What Nest Just Did for the Internet of Things
If you are like me, you might be wondering how large the “Internet of Things” could become, and whether it will get the press, hype and activity that “Big Data” has received. Well, Google answered that question yesterday when they bought Nest for $3.2 billion.
Several industry analysts and participants, including Cisco, BRI, Bosch, Gartner and IDC are all predicting several trillion dollar markets in goods and services, as well as billions of devices connected to the internet by 2020 that sense or interact with the external environment and change the way businesses and consumers interact with the physical world. On one end of the spectrum, there is belief that the billions of devices connected to the internet will fundamentally change the way business is conducted and could usher in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, according to Bosch. On the other end of the spectrum there are connectivity issues with sensors and the networks, standards in the process of being developed, and the potential for an Internet of islands, with no significant scalability, or consumer apps that verge on being outright annoying – like smart refrigerators, or a Bluetooth brush (not kidding).
Our interest in this area stems from our involvement with several sensor and instrumentation companies: Sensitech developed a temperature and humidity sensor and backbone network that monitored pharmaceutical products worldwide for cold-chain logistics; and Harvard Bioscience and Nova Analytics designed and sold instrumentation and sensors worldwide for life science research and water monitoring, respectively. The number of instruments that have connectivity and an internet presence has grown in these companies is enormous. For Sensitech, that has grown to 100 percent (directly and indirectly) over the last five years, and we believe there could be a fundamental shift in sensor and instrumentation that could drive a number of disruptive trends.
Nest’s high-profile success will certainly accelerate the trend.