Published in El Mundo Newspaper on February 12, 2014
Recently in Silicon Valley the Internet of Things has become trendy. The term the Internet of Thing (IoT) has its roots in the famous Auto-ID Center at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and refers to the Internet connection of sensors, vehicles, machines , and all kinds of objects. These connections allow maintenance and improve safety in cities, houses, shops, factories, utilities and transportation infrastructures saving time, money and even lives. Imagine a system that adjust timing traffic lights depending on who is crossing the street, a house that learn the habits of its inhabitants and optimizes temperature. The power grid will notify you when is cheaper to turn on washing machine or the insurance company will offer a discount for driving responsibly and activate frequently your home alarm system.
Big companies based in Silicon Valley already offer products for the Internet of Things such as Cisco Systems, Intel , Oracle and more recently Google after Nest acquisition. For the part of the Internet of Things that deals with smart cities, Spain has achieved international recognition through innovative projects such as Santander, Barcelona and Malaga. While large companies such as Endesa and Telefonica and global leading IoT projects or Machine -to -Machine (M2M ) and other small are becoming known as Libelium , Carriots or Urban-M, an startup incubated in Malaga Bolt accelerator that is about to launch a smart bike with more than 50 sensors that interact with the city.
According to Gartner, in 2020 the number of objects connected to the Internet will be 26 billion. This represents 30 times the 900 million objects connected in 2009 (this number doesn’t include 7,000 million smartphones, tablets and laptops that is estimated for 2020). The Internet of Things will have an extraordinary impact on our lives and economies. 2020 is expected to furnish itself a value of $2.6 trillion to the global economy.
To understand these data and what is coming suffice to stop and observe what has brought into our lives the Internet we know today : in 2009 a global Internet economy generated $2.2 trillion, 2.9% of GDP according to a study from McKinsey . The report noted that if Internet consume and spending were a sector of the economy it would be greater than agriculture or energy. According to eMarketer, in 2012 30% of the Spanish population spent an average of $1300 per person shopping in Internet, which mean 2% of total purchases. Although Spain is the European country with the highest growth in online shopping, it is still far from the 13% in the UK according to Forrester. Moreover social networks have transformed the way we communicate and socialize at a speed and scale never seen before.
Undoubtedly Internet is a technological revolution that contributes to economic growth, productivity and employment. As in 1990 still was not clear how the Internet would affect us, now in 2014 the same process is happening for the Internet of Things. In Silicon Valley thousands of entrepreneurs have already begun to shape the new economy based on the interconnection of objects and analysis of data generate to improve decision making.