Combined with the power of data mining and machine learning, the value that you can create and the capabilities you will have as an individual and as a business will be extraordinary. Here are a few basic examples to get you thinking:

Retail: Beyond knowing what you purchased, stores will monitor your eye gaze, knowing what you glanced at…what you picked up and considered, and put back on the shelf. Dynamic pricing will entice you to pick it up again.

City Traffic: Cars looking for parking cause 40% of traffic in city centers. Parking sensors will tell your car where to find an open spot.

Lighting: Streetlights and house lights will only turn on when you’re nearby.

Vineyards/Farming: Today IoE enables winemakers to monitor the exact condition (temperature, humidity, sun) of every vine and recommend optimal harvest times. IoE can follow details of fermentation and even assure perfect handling through distribution and sale to the consumer at the wine store.

Dynamic pricing: In the future, everything has dynamic pricing where supply and demand drives pricing. Uber already knows when demand is high, or when I’m stuck miles from my house, and can charge more as a result.

Transportation: Self-driving cars and IoE will make ALL traffic a thing of the past.

Healthcare: You will be the CEO of your own health. Wearables will be tracking your vitals constantly, allowing you and others to make better health decisions.

Banking/Insurance: Research shows that if you exercise and eat healthy, you’re more likely to repay your loan. Imagine a variable interest rate (or lower insurance rate) depending on exercise patterns and eating habits?

Forests: With connected sensors placed on trees, you can make urban forests healthier and better able to withstand — and even take advantage of — the effects of climate change.

Office Furniture: Software and sensors embedded in office furniture are being used to improve office productivity, ergonomics and employee health.

Invisibles: Forget wearables, the next big thing is sensor-based technology that you can’t see, whether they are in jewelry, attached to the skin like a bandage, or perhaps even embedded under the skin or inside the body. By 2017, 30% of wearables will be “unobtrusive to the naked eye,” according to market researcher Gartner.

The Biggest Business Opportunities Will Be in Making Systems More Efficient

The Internet of Everything will become the nervous system of the human economy.

Entrepreneurs who capitalize on this will drive massive value and enable better decisions and reduce inefficiencies. If you are an entrepreneur or running a business, you need to do two key things:

Digitize: Determine which of your processes are not yet digitized and find a way to digitize them. Then, collect data and analyze that data. Go from your old-style manual process (or data collection system) to an autonomous digital version.

Skate to the Puck: Have a brainstorm with the smartest members of your team (or find some local Singularity University alumni to join you) and ask yourselves the following questions:

a. What kind of sensors will exist in three years’ time, and what kind of data could we be collecting?

b. In three years, which of our “things” will be connected and joining the Internet of Everything? With the answers to these two basic questions, come up with the business opportunities that will exist in three years… and begin developing the business models, developing the software and planning out your domination.

Image Credit: Michael Coghlan/Flickr; Pedro Szekely/Flickr


7 Responses

  • Matthew


    April 21, 2015 on 8:53 am

    sounds good! maybe with all this new wealth and opportunity we can fix our actual deficits and debt–education, human rights, and ecological sustainability.

    • Matthew



      April 21, 2015 on 9:03 am

      you know… like before shops track our eyeballs, robots tell us our exercise payment plan, we retro engineer trees, and our gadgets go invisible, or whatever. 52% of wildlife destroyed in the past 40 years is a big deal and threatens to dismantle all of this “progress” … this technology fails to impress me when we still have such severe problems. and I love how these plans factor in capitalism as if that will still be a thing. how long in the exponential growth of this capitalistic explosion ad infinitum will we continue to enslave each other? and think it’s ethical for people who “aren’t trying hard enough” to starve to death or not get their healthcare? cuz their excersize payment plan isn’t working out. there are enough recourses to go around now and the longer education, healthcare, livable wages are pay to play as capital rises ad infinitum, the more it looks like genocide on the lower and middle class. let’s destroy these golden shackles and just learn to get along. it’s an international security imperative. people should not have to pay debts to fucking eat. and as long as we’re ignoring our sustainability issues, we risk losing all the progress we have in fact already made (I concede, life–for humans–is better than ever. as important as economic disparity is, human rights is not the issue of our time. we will not be defined by racism, or ISIS, or genocide on the poor or anything humanitarian. it’s our sustainability that should worry us).

  • Maddy Butcher


    April 21, 2015 on 6:11 pm

    Sounds good, but does anybody think we might be getting too smart for our own good?

    • Matthew

      Maddy Butcher


      April 22, 2015 on 2:03 pm

      while I understand the sentiment, I think it would be more accurate to say too rich for our own good, or too ignorant for how rich we are. the implications of our ecological impacts are already pretty dire. our ability to alter the material world while not making sense of it or ensuring that it’s sustainable is a huge problem. but, since it’s now becoming clear that this is a paramount economic issue (as everything comes form the earth), things are starting to change. because the world revolves around money. at least that’s how it seems. in reality, the world revolves around intelligence, and that (and it’s emotional analogue, love) is the only thing holding us together.

  • tomyoungjr


    April 22, 2015 on 3:28 am

    The $19T presupposes many things. The one thing that I wonder about is the nature of the economy as digital technologies progress.

    As technology replaces humans labor in the services supply chain, what will be the source of income for “the masses”? The arguments that “the masses” will move into more value based or conceptual jobs is not informed by math or the reality that “the masses” lack the skills, education, and IQ to do so.

    So if 2/3rds or 3/4 of the economy is consumer driven, who will consume and how will they pay?

  • tonycee


    April 22, 2015 on 8:41 am

    Sounds great … I always wanted to be part of the BORG …

  • georgeharter918


    April 22, 2015 on 8:59 pm

    Speaking of BORG-Do we want nuclear weaponized missile control on the Net? To my mind the IoE=The Hacker’s Paradise!!!

    Anything and everything will be vulnerable to a very NON-SOCIALIZED group of brainiac misfits. STUX-NET anyone? STUX-NET everywhere, everyday anyone??? Get real. Bring back Stanford Ovshinsky and Ovonics, Cold Fusion, and now IoE. OMG, grow up.


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