When talking about the Internet of Things (IoT), there’s a year that’s continually thrown around: 2020.

By that time there’s estimated to be around 50 billion devices connected to the internet.

As the internet became more readily available across the world around 2008, the number of connected devices rose. According to Cisco South Africa’s chief technology officer Vernon Thaver, things are only heating up.

“The Internet of Things is our time to shine, as it is the fabric of the digital economy,” he said during Telkom’s annual SATNAC conference.

He adds that although there has been some steady progress towards connecting devices and sensors, there will be an exponential growth in all sectors in the coming years.

This growth, Thaver says, will spark a massive drive in the sales of sensors for wearables and electronics, unicorn startups will become more prominent and venture capital investment will be at an all-time high..

Thaver is convinced that this digital transformation will affect every city and every government, creating new markets that we haven’t heard of yet – and possibly obliterate some of the existing ones.

To further drive the home  point of just how big IoT will be in the future, he speculates that mobile traffic will exceed wired traffic by 2017, and that 80% of organisations will primarily use software as a service (SaaS) in two years.

If you need any proof that things are rapidly moving towards a digital future, Thaver says that around $900 000 worth of apps are loaded on smartphones today. Sure you’ll have to take each app at the price of what a physical device would cost (like a digital camera, a GPS or a video recorder), but it all adds up.

Since Africa already has one billion mobile phones, so the power of IoT on home soil can have a massive impact on everyone who is on board. Digitising certain industries has also reduced the cost of startups; initial starting costs were tallied at around $2 million 15 years ago, versus just $5 000 today.

“Think about the number of startups that can be created if things become cheaper because of technology and IoT. In Africa, innovation can happen from anything and it can happen anywhere. On this continent we have the ability for some to have access to a fibre connection just 16km away,” Thaver said.

That might sound awfully far for a fibre connections, but it has to be taken into context that the world average distance to a fibre connection is over 100km.

“This is our time, and the internet is at our feet to make changes. Digital is changing everything, and with analytics it is opening up so much more, coupled with the benefits of software,” Thaver said.

The overall theme from SATNAC this year is that digital is on a stampede through technology, and with digital elements predicted to generate $19 trillion in revenue in the next ten years, can you really afford to be left out in the dark?

[Image – CC by 2.0]

 

Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.