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Cisco values internet of things at $14.4 trillion

Could boost corporate profits by 21% in a decade, as business functions, not IT, drive the change


Published: 14 March, 2013

READ MORE: Cisco Systems | M2M

Cisco has put a value on the 'internet of everything' - a massive $14.4 trillion that it calculates businesses can generate over the next decade, or in other words, a 21% rise in global corporate profits by 2022.

"The opportunity here - and the challenge - is the next level of scale," said Rob Lloyd, president of sales and development at Cisco, speaking at the firm's annual editors' conference at its headquarters.

The first step towards this explosion has been the shift of applications and data from servers to mobile devices and video, but Lloyd pointed out that 99% of electronics in the world today are still not connected to the internet. When this massive base is brought online, the internet of things will result, involving all kinds of consumer devices and appliances, plus industrial equipment, cars, sensors, RFID tags and even humans with embedded wireless.

Cisco's internal research suggests that the first vertical markets to drive this growth - and start to reap the profits - will be manufacturing, followed by public sector, energy, healthcare, financial services, transport and wholesale/distribution.

"If you look at those business imperatives and think of them in the context of those major technology trends, there is an entirely new role of IT coming out," Lloyd said. "The role of the network is critical to unlock these major market trends." He believes a major difference from the computer age will be that the internet of things will be funded by business units, not by IT budgets, as all commercial functions become reliant on analytics, mobile devices and the cloud, and no longer regard these as a separate 'technology' unit.

But there will be implications for the IT function of course, notably its convergence with networking activities. Cisco's chief strategy and technical officer, Padmasree Warrior, said networks would have to become more programmable, automated, dynamic, agile, and secure to cope with billions of devices and an app-based economy - to be "orchestrated rather than just being configurable".

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